Soldiers reenact the historic Talisay landing of the US forces 73 years ago, which liberated Cebu and the nearby provinces of Negros and Bohol from the Japanese.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal
War veterans clamor for free medicines
Iris Mariani B. Algabre (The Freeman) - March 27, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — They fought to free the country from the Japanese during the Second World War, but now, war veterans are fighting for a different cause.

While their hospitalization is shouldered by government hospitals, they are appealing to the government to provide them maintenance medicines for free.

Hannibal Lipardo, vice president of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, said he hopes that the government would set aside funds for their maintenance medicines.

“Kani sila (veterans), dili mga papel sa programa ila kinahanglan para pangpaypay. Ang kinahanglan nila kay tambal para sa ilang inadlaw-adlaw nga panginahanglan,” Lipardo told the crowd at yesterday’s program commemorating the Talisay Landing.

The celebration, graced by about 300 veterans from across the country, featured a reenactment of the arrival of members of the United States Army’s 8th Division on the shores of Talisay on March 26, 1945.

They were part of the so-called Operation Victor II ordered by then US general Douglas MacArthur, which sought to free Cebu, Negros, and Bohol from the Japanese occupation.

Cebu City was liberated the following day, March 27, 1945, and the province soon followed suit on August 28 of that same year.

In response to the veterans’ request, Mayor Eduardo Gullas said he will discuss the matter with Vice Mayor Allan Bucao and check how the city can help.

Governor Hilario Davide III, for his part, said the hospital expenses of war veterans and centenarians are free in public hospitals but he was unsure about their maintenance medication. He said he will look into the matter.

At least ten veterans were recognized in this year’s Talisay Landing commemoration, all of whom were aged 90 years old and above.

One of them was 100-year-old Guillermo Antoni Alegado, a resident of Barangay Lamac, Pinamungajan town, Cebu, who was guided by his relatives in receiving his certificate of commendation yesterday because he was wheelchair-bound. He turned a century last February 10.

The other awardees were Hipolito Rodriguez, 93, from Tabunok, Talisay; Vicente Restauro, 93, from San Isidro, Talisay; Agapito Dobluis, 92, from Candulawan, Talisay; Briccio Jakosalem, 91, Pakigne, Minglanilla; Sergio Rivera, 97, from Upper Pakigne, Minglanilla; Teodulfo Flormata, 91, from Lower Tunghaan, Minglanilla; Ricardo Firoleno, 97, from Malhiao, Badian; Leonard Ferolino, 91, from Banhigan, Badian; and Luis Jabonero, 90, from Tisa, Cebu City.

Every year, the Talisay City and Cebu provincial governments honor the veterans as part of the memorial on the liberation of Cebuanos from the Japanese and the arrival of American soldiers.

This year, the city government allocated P800,000 for the event, while the Capitol shelled out P500,000.

A major highlight of the yearly tribute was the reenactment of the Talisay Landing by students who portrayed as guerillas, Japanese soldiers, and American troopers.

Inspector Inar Vic Florece, deputy chief of Talisay police, estimated yesterday’s crowd on Barangay Poblacion’s shores at 1,500.

While no untoward incident happened, police reported that a K-9 unit of the Philippine Navy went missing.

The dog supposedly had a role in the reenactment by smelling explosives around the area but it was missing even before the show started.

According to Sergeant Jundi Masbang of the Philippine Navy Marines Reserve, the dog, which lost grip from his handler, was black and brown and a cross-breed between a German shepherd and Rottweiler.

“Nabigla, natakot sa tao kasi hindi sanay sa maraming tao, sa combat lang siya,” said Masbang.

Police urged constituents to turn the dog over to the police if found. (FREEMAN)

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