By Minka Tiangco
The Manila City government commemorated the 75th anniversary of the battle for the liberation of Manila from Japanese imperial forces at the Manila City Hall Monday morning.
The month-long battle in the nation’s capital during World War II claimed the lives of about 100,000 Filipinos and led to the total destruction of the city.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said that the war taught Filipinos that love of country should prevail in any situation.
“Seventy-five years had passed and a lot had changed comparing then with the present. The ruins are no longer visible and the scars have been almost perfectly healed, but the lesson of this historic event is still very clear, and that is for our love of our country to continue to exist regardless of what situation we are in,” he said.
“There is no more way but to go up. From the ravages of war, this city rose up and showed the whole world what resiliency means,” he added. “Let us all join hands to make this city and make this country shine once again.”
The local chief executive also honored the sacrifices and contributions made by the Filipino war veterans, and foreign soldiers who fought alongside allied forces for the city’s liberation in 1945.
“We do not forget, we forgave because that is what God asks us to do. I hope when the time comes, our history will teach us to decide and to do better,” he said.
Domagoso led the wreath-laying ceremony at the Freedom Triangle at the Manila City Hall.
Ambassadors from the United States, United Mexican States, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Spain, and Japan attended the event.
Also in attendance were Dr. Rene Escalante, chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines; Lt. Gen. Antonio Ramon Lim, inspector general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Marivic Leaño, assistant school division superintendent of the Department of Education-Manila; Asec. Raul Caballes, deputy administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office; and Jose Miguel Cabarrus, president of the MEMORARE-Manila 1945 Foundation, Inc., among others.
An exhibit showcasing a replica of a US Army Sherman Tank, war memorabilia, and photos and facts about old Manila was set up in the city hall.