The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), led by PVAO Administrator Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu, joined the local government of Kiangan, Ifugao in the commemoration of the 77th Victory Day in Kiangan with the theme, “Enduring Peace: Engine for Health and Economic Recovery,” on 2 September 2022 at the Kiangan National Shrine in Kiangan, Ifugao. Guest of Honor and Speaker, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, represented by Mr. Leo Palo III, led the Wreath-Laying Ceremony.
In his speech read by Mr. Leo Palo III, Sen. Bong Go expressed his gratitude to the valor and sacrifices of the World War II Filipino and American Veterans. He conveyed his high praise for their unwavering spirit that brought the country’s independence. “Because of this spirit, I have hope for the future and I’m confident that we will overcome whatever obstacles we face today including the pandemic and other contemporary challenges confronting our world,” Mr. Palo read.
Meanwhile, USec. Mapagu, in his message, reiterated the gallant spirit of the Filipino veterans and encouraged the youth of today to embody their bravery and their unwavering love for the country. “I hope that our veterans’ valor and heroism continue to be engraved deep in our memories and their display of patriotism remain as our inspiration to work tirelessly for the good of our country and fellow Filipinos,” USec. Mapagu said.
Two (2) living veteran awardees, Pvt. Cristanto F. Ofeciar (95 years old), and Pvt. Romulo C. Taguiam (97), were awarded with the Philippine Liberation Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, along with fourteen posthumous veteran awardees namely: 1Lt. Hermoso I. Bimmotag, 2Lt. Fortunanto Bayod, SSgt. Baguilat M. Kindipan, SSgt. Esteban A. Cutiyog, Cpl. Demetrio Bullong, PFC Adriano N. Dumalilis, PFC Alonso Maddam-Ot, PFC Carlos A. Puguan, Pvt. Tayaban Da-Ang, Vet. Dimi-Ang Pingiton, Pvt. Leon B. Habiling, Sr., Pvt. Francisco Wigan, Pvt Jose G. Bayawon, and Pvt. Gaspar M. Ponchinlan.
Ifugao Governor Jerry U. Dalipog, Ifugao Vice Governor Glenn D. Prudenciano, Ifugao Lone District Representative Solomon R. Chungalao, represented by Mr. Roel Francis Dulnuan, Kiangan Mayor Raldis Andrei A. Bulayungan, Kiangan Vice Mayor Michelle Alice Baguilat, Hingyon Mayor Florencio Nalula, Alfonso Lista Mayor Edralin Alipio, Lamut Mayor Victomar Bunnol, Asipulo Mayor Archie Quino, and Lagawe Mayor Marin Habawel Jr. and Girl Scouts of the Philippines Ifugao Council Executive Ms. Felisa D. Gumangan also joined the celebration.
The veterans community, led by Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) Region II President Reynaldo M. Lingan, were also in attendance. He was joined by the VFP Nueva Vizcaya, VFP Quirino District, VFP 4th and 3rd Isabela District, and VFP Ifugao District officers.
The 77th Victory Day in Kiangan, commemorated every 2nd of September, marks the capture of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, commander of the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. Republic Act no. 11120 declares September 2 in Kiangan as a special non-working holiday in the province of Ifugao.