by Natalie Pardo-Labang [01/31/2016]
31 January 2016, Nasugbu, Batangas—Batangueños gathered as early as 5:30 in the morning to celebrate the Nasugbu Landing and Liberation Day at the Nasugbu Beach, which became the site of a historic landing that helped turn the tide of war in favor of American forces in the Philippines. The center of the celebration was the valor and heroism of the joint forces of Filipino and American troops involved in the Allied landing in the said area that paved the way for the liberation of South Manila and South Luzon in general, and Nasugbu in particular. The Filipino forces were led by Col. Terry Adevoso, Overall Commander of 47th ROTC Division, while the American forces were headed by Lt.Gen. Eichelberger of the US Eight Army.
The half-day celebration kicked off with a salute by simultaneous firing of firecrackers from different barangays of Nasugbu and a parade. A thanksgiving mass ensued thereafter. Nasugbu Mayor Rosario M. Apacible and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima, who served as the guest of honor, led the wreath-laying ceremony. Other officials present were Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO); Col. Bonifacio G. De Gracia, Acting President of Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP); BGen William Esplana of VFP; Former Congressman Dong Apacible, Vice Governor Mark Leviste, and Board Member Carlos Bolilia. District President Bartolome Obe of VFP-Lian, Batangas Chaper was also present. DP Obe is the oldest living World War II veteran in Batangas.
The ROTC Unit of Batangas State University presented a Capability Demonstration and Batallion Formation, and students from various high schools in the locality had a short play depicting the Nasugbu Landing.
“Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat dahil nandito kayo para makiisa sa ating 71st Anniversary ng Nasugbu Landing. Ito ay isang makasaysayang pagkakataon na dapat ay hindi pinaliliban o pinalalagpas ng taong-bayan ng Nasugbu. Ito ay ang pag-alalang nakaraan at pasasalamat sa ating mga mahal na beterano. Nawa’y pahalagahan rin ng kabataan ang pagtitipong ito”, said Mayor Apacible in her welcome message.
Meanwhile, former DOJ Secretary De Lima related the event to the recent state visit of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the Philippines. “Tamang-tama po sa paggunita ngayon ay ang pagbisita muli ni Emperor Akihito at Empress Michiko ng Japan. At ayon po kay Emperor Akihito sa kanilang pag-uusap ng Pangulong Aquino, may I just quote, this was translated in Tagalog, ‘Sa digmaan ng Hapon at Amerika sa Pilipinas,maraming mabagsik na paglalaban ang naganap na nagdulot sa pagkamatay ng maraming Pilipino. Hindi dapat ito kalimutan ng bansang Hapon,’ end of quote,” De Lima said. “Sadya pong nakakamangha ang mga pangyayari sa paglipas ng panahon. Maiisip ba ng mga Pilipino noon, lalong-lalo na ng mga nakipaglaban sa mga Hapon, na balang-araw ay magiging magkaibigan ang Pilipinas at ang bansang nanakop at nanupil sa atin,” she added.
PVAO Administrator also gave a short message. “71 years ago, after the series of bloody assaults, the US 8th Army led the troops of the 1st Battalion and the 188th Glider of the Infantry of the Airborne Division in taking the shores of Nasugbu unhampered,“ Usec. Carolina said recognizing the strategic importance of the Landing in Nasugbu which paved the way to the eventual liberation of Manila. “Ang Batangas ay kilala sa apat na B—balisong, barako, baybayin, at ang isa pa ay beterano o bayani. Ito ay isang probinsya na may napakaraming beterano. Ito ay lalawigan ng mga nationalists katulad ng mga Mabini, Agoncillo, Diokno, Laurel, Recto, at ang mga Apacible. Galing po sa pamilya ng mga beterano si Mayor Apacible,” he added. He likewise thanked the local government of Nasugbu for yearly organizing the commemoration of Nasugbu Landing./N.P.Labang