The “Capas National Shrine” was built by the Philippine government in honor of all the Filipino and American soldiers who endured the Bataan Death March. After their surrender in Bataan, the Filipino and American prisoners-of-war (POWs) were forced to march by the Japanese Imperial Army, with intent to kill, weaken, and demoralize them.
From Mariveles and Bagac in Bataan, some 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American POWs walked to San Fernando Train Station in Pampanga, where they were cramped into boxcars and transported to Capas Train Station in Tarlac. From there, they walked to Camp O’Donnell, which was turned into a Concentration Camp and the final stop of the brutal march by the Imperial Japanese Army. The site where the Filipino POWs were held is now the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac.
By virtue of Proclamation No. 842, then President Corazon Aquino proclaimed Camp O-Donnell as the Capas National Shrine on 07 December 1991.The shrine covers 54 hectares of parkland, 35 hectares of which are planted with 31,000 tress to symbolize the 25,000 Filipinos and 6,000 Americans who died in the concentration camp.
“This memorial is dedicated to the brave men and women who defied the might of the invaders at Bataan, Corregidor and other pats of the Philippines during World War II. Thousands died in battle, during the Death March, and while in captivity. Thousands more endured inhumane conditions at the prison camp in Capas, Tarlac. They suffered in the night so that their countrymen would wake to the dawn of freedom.”
For further information about the shrine, please contact:
Engr. Darwin M. Campo
Shrine Curator II
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
Veterans Memorial and Historical Division
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City
911-4296 / www.pvao.gov. ph