By By Fernan A. Gianan
Our few living wwar heroes
posted 18-Feb-2019  ·  
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Friday last week was the commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Liberation of Catanduanes from the Japanese occupation force during World War II.

In his message, Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) district president Col. Jose Sorreta (Ret.) recalled the darks days under the ruthless invaders, when many suffered from lack of food and other basic necessities.

Before the guerilla movement was organized in the island, he said, many young men in Catanduanes were conscripted into military service and sent to Bataan in a doomed attempt to repel the Japanese forces. “Many never came back,” Col. Sorreta recalled, “most of them unforgotten heroes.”

As the years count down to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Virac on Feb. 5-8, 1945, it is imperative that the province remember the heroism of its soldiers who fought during the war, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

There is no reliable data on the number of Catandunganons who enlisted in the USAFFE or the guerilla groups in the mainland and on this island, but one thing is sure: the number of those who played a vital part in the armed struggle against the Japanese is slowly and inexorably declining.

Out of the scores or, if later revisions can be trusted, hundreds of guerillas who actually joined the Catanduanes Liberators Battalion in missions against the Japanese and in the final battle, only very few are alive.

Of the two living war veterans honored last year - Sgt. Tomas Gil and SSgt. Cenon Camano, only Tang Omay is left as Camano died a few months later.

Three living war vets were supposed receive plaques last Friday: Trinidad Laynes, Florencio T. Tapales and Florencio I. Ibatuan. But Ibatuan succumbed to old age in December 2018 along with one Tumala, who was already 101 years old.

As a result, Ibatuan’s award was given posthumously, along with the plaques for deceased veterans Peregrino G. So, Godofredo A. Tubianosa, Antonio B. Sebuano, Jorge V. Almojuela, Pedro M. Romero, Flaviano V. Ogena, Jose Lacson, Guillermo S. Tumala, and Alejandro T. Tatel.

According to personnel of the PVAO field office at the capitol, two more living war veterans, 96-year old Pacifico Toledana and 95-year old Sixto Tenoria, will be recognized next year during the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Virac. Let’s all pray they will continue to remain healthy until then.

*****

    Recently, two men accused of possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia availed of plea bargaining. They are supposed to be released provided they undergo several months of intervention in the Balay Silangan.

     With the fire razing the proposed site at the old provincial jail, part of the Gigmoto district hospital has been designated as replacement. But the hospital is not yet ready to accept occupants, as it would have to wait for the completion of a separate building for the purpose.

    Under the guidelines, the duo can be sent to Malinao Treatment and Rehabilitation Center but the latter has a vacancy only for females. A six-month stay at MTRC is also usually extended to 10 months, according to a source.

    Last Feb. 1, a meeting between the Community-Based Treatment and Rehabilitation Program TWG and PDEA was supposed to address the issue of compliance of the plea bargain grantees with the 6-month intervention program.

*****

HE KNOWS HER ALRIGHT. At a country club party, a young man is introduced to an attractive girl. Immediately he begins paying her court and flattering her outrageously. The girl likes the young man, but she is taken aback by his fast and ardent pitch. She is amazed when after thirty minutes, he seriously proposes marriage.

    “Look,” she says. “We only met half an hour ago. How can you be so sure? We know nothing about each other?”

    “You’re wrong,” the young man declared. “For the past five years, I’ve been working in the bank where your father has his account.”


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