April 9, 2021
As we celebrate the 79th Araw ng Kagitingan, we should also honor the Kagitingan of our Filipino youths during the Second World War.
From the history and stories of our veterans, a good number of the soldiers who fought in Bataan are young Filipinos, including cadets of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) of various colleges who volunteered to fight in the front lines against the Japanese imperial army.
Despite the fact that they did not have sufficient combat training, they made a commitment. Their sacrifices are worse than the real war, they endured hunger and killings during the death March from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. This proved that the Filipino youths of that time wanted to take part in the war for our freedom as a way of expressing their patriotism.
Today, do youth still have this kind of will? How many young people can afford to fight and deal with the challenges we are currently facing, especially the threat to national security? How many of them are willing and prepared to join our troops when called upon to confront the threats to our national territory and our sovereignty? How many of them would proudly manifest to the world their extraordinary brand of heroism, patriotism, bravery and unselfish sacrifice?
This is a call to our Filipino youths of this generation, to be willing and ready to accept the torch to protect our freedom and sovereignty against any organization or foreign countries that are trying to trample and destroy it.
Hopefully, we can learn from the courage of our valiant heroes in the defense of the air of freedom we breathe, the peace we live in and the democracy we are enjoying. I believe that each of us can perform our heroic deeds, especially in these times of crisis.
As Father Florentino pointed out in the book El Filibusterismo- “Nasaan ang mga Kabataang naglalaan ng kanilang magagandang sandali, mga pangarap at kasiglahan sa ikakabuti ng kanilang Bayan?
(Note: The opinions expressed in this page is solely those from the letter sender and do not necessarily reflect the stand of this paper on any issue discussed herein– The Editor-In-Chief).