Today, April 9th, the entire nation observed Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor to commemorate the fall of Bataan during World War II. In Gumaca, this has become a tradition to honor our veterans and their sons and daughters.
This year, Lamon Bay School of Fisheries and Panikihan National High School played hosts to the proceedings and coordinated all the preparations to make the event a success. It started with wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial Marker at the Lakan BUgtali Blvd. followed by a civic parade around town participated by the LGU, PNP, BFP, 85th IB, DepEd, Kabalikat and other CSOs/NGOs. A program was likewise presented with messages from LBSF’s Principal Mrs. Filipina Vasquez and PNHS Principal Ricky Pertines and performances from GNHS FDT and LBSF Dancers.
Vice Mayor Dr. Elchor Caralian who represented Mayor Erwin Caralian and the local government unit gave a heartfelt message acknowledging the efforts of our veterans towards the attainment of the freedom that we are enjoying right now. He added that they may have been diminishing in number due to old age but their heroism and sacrifices shall never be forgotten. The Vice Mayor also mentioned about the monetary incentive that the LGU provides to centenarians. During the last Foundation Day Celebration in November, two were already given and one went to veteran Cresenciano Maranaca.
Ms. Maria Teresa L. Oflaria was the guest speaker who imparted to her audience the valiancy of our veterans. Ayon sa kanya ang mga katangian ng ating mga beterano ay ang mga sumusunod: kagitingan, pagmamahal at katapatan sa bayan, disiplina sa sarili, marubdob ang hangaring maging malaya at higit sa lahat may pananalig sa Diyos. She recalled that initially she doesn’t want to enter government service but acceded to the insistence of her aunt. Twenty years after, she said she’s happy she made the right decision. Ms. Oflaria announced that the Philippine Veterans Office is also set to award Mr. Cresenciano Maranca being the oldest living veteran in Gumaca at age 101.