United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. and Mayor Mauricio Domogan led the 67th anniversary of the end of the World War II in the Asia Pacific with the mayor saying Sept. 3 be declared as national Victory Day.
Thomas hailed the US and Filipino veterans who fought side by side against the Japanese forces. He said he is always reminded of the heroics of the veterans because his father is also a veteran of the Korean War.
The ceremony was highlighted with a moment of silence after the wreath-laying at the Veterans Park along Harrison Road.
Domogan said Congress and the Senate should put their acts together in supporting the revived House bill declaring Sept. 3 as a national Victory Day in the country.
He said the second World War in the Philippines began in Baguio when Japanese planes dropped their bombs at Camp John Hay on Dec. 8, 1941, a day after the bombing of the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
The mayor said the war in the Asia Pacific also ended in Baguio with the formal surrender of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, commander of the Japanese Imperial Forces, also at Camp John Hay, on Sept. 3, 1945.
“Sept. 3 should be declared as a national Victory Day. It is ironic, however, that we observe our defeats like the Fall of Bataan and the Death March but Sept. 3 is not a holiday to celebrate our victory,” the mayor said.
Before the signing of the formal surrender, Yamashita, also known as the “Tiger of Malaya” was captured by American and Filipino soldiers in Kiangan, Ifugao, and was brought to this city.
Rep. Bernardo Vergara has refiled the House bill, which seeks to officially declare Sept. 3 as a special commemorative holiday to be called the National Victory and Liberation Day in the country.
“It is often said that, in many cases, Filipinos celebrate their defeat – fall of Bataan, fall of Manila, death of Rizal, to cite a few – and not their “victory days.” Sept. 3 is a victory day and much more, a liberation day,” Vergara said in the bill.