The Philippine Expeditionary Force in Korea (PEFTOK) Veterans Association, Inc. (PVAI) together with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) spearheaded the 20th Filipino-Korean Veterans Memorial Day and 45th PVAI Anniversary with the theme, “Peace We Seek for a Strong Republic”, held on 09 September 2019 at the Korean War Memorial Pylon, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City.
The Philippines was the first Asian country that sent 7,420 combat troops when the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950. After the Korean war, PEFTOK suffered a total of 112 casualties, over 300 wounded and 16 missing-in-action.
The Korean War Veterans of the Philippines Memorial Day is celebrated to recognize the sacrifice the Korean War veterans have made for the cause of freedom and democracy during the Korean War. It was instituted in the year 2000 by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
PVAI President and Korean War veteran Maj. Maximo P. Young, in his message, urged the youth, “Let us learn the lesson of history, the lessons of the Korean war and its aftermath. It is only through taking the path of loving peace and sacrificing for it that freedom, prosperity and stronger society follows.”
During the event, Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man led the distribution of scholarship awards from the Korean government to the dependents of the veterans. “It’s a very small token of our appreciation for the sacrifice, devotion, dedication and the wonderful job of the Korean War veterans in Korean War,” said Ambassador Han.
Brigadier General Manuel Gonzales AFP (Ret), a son of a Korean War veteran, served as the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the commemoration. BGen. Gonzales emphasized, “Perseverance, dedication, pride, courage and the forging allegiances have proven time and time again that considerable progress can be made towards the achievement of freedom and democracy, and thereby changing the world for better.”
As part of the celebration, a Wreath-laying Ceremony graced by PVAO Administrator, Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina AFP (Ret), Korean Marine Corps Veterans Association in the Philippines President Mr. Lee, Dong Woo, National Unification Advisory Committee Chairman Mr. Kim, Young Ki, United Korean Community Association President Mr. Byun, Jae Heung was also held.
The celebration was attended by living veterans and their descendants, students, members and staff of the Korean Embassy. To culminate the event, all of the attendees made a flower offering to the departed veterans at the Memorial Pylon.