The nation will be commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan this April 9, Saturday. Known locally as “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor), this is a legal holiday nationwide as mandated in Republic Act 3022 which President Carlos P. Garcia signed in 1961.
According to the Department of National Defense and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the theme for this year’s commemoration is “Kagitingan ng mga Beterano, Inspirasyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino.” The Araw ng Kagitingan is the highlight of the annual Philippine Veterans Week, which is from April 5 to 11.
RA 3022 calls on all Filipinos especially public officials to observe a one-minute silence by 4:30PM of April 9 and to hold appropriate rites in honor of the veterans of the Fall of Bataan in particular and World War II in general.
The Fall of Bataan happened in April 9, 1942, when Filipino and American fighters isolated for nearly four months in the Bataan peninsula surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army under General Masaharu Homma.
This came after Major General Edward P. King of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East concluded that further attempts to stop the Japanese from advancing will be futile. Most of the survivors of the Japanese offensive were then forced to march from Mariveles, Bataan all the way to San Fernando, Pampanga before traveling via train to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac.