The celebration of the 71 st Liberation Day of Dumaguete City was marked with simple but fitting ceremonies Tuesday at the Silliman University gymnasium, in spite of the dwindling number of veterans who were part of the guerilla unit who helped liberate the city from the clutches of Japanese occupation in 1944.
Dr. Earl Jude Cleofe, dean of the College of Education of Silliman, said that two fronts, one coming from the south and the other from the north, eventually converged at the center to take over the city, based on the story of a veteran identified as Juan Dominado.
He also read the diary of a certain Kiyogi Yamada, a low ranking official then of the Japanese army, that they were very young when the airport of Dumaguete was bombed by the Americans and with the help of the Filipino guerillas, they were able to push the Japanese army to the mountains in Valencia, particularly in Sagbang, where the Japanese shrine is located.
Based on the diary, they were saddened by revelations that persons involved in heinous crimes, like rape, were not Japanese but Filipinos themselves.
Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria told the veterans they can make a lot of difference in the election next month, and that their decision is crucial for the country to grow and be a better place to live in.
He said that in Dumaguete, there are a lot of programs for veterans so that when they need help, they are made welcome in City Hall as heroes and not just ordinary citizens.
Gov. Roel Degamo paid tribute to the fearless and valiant fighters during World War II, adding the province is forever grateful for their bravery and heroism. The governor said the gallantry of the veterans during the liberation of Dumaguete is not only for the city but for the country as well.
Rep. George Arnaiz (Neg. Or., 2 nd District) enjoined the public to continue the fight for freedom and against all forms of criminality, illegal drugs, syndicates, and corruption in government.
The celebration was attended by SU president Ben Malayang III, Col. Bruno Festejo, VFP district vice commander of the Dumaguete Post No. 4, Joel Llosa - president of the VFP-SDAI Dumaguete City Post, and MGen. Alfredo Cayton Jr., chief of the Veterans Affairs Management Division of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.*JG
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