TARLAC, Philippines – In time, President Rodrigo Duterte will realize the importance of Philippine-American ties.
Former President Fidel Ramos expressed this hope on Tuesday, April 11, during the 10-kilometer "Freedom March" from the Bataan Death March Monument along MacArthur Highway to the Capas National Shrine in Cristo Rey village in Capas town here.
On the 3rd day of commemorating the Bataan Death March of 1942, Ramos led several hundred marchers, composed of local government officials and employees, contingents from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, boy and girl scouts, descendants of World War II veterans, and other participants.
“He (Duterte) may not know it, but I’m sure he will know it very quickly that the Americans have always been our most sincere, devoted, patriotic, and fearless allies in war and peace,” Ramos said to the loud applause of the audience.
In his speech, the former president said the public should not believe what they read and hear in the media about the coming end to Philippine-American relations under the current administration.
PH needs int'l cooperation
Ramos emphasized the need for a country like the Philippines to maintain its diplomatic and socio-economic relations with other countries, particularly the United States.
“We must work towards closer cooperation among nations. The world is too dangerous if left to itself,” he said.
He added that threats to the environment and human health, like global warming and diseases, could be solved only through international cooperation.
Ramos said the world should not be divided by race, religion, or political ideology to achieve the numerous goals beneficial to the human race.
The former president said the surrender of some 80,000 death march victims in Bataan in 1942 was not the end of the war against the Japanese invaders. He said American and Filipino soldiers continued to fight the enemies through guerilla warfare.
He said the most successful guerilla movement in the country was initiated in Davao City, where an American mining engineer, Colonel Wendell Fertig of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East, was able to mobilize 30,000 members armed only with vintage guns, bolos, and knives.
“It was their bravery, their determination to fight the enemy, their desire to see the Philippines liberated once more that made them so successful,” he said.
Duterte should attend next time
Ramos also asked the Department of National Defense, through retired Lieutenant General Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, to invite Duterte to attend next year’s commemoration of the suffering and endurance of thousands of Filipino and American soldiers at the Capas National Shrine.
The 3-day Freedom Trail that started from the “Freedom Run” on April 9 and “Padyak para sa Kagitingan” on April 10, commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.
Former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor, one of the organizers of the events, said they want to rekindle people’s memory about the heroes of World War II and to remember their sacrifices. – Rappler.com