BRAZIL 13 APRIL 2021 – The Philippine Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil organized a commemorative program and online lecture/webinar for its Cultural Diplomacy activity entitled "Commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan - Revisiting the Fall of Bataan" on 11 April 2021. The lecturer for the webinar was Dr. Arnel E. Joven, the chairperson of the History Department for the University of Asia & the Pacific.
The commemoration program and online lecture/webinar started with the participants singing the Philippine National Anthem led by the emcee Mr. Martin Vicencio, Post’s Cultural Officer. Charge d’affaires, ad interim, Leilani S. Feliciano gave the keynote speech to those present in the zoom webinar as well as those watching from Post’s Facebook page.
CDA Feliciano stated the significance of commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan. She exhorted the audience to learn from the lessons of history and to remember and be inspired by the bravery, heroism and sacrifice of Filipino soldiers in the Fall of Bataan, Corregidor and all Philippine battles for independence, national sovereignty and freedom in the annals of Philippine history. She stated the timeliness of this commemoration with the present circumstances within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current West Philippine Sea issues.
Dr. Joven’s lecture provided an historical perspective, information and insights on the Fall of Bataan and the factors that led to the loss of the Filipino and American soldiers to the Japanese forces during World War 2. He provided the historical context and explained the political and strategic factors, including the military strategy that was employed by the USAFFE and the Filipinos, and the factors that had contributed and led to the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor. He lamented the unpreparedness (including lack of training and equipment) of the Filipino soldiers and the numerous medical issues faced by the defenders of Bataan (malnutrition, diseases such as Malaria, Dysentery, Beri-Beri etc.) that made them extremely vulnerable to loss and caused the deaths of thousands (estimated 60,000-80,000) of Filipino soldiers during the Death March. These Filipino heroes faced harrowing suffering during the Death March Despite the tragic loss of Filipinos during this war, Dr. Joven commended the extraordinary courage and patriotic fervor of the Filipino soldiers which were documented by Filipino and American historians.
The cultural event had a brief Question and Answer portion after the main lecture and then the undersigned gave her closing remarks to conclude the commemoration program and webinar.
The webinar was attended by the Filipino Community in Post’s jurisdiction as well as some attendees from the DFA Home Office and other FSPs such as those in Kuwait, Buenos Aires, Mexico, and Bangladesh. END