Vice President Leni Robredo attends the 77th commemoration of the Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan) at Mount Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan while President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the commemoration in Sulu later this afternoon.

In her statement posted on her Twitter account, Robredo urged Filipinos to strive to be valiant as our forefathers who fought the colonizers and even abusive regimes.

“Sa kasaysayan, paulit-ulit nang napatunayan ng Pinoy ang paninindigan para sa bayan – laban man sa mananakop o mapang-abusong rehimen. Ang Pilipinas ay duyan ng magigiting, at dapat araw-araw natin iyang isabuhay. Mabuhay ang katapangan ng Pilipino!” Robredo said.

President Duterte will skip the Bataan event but scheduled to lead the Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration later at Camp General Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Sulu.

Last year, the president did not also attend the commemoration rites in Bataan because he flew in to China to attend a business forum.

-- Advertisement --

Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), also known as Bataan Day or Bataan and Corregidor Day, is a national observance in the Philippines which commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II.

April 9, 1942, defying the orders of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, the commander of the Luzon Force, Bataan, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., surrendered more than 76,000 starving and disease-ridden soldiers, 67,000 were Filipinos, 1,000 Chinese-Filipinos, and 11,796 Americans to Japanese troops.

Most of these prisoners of war had their belongings confiscated before being forced to endure the infamous 140-kilometre Bataan Death March to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.

Along the way, thousands died from dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton execution while walking in deep dust over vehicle-broken Macadam roads, and crammed into rail cars for transport to captivity.

Those few who were lucky enough to travel by truck to San Fernando, Pampanga would still have to endure more than an additional 40 km of marching while being beaten randomly and often denied food and water. Others who fell behind were executed or left to die, with the sides of the roads becoming littered with dead bodies and those crying for help.

Only about 54,000 of the 76,000 prisoners reached their destination and approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners-of-war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell.