By Gideon C. Corgue

PAGADIAN CITY, April 11 (PIA) -- BGen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, newly installed commander of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army and Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio H. Cerilles led the celebration of "Araw ng Kagitingan" on Sunday, April 9 by paying homage to the countless Filipino war veterans who fought for the ideals of freedom.

Bautista, said this year’s historical commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan with the theme “Parangal sa mga Beterano, Tungo sa Bayan na Nararapat sa mga Pilipino, mga Pilipino na Nararapat sa Bayan,”  is a tribute to Filipinos who fought and died in the struggle to defend freedom and democracy.

“The veterans are our living heroes. You are our inspiration because of your  extraordinary courage, dedication and love for our country,” Bautista said.

“You inspire us (soldiers) to faithfully serve our country. You are our guide in our desire to preserve the nation’s independence and democracy against Japanese invaders,” he added.

"We should always glorify all the brave men and women-- our unsung heroes of all wars starting from the Philippine Spanish War,  the Philippine American War of which almost 1 million Filipinos were killed by the Americans, up to the latest war. We always cherish them because they dreamed only of our freedom, our liberty, and our rights as a democratic state," Zamboanga del Sur Governor  Antonio H. Cerilles said.

“I am grateful to all government officials and employees and civic organizations for joining this very important day in our history because without our fallen heroes, there will be no Philippines,” Cerilles concluded. (ALT/GCC-PIA/Zamboanga del Sur)