September 3, which marks Yamashita's surrender, is a working holiday
The Japanese commander, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, is seated in the middle on the near side of the table. Seated on the opposite side, second from left, is Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, U.S. Army. Toward the right end of the table, immediately to the left of Gen. Yamashita's head, is Commodore Norman C. Gillette, USN, Deputy Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph, public domain
September 3, which marks Yamashita's surrender, is a working holiday
( - September 2, 2019 - 11:39am

MANILA, Philippines — September 3, Tuesday, marks Imperial Japanese Army Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita's formal surrender to US Army Maj. Gen. Edmond Leavey and the end of the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.

According to Republic Act No. 11216, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law in July 2018, September is a special working public holiday across the Philippines in commemoration of Yamashita's surrender at Camp John Hay in Baguio City. 

Work and classes are not suspended on special working public holidays. Those who go to work are paid their regular rate, although they can also reflect on how that is better than living through the Japanese occupation, which ended 74 years ago.

The bill that led to RA 11216 initially proposed a non-working holiday for Baguio City on September 3 to mark the occasion. Rep. Mark Go (Baguio City), who filed the bill in the 17th Congress said it was fitting to declare a holiday in the city where World War II in the Philippines started and ended.

"Many Filipinos are unaware that Baguio was where the Second World War in the Philippines began. After the bombing of the Pearl Harbor, the first casualty of Japanese air raids in Luzon was Camp John Hay together with Manila," Go said in the explanatory note for his bill.

"When the US troops returned, Baguio was again targeted by the first air raid on January 6, 1945. What followed after was an almost daily carpet bombing which nearly destroyed the City of Baguio. US planes bombed the City Hall, Session Road and even the front of the Baguio Cathedral, killing hundreds of civilians who sought shelter inside," Go also said.

September 2 holiday in Ifugao province

September 2, Monday, is a special non-working holiday in Ifugao province under Republic Act No. 11120.

The law declaring the province-wide holiday "in commemoration of the surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines in Kiangan, Ifugao," also directs the provincial government to hold programs and activities on this day.

The commemorations are to be held in coordination with the municipal government of Kiangan, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Offcie and the Military Shrines Services.

The commemoration this year kicked off on Sunday with a prayer service and a wreath-laying and candle-lighting ceremony in honor of deceased veterans of World War II, according to a program posted by the Kiangan local government.

Although Yamashita formally surrendered in Baguio City on September 3, it was on the day before that the Japanese general "travelled through mountain trails from his hideout at Mount Napulawan to the US Garrison in Kiangan and surrendered himself to the joint Filipino-American forces under the command of Captain Grisham of the 6th US Army," the Philippine Information Agency says in a feature article on Ifugao's Victory Day.

  This photo from the Philippine Information Agency shows the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School, where Yamashita first surrendered. (Photo from PIA)

"He was then flown to Baguio City where he signed his formal surrender  paper  on September 3, 1945 at Camp John Hay that finally ended WWII in the Asia Pacific," the PIA article also reads.

Ifugao province has been celebrating Victory Day yearly since 1991 "to honor the gallantry, heroism and valor of the Filipino soldiers and veterans including the Ifugao guerillas who fought and served during the war." — Jonathan de Santos

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