The provincial government led Tuesday the commemoration of the 74th year of the liberation of Palawan from the Japanese colonizers with a ceremony to honor 17 World War II veterans.
The event which was dubbed as “A Salute to Valor: Palawan Liberation” was attended by relatives and families who also received the awards for the war veterans.
Honored were Pelusio Buñag, Rafael Palao Sr., Vernon Ortega, Jose A. Namuco, Antonio Favilloran, Valentin P. Parangue, Felix C. Llado, Mamerto B. Derecho, Sancho M. Tabi, Felomino Y. Velasco, Epifanio Zabanal, Perfecto Blas, Pablo Remo, Teodoro Anapada, Placido M. Abadines, Faustino D. Solita, and Alberto Fuentes.
Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu of the Department of National Defense (DND), who was the special guest, said the 17 WW2 veterans are being honored for their contribution in helping emancipate Palawan and the country from the hands of the Japanese soldiers.
“Mula po sa Kagawaran ng Tanggulang Pambansa isang taos-pusong pasasalamat at pagbati sa ating mga bayaning Palaweño. Tunay po na hindi matatawaran ang giting, tapang, at pagmamahal sa bayan na inyong ipinakita noong panahon ng digmaan,” Mapagu said.
Prior to the event on April 23, the special body Palawan Liberation Task Force (PLTF) went to Coron to deliver on March 27 the posthumous award to Pvt. Delfin G. Dalonos.
It was handed to Dalonos family by incumbent Palawan vice governor Dennis Socrates, PLTF co-executive director Debbie Tan, Coron mayor Ajerico Barracoso, and others from the provincial government and the PLTF.
“Noong kapanahunan niya siya po ay nakipaglaban para sa kalayaan at para sa kasarinlan na tinatamasa natin ngayon. Sila po ang mga hero, sila po ang nagbigay ng katapangan para ipaglaban ang ating bansa,” Barracoso said.
Dalonos is the third WW2 veteran in recent times to be given the posthumous award by the PLTF. The others were Capt. Vicente Belem from Culion and 2nd Lt. Jesus Barracoso from Busuanga.
Other WW2 veterans will be honored in Cuyo next week, namely Francisco Peria Sr. and Alberto Sandoval.
Tan, on the other hand, said recognizing Dalonos is part of the PLTF’s goal to continuously give recognition to Filipino war veterans who sacrificed their lives to help liberate the Philippines from its past colonizers.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ito na gagawin namin,” she said.
Socrates, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to Dalonos for his patriotism and “devoting his life on the line” to fight for Palawan liberation.
“Karangalan namin na makasama kayo sa pagbibigay parangal sa ating bayani na si Pvt. Delfin Dalonos. We are honoring a fellow Palaweño whose patriotism and heroism for devoting his life on the line to resist a tyrannical invader,” Socrates said.
Niña Dalonos Chua, the grand daughter of Dalonos, said they appreciate the posthumous award given to their “Tatay Delfin.”
She said she remembers her grandfather as a very “strict and disciplined man” who narrated to them his pursuits and experiences during the war.
“Matapos ‘yong kuwento tungkol sa giyera, hindi doon natapos ‘yong serbisyo niya sa kapwa. Kahit matanda na po siya, hangga’t kaya niyang maglakad, iniikot niya sa mga bahay nila ang mga kapwa niya beterano. Siya ang nag-aasikaso ng mga documents nila sa veterans para mag-qualify po sa pension,” she said.
Chua said what their grandfather left them was the value of “self-discipline, honesty, and determination.”
Part of the PLTF’s journey to the Calamianes islands group is also the unveiling of the five of the 11 Japanese shipwrecks sunk in Coron during WW2 as “historical sites.”
In Sangat Island in Coron, these are the East Tangat Gun Boat (Teru Kaze Maru), Olympia Maru, Irako Maru, Kogyo Maru, and Kyokuzan Maru, and in Barangay Concepcion, Busuanga town, the Okikawa Maru and Nanshin Maru.
Since 2015, the PLTF already started to research and unveil WWII historical sites as part of its “Lost Pieces of History.”
The others that were previously unveiled were Plaza Cuartel in 2015; Seaplace 1 and 1 at the Baywalk; Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in 2017, and the Puerto Princesa International Airport in 2018.
The PLTF is composed of the Provincial Government of Palawan, City Government of Puerto Princesa, Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce, Palawan Tourism Council, Palawan Special Battalion WWII Museum, Filipino American Memorial Endowment (FAME) and Rajah Travel Corporation.
It is supported by government agencies such as the Department of National Defense, Department of Tourism, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm.