President Sergio Osmeña’s State of the Nation Address - Part 4

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - September 28, 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.

“In spite of the delicate state of his health, he worked ceaselessly during the first year of his stay in Washington, delivering important speeches and repeatedly broadcasting to the Philippines in an effort to maintain the faith of his people. In active support of the President, the members of his Cabinet also made speeches throughout the United States, inviting the attention of the people of America to the loyal stand of the Filipinos and urging prompt efforts for their early redemption.

“The United States has kept her pledge. The Philippines is now liberated. This arduous campaign of eight months, beginning at Leyte Gulf, has ended with the current final phase of mopping up in Mindanao and Northern Luzon. Only the mountain corridor of Cagayan Valley, a trap from which there is no escape, remains under Japanese occupation.

“Yet, in the flush of victory, we are apt to take for granted the monumental effort which the United States has had to exert to liberate us. Into the Southwest Pacific Area the Japanese General Staff had poured a tremendous amount of troops, planes and ships. Estimates place the Japanese, military forces in the Philippines as comprising an entire army area, two army corps, at least 22 divisions and brigades, and a large number of service troops, totaling at least 450,000 men. Merchant marine, laborers and hastily drafted civilians swelled this locust plague of armed of occupation forces.

“Enormous distances had to be traversed, but within the framework of a master plan that took everything into consideration—climate, terrain and an enemy who preferred suicide to capture—operations stretching over 3,000 miles were relentlessly pursued throughout the bitter years of 1942, 1943 and 1944, until the brilliant goal is within inescapable reach in 1945. The main goal of these far-flung operations was the liberation of the Philippines. Enemy losses in the Philippines to date exceed 380,000, a mortal wound inflicted on the Japanese army. With relatively low losses to ourselves, we have before us another example of the brilliant strategy of that genial military leader, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

“The strategic effect of the liberation of the Philippines has been to set the stage for ultimate Japanese defeat at home and in the south, two areas now severed from each other. Filipinos have done their part in this work by giving lavishly of their men and resources to the United States. But the fight is not yet over, and so I have offered to General MacArthur one division of Filipino troops, under Filipino officers, for the final assault on Japan. Words alone cannot express our gratitude to the United States for all it has done for us, and I take this opportunity to repeat the offer made by President Quezon in 1941 to the people of America—that the men and resources of the Philippines are unconditionally at the service of the United States.” (To be continued)

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