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Apr 9, 2013

Bataan Day: National Observance Day in Philippines

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Bataan Day
National observance day in the Philippines is Bataan Day or Bataan and Corregidor Day. This commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II and it falls on April 9. In the year 1961, Congress passed republic Act 3022, declaring April 9th of every year as Bataan Day.

In the year 1987, Executive Order 203 revised all national holidays and renamed Bataan Day into “Araw ng Kagitingan (Bataan and Corregidor Day)".

The year 2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan. This was commemorated at Mount Samat Shrine in Pilar Bataan by 18,000 still-living Filipino veterans.

President Benigo S. Aquino III and former President Fidel V. Ramos attended this year's rites. Toshina Urabe Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines expressed "deep apology and a deep sense of remorse to the tragedy".

The United States Deputy of Mission Leslie Bassett said their Embassy has provided a total of US$220 million to Filipino war veterans.

The history behind the day goes like this, against the orders of Generals the commander of the Luzon Force, Bataan, Major General Edward P.King Jr. surrendered more than 76,000 starving and disease-ridden soldiers to Japanese troops On 9 April 1942.

The soldiers had to cover the distance by walk and in the process, thousands of them died from dehydration, heat prostration, and untreated wounds. A few of them who were lucky enough to travel by truck to San would still have to endure more than 25 additional miles of marching.

Prisoners were beaten and they were often denied promised food and water. Those who fell behind were usually executed or left to die. The sides of the roads becoming littered with dead bodies and those crying for help.

Only 54,000 of the total 76,000 prisoners reached their destination. As thousands of captives managed to escape from their guards, the exact death toll is difficult to assess. Around 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach camp.


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