LAST SATURDAY, members of the Philippine Veterans’ Legion (PVL) broke tradition when they spent “Araw ng Kagitingan,” or the Fall of Bataan in Fort Bonifacio. For years, these old men, easily recognizable by boat-shaped military caps, had traveled all the way to Mount Samat to hear the president speak of war and the veterans’ forgotten exploits. But they are growing weaker, and physically and financially incapable of making the trip to the place that marked Filipino surrender to the Japanese. Besides, says PVL chairman Frank Cedula, the veterans feel “the government isn’t doing anything to help” them, especially now that they are facing a different kind of enemy.
WHEN THE country marked the 63rd anniversary of the Fall of Bataan last Saturday, Charlie Beloso was home, strapped to a wheelchair, and probably just watching the event on TV. But he often relives in his mind the year 1942, when he was among the thousands of brave, young Filipinos who refused to accept defeat in the face of a brutal enemy.
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