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It must be one of the loneliest, and certainly one of the strangest, military outposts in the world: The BRP Sierra Madre is a decrepit, World War II-era ship purposely beached in Ayungin Shoal in 1999 to serve as improvised detachment for a small Philippine contingent.
“Obama vows to reverse tide of inequality in US” (Front Page, 1/30/14). This is a welcome development for Filipino World War II veterans given the US government’s continuing denial of their valid, longstanding claim to veterans’ benefits.
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Last year Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said the use of “comfort women” in World War II was “necessary” to keep battle-stressed soldiers in fighting form. His comments sparked outrage in Asian countries and even drew US criticism. Agence France-Presse cited a survey showing that a large majority of Japanese disagreed with the mayor’s position.
A picture of US aircraft (Ospreys) landing on Japan’s big helicopter carrier Ise, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ship that was stationed in Leyte Gulf with relief goods for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” is literally one for the books.
By Juan L. Mercado
Reports on officials “sick, sick, sick” from gorging at the pork barrel straddle headlines and newscasts. These smudged the reports on the passing, last week, of a soldier who wrote on how guerrillas seized the “Koga Papers,” which radically altered World War II’s liberation battle for the Philippines.
I am writing to you today concerning a matter that is very close to my heart—the plight of Mali, the lone elephant at the Manila Zoo. I am an American citizen and have never visited the Philippines, yet elements of Mali’s life bear stark similarities to my own.
By Jose Ma. Montelibano
Our Independence Day stirred intense patriotic feelings in me, and I am sure in many others as well. Even though I did not participate in memorial celebrations, I tried to catch as many of them on television. And in my own way in cyber space, I tried to share thoughts and images of freedom and our flag.
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
In 2000 I covered the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo that investigated and tried atrocities against women in countries occupied by Japan during World War II. This was some 60 years after the war crimes were committed. The trial was initiated by civil society, human rights and women’s groups from Asia, Europe and the host country, Japan.
The mayor of food-loving Osaka has spoken and his statement is extremely hard to swallow. Mayor Toru Hashimoto said that the so-called “comfort women” of World War II served a “necessary” role to enable beleaguered soldiers to let off steam.
I imagine a mass serenade dedicated by thousands of Filipino “superold” veterans of World War II to President Aquino and his officials, regarding the long-unpaid Total Administrative Disability benefits mandated by Republic Act No. 7696 (An act amending certain sections of RA 6948 otherwise known as “An act standardizing and upgrading the benefits for military veterans and their dependents”). The serenade goes (with an old familiar tune) thus:
The act of laying a wreath at the Dambana ng Kagitingan on Mount Samat every year, on the anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, is potent with meaning. The collapse of American and Filipino defenses on the Bataan peninsula in 1942 and the horrific Death March that followed have long formed part of the national narrative; the martyrs of World War II help define our collective sense of nation.
With the veterans of World War II and the surviving spouses in the province of Camarines Norte diminishing in number as one by one they are called by their Creator to that “undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns,” Roderick Barbado, the new branch manager of Development Bank of the Philippines, introduced another innovation that facilitates withdrawal and deposit transactions for all senior citizens. Before him, the branch manager he replaced assigned a staff to facilitate pension withdrawals by veterans and surviving spouses.