President Sergio Osmeña’s State of the Nation Address - Part 2

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - September 23, 2020 - 12:00am

This State of the Nation Address was delivered on June 9, 1945 when the country was about to rise from the damage of World War II. This speech should be integrated in our school curriculum so the youth will understand our war history.

“Then followed a period of enemy occupation, cruel and humiliating. No sooner had the fighting in Bataan ended than the enemy began the systematic looting of our country. There was no limit to what he could requisition with his worthless money. Even our barest necessities were commandeered. And when we tried to stand by our rights, force, ruthless force, immediately intervened. With or without cause, people by the scores were arrested and sent to prison and concentration camps—some to be tortured, others to be executed. As time went on, we became more impoverished, while the enemy became still more cruel and arrogant. After undergoing three years of enemy domination, no people was a more pitiful sight than the Filipinos—lean, ragged and famished.

“I wish to stress the fact that the extreme suffering of the Filipinos and the widespread destruction wrought on our country has been due, in a large measure, to their unwavering loyalty to the United States. No people, I believe, has given so much proof of fidelity to the cause of the mother country as the Filipinos.

“When Japan invaded the Philippines, the American flag was here. Even without that flag, Japan would probably have launched her attack. But as long as the Philippines remained under American sovereignty, the responsibility for the defense of the Islands lay with the United States. For forty odd years, in our continuous preparation for self-government, we exercised jurisdiction over matters of education, public works, sanitation and other functions of public administration, but never over our national defense. This function remained in the hands of the United States as the sovereign power. It is true that as soon as the Commonwealth was established, we started giving our citizens military training and building up a modest army, but these steps were in preparation, not for war, but for the fulfillment of our peaceful duties as an independent nation.

“Notwithstanding these facts, the Filipino people rallied to the defense of the American flag, paying no heed to the cost and consequences. The sad moment came when it had to be admitted that the battle was lost, since a relief force could not be sent to the Philippines. But far from wavering, the Filipino soldier, side by side with his American comrade, fought on harder than ever until he was overwhelmed by superior numbers.

“Unwilling to bow to the enemy, the Filipino people valiantly took up the struggle with all the strength they could muster. Patriotic grou ps soon sprang up throughout the length and breadth of the Archipelago. At first eluding the enemy, the guerrillas took to the mountains, but with the active support of the civilian population they quickly grew in number and strength to become a virtual challenge to the enemy. The story of the guerrilleros and of the civilian patriots who helped them, is an epic of heroism, loyalty and sacrifice. As far as possible they should be given recognition. Recognized guerrilla units have already been incorporated into the Philippine Army.” (To be continued)

SERGIO OSMEñA
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