by Natalie Pardo-Labang [02/11/2016]
11 February 2016—Buddhist and Christian churches gathered in a memorial prayer service at the Kagitingan Park, AFP Museum, Camp Aguinaldo, to offer prayers for all the Japanese, American, Australian, Filipino soldiers and civilians who perished during the Second World War. The said event was organized by the Magdalo Party List, a socio-civic, non-profit, nationalist organization.
The ceremony began with a procession from lobby of the AFP Museum to Kagitingan Park in Camp Aguinaldo. This was followed by a Buddhist rite led by Rev. Mitani Masaaki, Rev. Gamo Masashi, and Rev. Okada Soichi of Saihouji Temple in Japan. Thereafter, a Christian rite ensued—it was led by BGen. Tirso A. Dolina, Chaplain representing the Catholic Military Ordinate of the Philippines; Lt. Col. Joel Albarda, Chaplain representing Aglipayan Church; and Lt. Col. Victorio Magaway, Chaplain representing the Protestant Church. Both Japanese National Anthem, the “Kimigayo”, and Philippine National Anthem, were sung in honor of the two countries involved in World War II. Other officials present were BGen Vincente Yordan, US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, and Lt. Rozendo Laniz of Joint US Military Assistance Group. Veterans and their families also graced the event.
Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), delivered the welcome remarks. “If the victims of the last war are with us today, they would have continued to offer their selfless service to the motherland. They also would have wished nothing but peace and freedom, not just for themselves but for all people of the world, they would have stressed the most profound lesson from those who actually experienced war—that there should be no war. We may never be able to repay those who sacrificed and died for the freedom we enjoy today, but with our prayers, we keep faith with the ideals that they valiantly fought for,” he said.
In his message, Hon. Gary C. Alejano of Magdalo Party List said: “Let us continue to foster peace with everyone regardless of race or religion. Today is an opportunity to pay tribute and show gratitude to the sacrifices they made during the hard times in our history. To our dear veterans who are here today, on behalf of a grateful nation that is full of pride for the great things that you have done for your country, we thank you.”
“World War II reminds us to give premium to respect for humanity…71 years after, we have set a day for remembering. Friends and foes are now reconciled as one. We remember the end of World War II annually and that in a way is a good recurring start. Our follow through is by realizing the relevance of this painful war in contemporary times and to strive together not to subject the world into another deadly conflict of a global scale,” said Lt. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, AFP Vice Chief of Staff in his closing remarks.