PILAR, Bataan – President Benigno Aquino III, together with delegates from the United States and Japan, will lead Thursday the 73rd Araw ng Kagitingan rites at the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat of this town, as local and tourism officials here have lined up various programs in memory of the heroism of the Filipino and American soldoers during World War II.
Governor Abet S. Garcia and Mayor Alice Pizarro of this town will lead Bataenos in welcoming the President and foreign delegates, composed mostly of Japanese and Americans, World War II veterans, their relatives and other guests.
Organizers said that upon arrival, the Chief Executive will be accorded with full military honors by officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines led by General Gregorio Pio Catapang and shall then offer a wreath to the shrine. This will be followed by messages from Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa and United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg and the President’s keynote address.
Mrs. Vicky Sandejas-Garcia, mother of the Governor and Chairperson of the Bataan Peninsula Tourism Foundation, Inc., (BPTFI) said that among the programs that will highlight the Araw ng Kagitingan are the reenactment of the Battle of Pockets in April 8, the breath-taking and daring battle between the Japanese and Filipino-American forces.
Today April 6, delegates from the Risho Kosei-kai (RKK), with a membership of more than 2 million in Japan, were welcomed by the Garcias at the Emiliana Hall. In April 7, Mrs. Garcia, Gov. Garcia and Mayor Joet Garcia of Balanga City, will lead the opening of the Trade Fair to be held at the Plaza Mayor de Balanga, followed by a cultural night at the Plaza.
On April 8, provincial leaders, the RKK and other guests will proceed to Bagac town for the 40th anniversary celebration of the Friendship Tower, followed by the inauguration and blessing of the Bataan Library and Youth Development Center (BLYDC) where a commemorative ceremony will be held for Rev. Kinjiro Niwano.
“A lot of activities are lined up and this will perhaps be the most memorable celebration for Araw ng Kagitingan,” said Mrs. Garcia, who played a major role in the preparations of the program.
This year’s commemoration is guided by the theme “Ipunla ang Kagitingan sa Kabataan, Ihanda ang Beterano ng Kinabukasan.