Nation Urged to Cherish Freedom; Education Secretary Guest Speaker at Capas Rites Nation Urged to Cherish Legacy of Freedom
Byline: FRED M. ROXAS
CAPAS, Tarlac -- "The liberty that our forefathers fought for is a legacy that we have to cherish and continue to nurture, for in freedom, we can achieve what is best for our country," Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapus, guest of honor and speaker, said yesterday at the "Paggunita sa Capas" observance at the Capas National Shrine as part of the national "Araw ng Kagitingan" celebration this year.
It was in a concentration camp in Capas where thousands of Filipino and American soldiers ended the "Death March" in World War II. They were forced to walk from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, where they were taken by train to Capas.
Filipinos continue to fight today, Secretary Lapus said, but the fight is for their right to live a decent life.
"We are now fighting poverty instead of foreign invaders," he said.
On the same occasion, Vic Yap, youngest son of outgoing Tarlac Gov. Jose V. Yap and now gubernatorial candidate, also paid tribute to the heroes of Death March.
"Today, we commemorate the heroism of hundreds of soldiers who have braved all elements and foreign rule to defend our land and people," he said.
"In Tarlac province, we are slowly winning the war against poverty. And soon, we will totally eradicate it," he said.
The younger Yap and his father, Governor Yap, who is running for congressman in the province's second district, are the common candidates of Lakas and its allied parties in the province.
On February 27, 2007, President Arroyo signed Memorandum Order 241 directing Department of National Defense Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. to lead this year's observance of Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week.
The week-long celebrations kicked off last April 2 with the 15th National Oratorical contest held at the VFP Theater, Veterans Compound, in Taguig City. On April 5, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani led by Ebdane. On the same day, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., led a parade at the Phillippine Army grandstand in honor of the veterans.
Last Monday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita represented President Arroyo in Araw ng Kagitingan rites on Mount Samat, Pilar, Bataan. …