LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—The Provincial Government of Pangasinan commemorated the 79th Lingayen Gulf Landings Anniversary and 17th Pangasinan Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial Park in Lingaye, Pangasinan last January 9, 2024.
The program formally started with a thanksgiving mass presided over by Archbishop Fidelis Layog, followed by the wreath laying ceremony with WWII veteran Mr. Hospicio Mallari, Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr (Defense Attaché of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines representing Her Excellency Ms. Hae Kyong Y), Captain Noel Corpus (Naval Attaché of the Embassy of the United States of America representing Her Excellency Ms. MaryKay L. Carlson), Major PCOL Jeff Fanged (Provincial Director of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office), MGEN Romeo Alamillo, Governor Ramon V. Guico III, and USEC Reynaldo Mapagu (Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office representing Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr.).
“Patriotism is the driver and the life blood of any nation. Our veterans is the most important example of patriotism. As we hear their stories, their sacrifices, going to war, they have volunteered themselves. They have experienced so many experiences that nobody, none of us, have ever experienced. Again, my sincerest thanks and most honorable salute to the most honorable veterans of the province of Pangasinan. Sa inyo po at sa inyo pong pamilya, maraming maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo (To you and to your families, thank you so much for your sacrifice). We will not be enjoying the freedom that we have today if it were not for the sacrifices and patriotism of our dear veterans,” Governor Guico expressed in his speech as he faced the 37 Pangasinan veterans who were present at the event.
Governor Guico also shared the provincial government’s plan to construct a reflective pool leading to the beachfront and the establishment of a Veterans Plaza in the area, in time for the 80th Lingayen Gulf Landings Anniversary and 18th Pangasinan Veterans Day in 2025. Governor Guico likewise emphasized the importance of documenting the lives and stories of the remaining Pangasinan veterans during World War II, stating that by doing so, the province will be assisting in the preservation of one of Pangasinan’s most remarkable contributions in the history of the Philippines. In this way, current and future generations of Pangasinan will embrace, manifest, and champion the patriotism that the province’s veterans have demonstrated throughout their lives.
“As we express our profound gratitude for the service and sacrifice rendered by the veterans of World War II to whom we owe a perpetual debt of gratitude, may their stories of heroic deeds and selfless sacrifices persevere to inspire us citizens and most especially the youth, to become the partner heroes of their generation,” USEC Mapagu said as he conveyed Secretary Teodoro’s message to the audience.
In his speech, USEC Mapagu also shared the inauguration and opening of the Veterans Ward at the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City on January 10, 2024, which is an initiative of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office to as they bring the said office’s medical program closer to veterans, particularly those who live far from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
The commemorative program also included the showing of a short film chronicling stories from some of the WWII veterans of Pangasinan entitled, “Pamana: Passing the Torch of Bravery and Patriotism to the Nation’s Future Defenders.” A performance from renowned talents Ms. Stefanie Quintin-Avila and Mr. Adrik Cristobal was also staged during the event in an artful presentation of appreciation of the veterans.
Photos: RSR & KFC