Sec. Medialdea asks Filipinos to be vigilant as PH faces new war
PILAR, Bataan (Philippines News Agency) — Paying tribute to the sacrifices of World War II veterans, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Monday asked Filipinos to be vigilant as the country is confronting the new war and enemies.
Medialdea said the country faces new enemies in the form of poverty, corruption, terrorism, illegal drugs, criminality and threats to environment after “one of the worst chapters in history” that is the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942.
He was guest of honor and speaker during the 76th Commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mt. Samat Shrine here.
The Executive Secretary took the place of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is now in China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia.
Medialdea recalled the Battle of Marawi where 165 soldiers and police died to free the city last year from the invasion of Islamic State-inspired attacks.
“Another threats that we should diligently guard against and not allow to prosper are acts against our sovereignty and democratic process by foreign bodies,” he said.
These enemies, he said, are moving into the fabric of society that remember the sacrifice of 76,000 soldiers who endured the Bataan Death March, comprising about 66,000 Filipinos and 10,000 Americans.
“It is constant vigilance, courage and by saving our nation from these forces so that we can continue to enjoy the liberty that our forbearers fought for,” Medialdea said.
The Executive Secretary also assured veterans and their families that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte would provide better health benefits and improve the management of pension accounts of over 44,000 military and war veterans, of which over 6,000 aging citizens fought in WWII.
From 2017 until March this year, more than 6,000 veterans and their dependents benefited in medical services through 270 accredited hospitals, he said.
In the same period, PHP50.7 billion worth of educational assistance was allocated for the Iskolar ng mga Bayani program, which produces 450 college graduates annually, he added.
Medialdea also highlighted Philippine relations with WWII ally United States (US) and erstwhile aggressor Japan.
“To this day, America has remained our strong military and economically. The Japanese against whom our soldiers defended Bataan for many years now remains as one of our biggest regional allies, a major trading partner, and the largest provider of official development assistance that aids in our fight against poverty and our quest for economic progress,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda and US Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Michael Klecheski both acknowledged the gallantry of war heroes during the Japanese invasion in 1941 to 1945, and cited stronger relations with the Philippines.
Haneda expressed condolence and deep sense of remorse to all those who suffered. It was his first visit to the hallowed ground of Mt. Samat.
Meanwhile, Medialdea also led in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Mt. Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone that would develop infrastructure in the national shrine, including cable cars, underground museum and a center for World War II studies. (PNA)