CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)--To commemorate the 77th Liberation Day of the city, May 12, at Ayala Centrio Mall, here, families of war veterans help crowd-fund a 1/24 scale model of (Patrol Torpedo) PT-41, which brought MacArthur and his family from Corregidor to Cagayan.
Jose C. Paler, regional president of the Philippine Veterans Federation Region 10, said, “Cagayan de Misamis (Cagayan de Oro’s former name) was liberated from the Japanese by all Filipino guerrillas with some help from the American Air Force and US Navy after a four-day battle from May 9-12.”
Paler said it was not General MacArthur's main mission to liberate Cagayan de Oro but rather to recapture the important Del Monte Airfield at Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
The PT-41 scale model now serves as a memento of two significant historical events, General Douglas MacArthur's breakout from Corregidor and the liberation of Cagayan de Oro.
Philippine Veterans Bank First Vice President for Marketing and Communications Division Miguel Angelo C. Villa-Real said, “We always want to honor the World War II veterans, many of whom have passed on, they were ordinary people, just like you and me, except that when the time came that they had to answer the call of the country, they did so and they've shone the brightest. Their testimonies, their lives shown before us provided examples to many of us today, especially us - the descendants.”
He added that the stories of war veterans must be passed on to the next generation as these are stories worth telling.
On February 11, 2021, Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez filed House Bill 8677 or the act declaring May 12 of every year as a special non-working public holiday in Cagayan de Oro City to be known as Cagayan de Oro Liberation Day.
Rodriguez said, “today, we dedicate and unveil the PT-41 is what General Douglas MacArthur rode from Corregidor to Cagayan de Oro, Del Monte and Australia. The other part of our celebration today is the celebration of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Cagayan de Oro from the Japanese that is May 12, exactly today."
According to his book, Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental Politics and History (A Compilation of Sources), in 1945 American forces landed in Tin-ao, Agusan, which started the liberation of Cagayan de Oro.
The scale model of the PT-41 boat built by Desi Reyes will be formally turned over to the Cagayan de Oro City Government, through the City Tourism and Cultural Office, and will be installed at the MacArthur Memorial Marker in Macabalan, this city during the Himugso Festival, June 12-15, 2022.
The scale model has been crowd-funded by a group of private citizens and institutions led by the Philippine Veterans Bank and the heirs and families of the World War II veterans. This is a token of gesture in honor of the 80th Anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur's Breakout from Corregidor, March 13, 2022.
The project was initiated and sustained by the Volunteer Project Committee with Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez, Miguel Angelo C. Villareal, Miniature and Scale model builder Desi R. Reyes, Photographer and Modeler Albert Labrador, Albert Parker Ross II who provided the drawings and advised Reyes during the entirety of the PT-41 build; Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission Chairman Nicolas Aca, Jr., Artist and Designer Christopher Gomez, Donna C. Ocampo and Asst. Prof. Philip Molina Garcia of the University of Utah Asia Campus, Inchon, South Korea. (SAYU/PIA-10)