History and Culture
Memorial March Relives Valor of World War 2 Defenders
Bernard Supetran | Apr 27, 2016
On April 9, 1942, more than 60,000 Filipino and American troops walked the infamous Death March, after the USAFFE surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army during World War 2.
Only 54,000 reached Camp O’Donell in Capas, Tarlac, as some 10,000 died along the road in the 88-kilometer march ordeal. Thousands more died in the prison camp over the years due to famine, diseases and poor sanitation.
To relive their uncommon valor, Automobile Association Philippines, the country’s national auto club led the recent Capas Freedom March 2016, to retrace the last miles of the fateful event in a historic march for a cause.
Now on its second year, the event is also organized by the Department of National Defense - Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the Department of Tourism-Region 3, the Province of Tarlac, Municipality of Capas, and AAP Travel.
Themed “March For A Veteran,” the event is part of the National Veterans’ Week. Proceeds will go to the construction of the Capas Concentration Camp Replica and scholarship grants to children of soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Former president Fidel Ramos led the 10-kilometer march from the People’s Park to the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac.
Supported by the Tourism Promotion Board, Globe, North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, San Miguel Corporation and Jollibee Foods Corporation, Freedom March is the biggest annual gathering to commemorate the historic event to promote freedom, world peace and international goodwill.
It is also supported by the Philippine Retirement Authority, Metro Manila Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education-Region 3, Department of Transportation and Communications, MetroRail Transit Line 3, Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce and Philippine Veterans Bank, Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (TADECO) and Philippine Airlines.
AAP president Augusto Lagman said that local and foreign war veterans, family members and friends of veterans, socio-civic groups, government employees, military personnel, and volunteers marched together to remember the sacrifice of the heroes.
The event is part of the auto club’s thrust in promoting domestic tourism through motoring through its travel arm, AAP Travel headed by former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor.
He said that the march promotes tourism by visiting historic places and events to help Filipinos learn from the lessons of the past.
For the past few years, AAP has been promoting drive tourism in the Philippines through organized caravans and road trips to tourist destinations.