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Ifugao to mark Yamashita surrender

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – President Aquino has declared Sept. 2 a special holiday in Ifugao in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the surrender of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, whose fall in Ifugao also marked the end of World War II.

According to Presidential Proclamation No. 636, which was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Aug. 22, the purpose of the declaration is “to give the people of Ifugao the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.”

Yamashita’s surrender took place in Kiangan’s forested and once-entrenched Nabulaguian Hill where he and his remaining forces were holed up before they eventually yielded to the Allied forces on Sept. 2. 1945, following almost a month of bombardment.

After an overnight stay in Kiangan with his remaining battle-weary forces, Yamashita was brought on Sept. 3, 1945 by helicopter to Baguio City, where he formally signed surrender documents before American forces at Camp John Hay.

Dubbed the Tiger of Malaya during the war, Yamashita, 60, was tried and sentenced to death for war crimes in December 1945 by an American military tribunal in Manila. He was hanged on Feb. 23, 1946, at Los Baños Prison Camp.

The provincial government said that instead of calling Sept. 2 as “Yamashita Fall,” it is more aptly called as “Victory Day” because the fall of the Japanese general also marked the beginning of the liberation of the Philippines after almost five years of Japanese rule.

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“The celebration of Victory Day in the province of Ifugao also promotes interest and pride in our history as a people, forges closer bonds of unity and renews our resolve to secure true and lasting peace,” the presidential proclamation said.

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