Provincial government pays tribute to war veterans on Independence Day

Ilocos Norte Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba (center) and Senior Provincial Board member Matthew Marcos Manotoc pose with war veterans in front of the provincial capitol building during the 120th Philippine Independence Day celebration.

LAOAG CITY, June 13 (PIA) – The provincial government commemorated the heroism of World War II veterans on the 120th Independence Day commemoration yesterday at the Capitol grounds.

Along with local government officials of each town, police and fire forces, and other locals, the war veterans served as main highlight in the celebration to pay homage to their bravery.

The war heroes are led by their president, Pvt. Francisco Beltran.

“Dakayo apo ti naka-utanganmi iti waya-waya iti pagilian,” Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba said on their significant contribution in achieving freedom for the nation.

A 96-year-old veteran, Beltran fought against Japanese conquerors in the Bessang Pass encounter from January 9 to June 15, 1945 in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

The Bessang war is known as the battle between Ilocos, Cordilleras, and Cagayan Valley against the Japanese Imperial led by General Yamashita.

In the end, the freedom fighters claimed victory when Yamashita and the entire Japanese forces surrendered on September 3, 1945.

“There are many dead soldiers at the Bessang Park where the armed forces of the Japanese killed them so that the Filipinos cannot go out to any place in mountain province,” Beltran said.

Beltran is set to travel to Ilocos Sur on Thursday, June 14, to commemorate the victory on the Bessang War and give respect to the fallen Filipino soldiers.

At present, each veteran receives a monthly pension of P5,000 to cover their cost of living in this age.
Barba reminds locals to remember the sacrifices shed by soldiers and army in fighting for our freedom. (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco and Mario Rañeses/PIA1-ILOCOS NORTE)