Duterte recognizes Philippines alliances with US, Japan
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte recognized yesterday the importance of the Philippines’ military alliances with the United States and Japan through the years since World War II.

In remembering how Filipino war veterans “overwhelmed odds of death and defeat” in 1942, Duterte called on Filipinos to support the government’s fight against new threats to democracy.

Duterte, who flew from Davao City to China yesterday, failed to attend the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan or the Day of Valor at Mt. Samat in Bataan.

His message was read by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea before hundreds of guests, including war veterans, foreign dignitaries and local officials.

Medialdea was designated officer-in-charge of the government while Duterte is attending a forum in Hainan, China.

“The brotherhood between the Philippines and the US has been forged by the second World War when the Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side under the flag of freedom, and democracy still remains strong,” the President said.

Duterte recognized the alliance between the Philippines and the US in terms of military and economic support.

“To this day, America has remained our strong military and economic ally,” he said.

‘Time heals old wounds’

The President also noted how Japan has become a friend from being a foe during World War II.

“The Japanese against whom our soldiers defended Bataan for many years now remain as one of our closest allies, a major trading partner and the largest provider of Official Development Assistance, which helps us in the fight against poverty and our quest for economic progress,” Duterte said.

“Time has indeed healed old wounds. Our enemy then has become our closest ally,” Medialdea said, reading from Duterte’s speech.

“The forces that faced each other in Bataan have since become allies and are now the vanguards of democracy in the region and beyond,” he added.

 Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda also underscored the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries as he offered an apology for the atrocities of World War II.

War veterans honored

Senators called on Filipinos to honor the sacrifices of the nation’s heroes and war veterans by emulating their courage and determination to fight the challenges confronting the country today.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the people could do these through their own efforts to improve quality of life for their countrymen.

 “Filipinos never failed to respond to the call of duty when their country needed them. And this is a time when the country needs all its citizens, not to fight in trenches but to make the Philippines better for Filipinos,” Pimentel said.

Sen. Grace Poe saluted veterans “who exemplified patriotism and gallantry for our democracy.”

“Time and again, we have faced challenges and threats that displayed genuine courage of the Filipinos – the soldiers in Marawi City, the SAF 44, peacekeepers, crime fighters and ordinary civilians who guard their communities,” Poe said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the Day of Valor should remind Filipinos to be brave amid oppressors and challenges.

Sen. Sonny Angara said the bravery and heroism of the Filipino men and women who fought for the country’s democracy should be a source of inspiration for the youth.

The Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) saluted the country’s war veterans in observance of Araw ng Kagitingan.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called on Filipinos to continue commemorating the gallantry of those who fought for the country.

Bataan Gov. Albert Raymond Garcia urged residents to remember the sacrifices of the war veterans. – Paolo Romero, Michael Punongbayan, Jose Rodel Clapano, Raffy Viray

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