BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that the declaration of every September 3 as a public holiday should be nationwide because it is in celebration of the formal surrender of the Japanese forces to the allied forces composed of gallant American and Filipino soldiers.
Domogan, who gave an inspirational message during the commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan program held at the Veteran’s Park along Harrison road here Monday, said that while World War II formally ended in the city because it is where Gen. Tomoyoki Yamashita of the Japanese Imperial Army signed his formal surrender documents, the declaration of every September 3 as a regular public holiday should not only be in the city but it should be nationwide because it is in celebration of the victory of the allied American and Filipino forces over the tyranic Japanese forces.
Earlier, Rep. Mark Go announced that his proposed bill declaring every September 3 as a regular holiday in Baguio City was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives and it is now pending in the Senate for the passage of its counterpart bill.
“We should not limit the scope of the proposed holiday to Baguio City alone because it should be the entire Filipino nation that will celebrate our victory over the Japanese forces, thus, the need for lawmakers to look into the merits of revising the measure so that the declaration of the holiday will be in the entire nation,” Domogan stressed.
Domogan also authored a similar bill seeking the declaration of every September 3 as a holiday in the entire nation in celebration of the victory of the combined American and Filipino forces against the Japanese forces during World War II and calling it the National Victory Day.
It can be recalled that Gen. Yamashita was captured by the allied forces in Kiangan, Ifugao on September 2, 1945 and was subsequently brought to Baguio City, particularly in the Ambassador’s Residence inside Camp John hay, where he formally signed his surrender documents before Lt. Gen. Jonathan Weinright of the United States Armed Forces and Jt. Gen. Arthur Percival of the British Armed Forces.
Domogan narrated that after Yamashita’s capture, the allied forces had to wait for the two ranking military officials to arrive in the city to personally administer his formal surrender that officially ended the war.
According to him. Gen. Weinright was also allegedly tortured by the tyranic Japanese forces that is why it took time for him to arrive in Baguio City to administer Yamashita’s formal surrender together with some 80,000 members of the Japanese Imperial Army who were in the different parts of the country.
He expressed optimism that the appropriate changes will be introduced by the senators to the pending bill in the Senate so that the declaration of every September 3 as a public holiday will cover the whole nation because of the fact that it is the Filipino nation that will be celebrating the victory of the allied American and Filipino forces over their Japanese forces.
The counterpart bill in the Senate will be deliberated when Congress resumes session after their Holy Week break and local officials are confident that the proposed law could be passed before the end of the 17th Congress.
By Dexter A. See