IT is another hybrid and toned-down commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landings on Wednesday, October 20 Covid-19 pandemic remains yet a public health threat in the province.
A 3-day commemoration
Sans the usually elaborate fanfare and days of back-to-back events, this year’s celebrations, however, still include today’s early morning commemoration in Tolosa, Leyte now known as “Signal Day” of Oct 18.
The event, which will still be limited to a select few audiences because of the pandemic, is held at Barangay Telegrafo, Tolosa, honoring the heroic acts of Scouts Valeriano Abello, Antero Junia Sr. and Vicente Tiston.
Historical accounts had it that the young scouts were responsible in sparing the shorelines from Abuyog to Tacloban City from the bombardment of the invading Allied Forces, hence, saving thousands of locals living in the area.
The story is told that the three saw the need to guide the Americans shelling to Japanese encampments (using mere scout signs and signals).
The forgotten two
At the memorial site in Telegrafo, however, where the historic “Signal Day” event is held, there is but one lone statue that’s been erected – that of scout Abello, the other two – Antero Junia Sr. And Vicente Tiston, for whatever reason, seemed to have been deliberate, or so, forgotten in time.
On October 19, similar commemorative activities to be hosted by the local government unit of Palo have been slated at the Peace Monument, Pag-ibig Plaza, Palo, Leyte.
According to the event secretariat, ambassadors of Australia, Japan, and the Unites States of America will take part and extend their commemorative greetings virtually.
October 20 Hybrid Commemoration
Except for the actual flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies to be led by local officials, most of the program will be hybrid, including all the delivery of commemorative and solidarity messages of participating guests and officials.
It was learned that President Rodrigo Duterte, who will not be physically present during the event, has already sent a pre-taped commemorative message that will be aired during the live virtual and online broadcast.
Survivors of war, survivors of pandemic
On a lighter note, despite the number of war veterans gradually decreasing over the years, the province recorded that none of the remaining 48 war veterans in region have caught the Covid-19 virus, surviving not only the World War II but also the war against the virus that continues to infect the country.
Several changes have also been made this year, and instead of awarding the oldest living veteran in the region, the province has will give Php10,000 cash aid to all the veterans besides several other items.
Remembering a war that changed history
Although the Leyte Gulf Landings is one of the awaited events in the region, many forget the profound significance of the event, as many in the younger generation are not aware of the province’s history.
“Without love for our country, we cannot grow as a country,” says former energy secretary Jerecho “Icot” Petilla. “
“Lest we get carried away by the waning memories of our historic pasts, may this commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landings ignite within the hearts of the younger generation the love of our country. For we can never grow as country and people without it,” he added in the dialect.