SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday called on Filipinos to honor the valor of war heroes and veterans through their own efforts to improve quality of life for all Filipinos.
On April 9, 1942, more than 78,000 Filipino and American troops surrendered to the Japanese invaders and were forced to march from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, with almost 10, 000 Filipino soldiers perishing in the process.
“Filipinos never failed to respond to the call of duty when their country needed them. And this is a time when the country needs all its citizens, not to fight in trenches, but to make the Philippines better for Filipinos”, said Pimentel.
The Senate President said, “It’s time to aim our sights higher. We are no longer locked in a struggle for survival, but a struggle for better lives.”
In 1961, the Philippine Congress passed the Republic Act No. 3022, proclaiming April 9, the date of the surrender of Filipino-American forces in Bataan, as Bataan Day and a holiday.
In 1987, the holiday was renamed Araw ng Kagitingan.
Pimentel declared that the threat faced before of foreign invasion has transformed into threats against the empowerment of Filipinos posed by unequal development of regions, the rising gap between the rich and the poor, and widespread corruption.
Pimentel said, “We must continue to be valiant in defending our country from all forms of threats; not just from foreign invasions, but also from threats found within our own nation.”