A City councilor is seeking April 22 to be declared as Palawan Liberation Day to pay tribute and respect to the guerilla warriors who fought in the name of freedom and liberty during the World War 2.
City Councilor Matthew Mendoza, chair of the Committee on Tourism has authored an ordinance on the proposed declaration which he submitted to the Council’s regular session on Monday, November 23.
The declaration aims “to pay tribute and respect to the Filipino and American heroes in the City of Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan who exemplified valor and risked their lives during the World War II for the freedom of Palawan and the Philippines.”
It can be noted that Palawan and the entire Philippines were freed from Japanese forces when the Imperial Japanese Army surrendered on April 22, 1945 – exactly 70 years ago this year.
In his ordinance, Mendoza emphasized Puerto Princesa’s vital role in liberating the Philippines from the Japanese forces during the World War 2.
“Dr. Higinio A. Mendoza Sr., a guerilla leader from Puerto Princesa and hailed as Palawan’s provincial hero organized the 190 first guerilla force also known as the Palawan Special Batallion to fight against the Japanese Imperial Army,” he noted.
Mendoza Sr. happened to be the city councilor’s grandfather.
The city councilor also highlighted the former Japanese garrison Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa which was the site for the infamous Palawan Massacre, where about 150 American prisoners of war were burnt alive inside the tunnel they themselves dug.
He also noted that the former Palawan airport, where the Puerto Princesa International Airport is located now, served as staging point of Japanese airplanes that linked the Pacific to Mainland Southeast Asia.
The ordinance is referred on Committee on Ordinances and Legal Matters. Once approved, it will direct the City Tourism Office to spearhead an activity in line with the Palawan Liberation Day.
On April 22 this year, Palawan commemorated the 70th Philippines Liberation Anniversary at the Plaza Cuartel.
This first-ever activity conducted in the province was made possible through the provincial and city government in cooperation with the Palawan Liberation Task Force and the USAID-COMPETE.
Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez vowed to make the commemoration of the liberation an annual event to honor the sacrifices of now local hero Dr. Higinio A. Mendoza, Sr., and the war veterans, who fought for freedom in World War 2.