Romblon welcomes Musashi discovery
The province of Romblon welcomes the recent discovery of the sunken Japanese battleship Musashi by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and his team in the Sibuyan Sea, which may be within the territory of the province of Romblon. (The exact location has not been disclosed by Allen’s team.)
On record the largest and most heavily armed warship ever launched, Musashi was sunk by American forces in World War II during the Battle of Sibuyan Sea, which led to one of history’s largest naval battles, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. For years, Romblon, in collaboration with civic organizations and local government units in the islands of Tablas and Sibuyan, has been commemorating the Battle of Sibuyan Sea to promote peace, unity and prosperity among Americans, Japanese and Filipinos in remembrance of the fallen soldiers and civilians during the war. World War II memorials have been erected as well.
In fact, the government of the Philippines, through Proclamation No. 45, series of 2010, declared Oct. 24 of every year the Battle of Sibuyan Sea Day and ordered the Department of Education, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and all other pertinent government agencies “to rectify history herewith in their respective institutional capacities.”
There have been initiatives of the private sector, local and national governments to preserve the historical integrity and significance of the Battle of Sibuyan Sea for all concerned to embrace reconciliation and peace through historical tourism, cultural exchange and international cooperation.
In relation to the recent discovery of the Musashi wreck, the provincial government was unaware of the presence of Allen’s vessel and his team at Sibuyan Sea. Allen claimed that they have been searching for Musashi for more than eight years, but no such information has been shared with us; neither were local authorities sought for coordination.
We also know that even the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy were as unaware as we were about the Allen exploration. Since the ship may contain artifacts of historical significance, government institutions like the National Museum and the NHCP must be brought into the picture.
And because the Musashi is a Japanese vessel, it would also be proper to inform the embassy of Japan about the discovery. Also, in reverence to their fallen soldiers, this matter should be handled with cultural sensitivity.
We hope that national laws and international protocols will be observed for proper coordination and collaboration.
Again, we welcome this historical discovery by Allen and his team.
—EDUARDO C. FIRMALO, MD, governor, Romblon
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