Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivers his remarks during the Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration

09 April 2024
Embassy Press and Information Section

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. participated in the commemoration of the 82nd Anniversary of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on 09 April 2024 organized by the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FILVETREP) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5471. with the theme Pagpaparangal sa Kagitingan ng mga Beterano: Saligan para sa Nagkakaisang Pilipino” (Tribute to the Gallantry of the Veterans: Foundation for the Unity of Filipinos).

In his remarks, Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez paid tribute to Filipino and American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and democracy.  He underscored the importance of the commemoration, stating that “we can never fully repay our Filipino and American veterans for their heroism, patriotism, and selfless sacrifice. But we should continue to ensure that younger and future generations remember their sacrifices and embrace their virtues of resilience, patriotism, and sacrifice.” In this regard, he thanked retired US Army Major General Antonio Taguba and the members of FILVETREP, the VFW, and other organizations for their work throughout the years. 

Ambassador Romualdez also stressed that the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific region face new and growing challenges. “Our Filipino soldiers are again called to demonstrate courage and resolve to protect our sovereignty and sovereign rights and uphold the rule of law,” he added.

The commemoration preceded the historic Trilateral Summit between the leaders of the Philippines, the United States, and Japan in Washington, D.C. “We now stand united with our only ally and a former adversary to promote peace and prosperity and uphold the rule of law in our region.  This may have been unthinkable 82 years ago, but it shows us that relations between nations can change. And I hope we always remember that such a transformation from enmity to partnership could not have been possible without the determination of our brave and selfless forebears to preserve and defend freedom and democracy,” remarked Ambassador Romualdez. 

A Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony at the Philippine Embassy’s Chancery Annex followed the Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration. In accordance with Public Law 114-265, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 awards a Congressional Gold Medal collectively to the Filipino Veterans of World War II, in recognition of their outstanding wartime achievements and honorable service to the United States during World War II. The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal is a symbol of honor, valor, integrity and selfless service to the nation.

The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to the following individuals for their intrepidity and indomitable courage in defense of the Philippines and United States from Dec 8, 1941 to Dec 31, 1946: 1) Sergeant Alfonso O. Torre; 2) Captain Dominador Gregorio; 3) Second Lieutenant Tiburcio Manguiran; and 4) Victor Villadolid. The awards were received by their respective families. ###

09 APRIL 2024
Embassy Press and Information Section

Members of the FILVETREP together with the family members of the awardees (third from the left until sixth from the left): Mrs. Maria Cecilia Gregorio Ascalon, granddaughter of Capt. Dominador Gregorio; Mrs. Marilou Romanillos, daughter of Second Lieutenant Tiburcio D. Manguiran; Mrs. Fe Rael Villadolid, wife of Victor Villadolid, and DCM Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon Jr., grandson of Sergeant Alfonso O. Torre.

09 APRIL 2024
Embassy Press and Information Section

Major General Antonio Taguba (US Army Retired) explains the significance of the Congressional Gold Medal to the guests.