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Any simple deed could make one a hero

A great nation is made up of various individuals, and from within these ranks are people born to become leaders, artisans, thinkers, inventors, healers, soldiers and workers. And from this myriad of personalities, there are a few individuals who will rise to do great fetes that the nation will adore, idolize, and truly appreciate. In the most pivotal moments in a nations history, heroes who drew blood and gave up their lives become the icons of a country. Heroes who sacrificed and even died in the name of freedom, sovereignty, independence and democracy are all elevated into the halls of courage. But in these days of peace, anyone who makes this nation proud as a Filipino also becomes our symbols of heroism. We find a hero in a once underdog pugilist who now holds multiple world boxing titles. We also find the qualities of a hero in a young singer with a thunderous voice. We find another hero in someone who returned a small amount of money to its owner, never tempted to keep it for himself despite his own needs. One does not entirely need to sacrifice his life to be called a hero. A teacher who diligently educates our youth is a hero. A doctor who treks to mountains to heal a community that has never seen a doctor is a hero. A laborer who toils in the middle of the desert overseas trying to earn a living to feed his family and send his children to school is a hero. A soldier who stands guard at a lonely dangerous outpost in the middle of the sea, tasked to ensure peace and security, is another hero. Honoring and remembering the heroism of our veterans who fought in the last war is a simple example of how we could all become heroes. Simple as it may seem but the memory of their acts of courage and gallantry ensures that their legacy, the meaning of the freedoms we all enjoy today, will not be forgotten. It is sad to see how little we regard our elderly soldiers who thought nothing about themselves when the enemys bayonets were at their throats the only thing that drove them is to fight, to rid this country of its invading forces. Very few would remember nowadays that 70 years ago, this nation trembled at the cold winds of war across world. It was a time of uncertainty and little was there to mount an effective defense. Very young men who were barely into their teens enlisted and signed up to take up arms and defend our shores, our skies, our seas from the encroachment of invading forces. These very young men were called reservists, young men who had no fear in the face of a battle savaged enemy. To become a hero, again, one does not need to die. A true hero in its various forms is first and above all a patriot even before he can call himself a hero. One must love this country with ones whole heart and soul, proud of this nations strengths, weaknesses and imperfections. A true hero is someone who is mighty proud to be called a Filipino. One need not take up arms to become a patriot. Courage to face the barrel of a gun is not entirely the sole and ultimate measurement of a true patriot that we call a hero. To take up arms, short of engaging in jingoism, is not another measure of a true patriot. In the face of a challenge of a mighty power, all 100 million Filipinos can unite to stand up and be heard, a simple expression of unity to signify our patriotism are more than enough to become heroes.


Learning from the Veterans

As early as December of 2011, it has

been decided to dedicate the second of the expanded six editions of this years Philippine Defense Newsletter to the outstanding deeds of our veterans and the centennial of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program of this country. In the 100 years since we established a training program for reservists in our Armed Forces, countless number of young men and women had themselves enlisted or applied at the Philippine Military Academy, later emerging to distinguish themselves during the call of duty here and even peace keeping operations in any part of the world. Seventy years ago, this country faced the hard realities of a brutal war. Prior to the outbreak of the last world war on December 7, 1941, there was a massive mobilization from the ranks of youths back then. Some as young as 16 years old were trained to defend these islands with barely their own hands and bodies as shields and weapons. Despite orders to surrender to invading forces, a number held on in the hills of Bataan until April 9, 1942 and on May 6, 1942 for the remaining forces holed up in Corregidor island. Knowing from the very start that the enemys might was overwhelming, hundreds of thousands continued to fight knowing the consequence was death. Very few of the 76,000 men forced to march to their deaths from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac remain. Of those who miraculously lived through three years of incarceration up to this time are slowly moving on. In time, only memories will be left for future generations and the living witnesses of those

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Photo by Glenn Fawcett, U.S. Department of Defence


economic and defense relations of the Philippines and the United States remain robust, relevant and reactive to mutual interests that fosters further the long shared historical partnership over a common regional and global development. Following the Manila Declaration signed by both the U.S. and the Philippines on November 16, 2011 during the 60th Anniversary of the Mutual Defense Trea-

ways of fine-tuning our relations as we adapt to changing circumstances both in our region and the world at large. During the April 30 meeting, both countries stressed common interest to maintain the freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce and the transit of people across seas and subscribe to a rules-based approach through peaceful diplomatic, multilateral and collaborative

ian assistance and disaster response. The two countries will explore modalities to strengthen the defense capabilities of the Philippines in order to establish a minimum credible defense posture through robust cooperative security assistance programs. Specific items related to expanding and further improving defense interests include the turn-over of the second Weather High Endurance Cutter

After watching our alliance endure through the years, we deem it crucial to prepare for the security changes of today and tomorrow. Sec. Gazmin
ty of 1951, senior ministers reaffirmed mutual commitments to the general peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region and various economic related programs. Both sides also pledged to continue strengthening and increasing multi lateral cooperation within forums such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting +Plus (ADMM+), East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario described the 2+2 meeting as, opening an avenue for us to consider

processes within the framework of international law particularly UNCLOS. The two countries also stressed the strengthening of bilateral and regional cooperation on humanitarian & disaster relief preparedness activities that will enhance combined capabilities in disaster response. Secretary Gazmin cited the increasing and worsening impact of natural disasters, welcoming the 2+2 meeting as a step forward to working together and consult one another on how to improve the capability to uphold maritime security and institutionalize efficient humanitar-

(WHEC) to the Philippines this year, which shall be christened as the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, in honor of World War II hero and former Commodore of the Philippine Navy. Support will be given to the National Coast Watch System by working to expand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) activities. There will be a continuous process to fine tune joint training and exercises such as Balikatan, cooperation on sharinginformation in a timely purpose, joint anti-terrorism efforts including non-combat support to the Philippines initiative.

In the succeeding pages, our footnotes feature select quotes from H.E. President Benigno Simeon Aquino, IIIs speech during the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (The Day of Valour) as delivered at the Shrine of Valor, Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan on April 9, 2012.

On this day, we celebrate the collective courage of our peoplethe courage of our veterans, who took arms against our enemies to protect their birthplace; and the courage of those civilians who stood for compassion, even in the face of guns and bayonets. In times of war, each individual encounters challenges that measure their honor. Will I bow to the enemy, or face them with my head held high? Will I share this glass of water with a thirsty countryman despite the threat of being punished for it?

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From the Editor . . .

heroic years will only become names etched in the walls of our war memorials. Before the opportunity is lost, we need to listen carefully to whatever memories, acts of heroism our veterans still have. In their minds are wisdom that our generation need to learn to ensure that the mistakes of the past will never happen again. It is in their hearts that we too could learn to find the courage to do what is right, to continue building a just, fair, sovereign, democratic and free Filipino society.

Our Cover

In this edition, we gathered several interesting stories that are somehow all connected together. We want to share these inspiring stories of people who are in the armed services, or are in one way linked to the defense of this nation. Our cover is the recently completed Senior Ministers Meeting between the Philippines and United States where our very own Defense Sec. Voltaire T. Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert F. del Rosario met with their counterparts, Sec. Leon E. Panetta and Sec. Hillary R. Clinton, respectively.

The Challenges We Face

As of press time, everybody is already aware of a situation our nation faces in the West Philippine Sea. The incident at Bajo de Masinloc is a difficult reminder to every Filipino that in these times of declining resources, anything and everything is fair game, ripe for the picking at the price of hostilities. There are several key geographical land and sea features that are all well within our nations territory and Exclusive Economic Zone that are under dispute. These territories that are being contested by neighboring nations will require our diligence and ability to secure and protect them as we seek a peaceful resolution that will be of multilateral benefit for our nation and for the other claimant countries. Sadly, the situation in Bajo de Masinloc is one painful reminder that if diplomacy fails to resolve this dispute, there could be inevitable consequences that will result into a dangerous event. Reality wise, our Armed Forces have been left out in the process to attain a minimum credible defense capability to protect what is rightfully, historically, and geographically ours. It is not too late for our people to realize that the years of neglect should be set aside and finally allow our men and women in the Armed Forces do their jobs ably and realistically with the necessary tools of their trade. We can never be respected as a nation if we do not even have the basic means to defend ourselves. The situation we face is not about an arms race, it is to give our Armed Forces the ability to do their jobs and be treated as a force to reckon with. It does not entail an eye-for-an-eye and a tooth-for-a tooth capability but instead a realistic capability to demonstrate our resolve to protect and defend what is rightfully ours. War or a violent confrontation is never an acceptable option. There could be no reasonable justification for war. As we leave these difficult issues on the credible and able expertise of our diplomats, we should not leave things be and become complacent to the realities we face in the defense and security of this nation. Time has come for each and everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, creed or ideology to come together and demonstrate what it takes to become a true and patriotic Filipino.

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For our veterans, the choice was simple: This is the country I owe my life to; and the flag that symbolizes our dignity remains steadfast against the wind. I must fight for it. As they put their bodies on the line to confront the enemies, they kept all doubt in the backs of their minds. They did not ask: What is all this for, or Will my sacrifice be of any value? They trusted their leaders to make the right decisions; in times of war, orders are orders, and they must be followed.

Bataan has fallen! The Philippine-American

His Excellency President Benigno S. AquiHis Excellency President

no, III led the commemorative ceremonies for Benigno S. Aquino, III led the 70th commemorative Day of Valour Anniversary of the ceremonies the (Arawthe Kagitingan) at the Mount Samat for ng 70th Anniversary of the National Shrine. Day of Valour (Araw ng Representatives the Mount Kagitingan) at from the United States and Japan stood alongside President Aquino Samat National Shrine. to pay tribute to thousands of soldiers the Representatives from who perished States and Japan Nearly United during the siege at Bataan. stood 76,000 combined Filipino-American forces alongside President held on to pay tribute with barely Aquinofor more than 3 months to thouany hope, ammunition and food rations to sands of sustain their defensive position. soldiers who perished during Defense Secretary Bataan. Nearly the siege at Voltaire T. Gazmin, AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie D. Dellosa, the 76,000 combined Filipino three major armed services commanders & American forces held on for PNP Chief Nicanor Bartolome were also on more than 3 months with barely hand to assist the President during the honor any hope, ammunition and food ceremonies. rations to sustain their deDefense position. fensive Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs Eduardo G. Batac and Defense Secretary Voltaire Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Staff T. Gazmin, AFP Chief ofAdministrator, retired Lt. Gen. D. General Jessie Ernesto G. Carolina led the preparations for the week long ceremonies Dellosa and the three major of the Philippine Veterans Week under the armed services commanders were auspiceson the Military Shrines and Service, also of hand to assist the

under the direction of Teresita S. Cuevas. Hundreds of surviving veterans, their children and descendants of the Battle for Bataan, the Death March and prisoners at Capas, Tarlac trooped to Mt. Samat for the annual commemorative ceremonies. Hundreds braved the intense heat, the short walk to the reception area to remember their fallen brothers. Pres. Aquino said during his speech, These are the heroes who have etched their stakes in history with blood. But for every hero that we pay tribute to and remember today, there are many thousand others who have sacrificed so much, with their names lost in the annals of history. The President also reiterated the nations eternal gratitude to the veterans for the gift of independence, Three generations after the war, we are still trying our best to show our gratitude by taking care of our veterans and their families. More than seven decades after, we still remember your sacrifices, because your heroism stands the test of time, and for that, we remain eternally indebted to all of you.

troops on this war-ravaged and bloodstained peninsula have laid down their arms. With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy. The world will long remember the epic struggle that Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastness and along the rugged coast of Bataan. They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more than three months. Besieged on land and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and in America, the intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance could bear. For what sustained them through all these months of incessant battle was a force that was more than merely physical. It was the

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The Fall of Bataan

force of an unconquerable faith something in the heart and soul that physical hardship and adversity could not destroy! It was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in these most priceless of all our human prerogatives. The adversary, in the pride of his power and triumph, will credit our troops with nothing less than the courage and fortitude that his own troops have shown in battle. Our men have fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle. All the world will testify to the most superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last in the face of overwhelming odds. But the decision had to come. Men fighting under the banner of unshakable faith are made of something more than flesh, but they are not made of impervious steel. The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must come. Bataan has fallen, but the spirit that made it stand a beacon to all the liberty-loving peoples of the world cannot fall!

Does one ever notice this group of soldiers who wear the blue

PA-SEB: Honor Guards

and white striped uniforms that are usually seen during solemn honor ceremonies? Well, during this years commemorative activities for the Philippine Veterans Week, from the sunrise event at Libingan ng mga Bayani, to Mt. Samat National Shrine for Araw ng Kagitingan to the Capas, Tarlac sunset ceremony, theres one battalion in the Army that made its presence noticeable with their gala uniform called the rayadillo, and this is the Security and Escort Battalion. The Security and Escort Battalion of the Philippine Army is not just any other battalion. They are mandated under the Armys mission to primarily provide security and other missions that render military honors. They are composed of soldiers who underwent the whole required phase of rigid training but

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Allow me to deliver some good news to you: As of the 31st of March of this year, our veterans will be able to receive their health benefits in a more convenient manner: 599 hospitals in our country have been accredited by the Veterans Memorial Medical Center as regional or provincial extensions. We have also expanded the services that can be subsidized by the VMMC to include cataract operations, coronary angiograms, and cardiac bypasses.

Several days before the famous Death March, Lt. Aristeo T. Feraren destroyed bridges in

Brig. Gen. Aristeo Torcelino Feraren


Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) has the chance to gather pertinent information on the heroic life of Brigadier General Aristeo Torcelino Feraren, AFP (Ret) through secondary sources of data. The PVAO has known BGen. Feraren, being a genuine veteran as indexed in our records. This article on BGen Feraren is focused on his role as a soldier during the Second World War II and its aftermath. It is in itself a historical methodology where first-hand reminiscences of historical events by an eyewitness are recounted. The reputation of BGen. Feraren, the lack of contradiction by other stories/sources, freedom from anarchronism, and the way the interviewees testimonies fits into the otherwise known facts all help determine the credibility of this historical information. His story as recounted is on the right side of this column: BGen. Feraren was born in Ermita, Manila on 30 December 1913. He was the 2nd of six children of Raymundo Feraren and Teodora Torcelino. Aristeo graduated from the Philippine Military Academy on 26 March 1938 where he was No. 1 in the Order of Merit and awarded the Presidential Saber with the rank of First Captain and Regimental Commander, Cadet Corps, Army of the Philippines. He was the first PMA graduate to be assigned to the Corps of Engineers, Philippine Army. The graduating batch of 1938 was the first for the newly named Phil. Military Academy. He married to Elena Scheerer Onrubia and had 7 children 5 boys and 2 girls. As a family man, he taught his children the value of physical culture and spiritual awareness, his guiding force to this very day, and what he claimed was his powerful weapon that armed him during his incarceration.

Bataan, being in the Corps of Engineers. This was done to prevent the Japanese forces from entering principal towns in the area. Shortly after, he was captured and joined the Death March, that led to his incarceration in Capas for a number of months. He credits his physical and emotional strength in enabling him to endure those difficult months in Tarlac. After recovering from his Capas experience, he was employed as a civilian in a transport company in Laguna and Quezon, until his next uneventful encounter with the enemies in late 1944. Sometime in 1944, one of the Philippine Army officer operatives was captured while working underground for the resistance movement. Among the articles the Japanese captors found was a small notebook with names and information of various contacts. Among those names was Lt. Aristeo T. Feraren. Since the Philippine Armys operations were disbanded under the Japanese occupation, this was considered a crime against the ruling occupation. The Japanese operatives went and searched for then, Lt. Feraren. The Japanese intelligence operatives ended up locating and taking into custody Lt. Ferarens brother, Eduardo Feraren. Having heard the news, Lt. Feraren realized his brothers fate. Lt. Feraren turned himself in as an exchange to release his brother who was being held captive in a photo studio in Manila. Lt. Feraren was imprisoned in Fort Santiago for 57 days along with hundreds of other fellow Filipinos and Americans. Their prison cell was packed and had inhumane conditions. The captured had to sit back to back and only had a 50 gallon drum of water to share amongst themselves. The water was used to drink and clean up. They had to endure 57 days of hell. Lt. Feraren summoned every ounce of strength left in him and together with other survivors dug up an opening on the side of the prison where they were held captive. Lt. Feraren was able to escape into the Pasig river and swim to shore and flee his captors. After two (2) solid months of physical maltreatment & mental agony, Col. Feraren became sick and emaciated and incurred several wounds and contusions all over the body; but driven by an indomitable will to survive and be of service to his compatriots, he skillfully engineered escape with six other guerilla prisoners via a drain of a closely guarded wall that surrounded Fort Santiago along Pasig River. Thus, by displaying extraordinary gallantry, stamina, cleverness, determination, and leadership in the face of overwhelming odds, Col. Feraren immensely helped in sustaining the morale of his fellow prisoners and even led six (6) guerrilla members escape to freedom. The succeeding years saw Aristeo flourish in his military career. On major field combat assignments, he had been rated by superiors as Exceptionally Outstanding. After all these years, he believes that his highest achievement was his participation in the mopping-up operations against the Huks (1950-1957), where he was the first Battalion Commander of the 24th BCT. The operation contributed immensely to the early restoration of peace and order in the troubled areas of Southern Luzon. The experience made him learn actual combat and the rudiments of what eventually came to be known as unconventional warfare. Aristeo had a most colorful military career, a vast experience in leadership and management doctrine covering battlefield and combat operations during World II and in the campaign against the Huks and other dissidents, military research and development towards Self-Reliance Defense Posture Program of the AFP, assignments with service schools and educational centers, and a tour of duty with the Philippine Embassy in London as Military Attach with accreditation to the Philippine legions in the Scandinavian countries (1959-1962).

And because of the Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System that we are implementing, our veterans will be able to receive their pension in a faster and more efficient manner. The list of our countrymen who receive pensions has also been purged of false claimants, so that these funds arrive only where they are meant to go.

On May 6, 2012, H.E.

Benigno S. Aquino, III announced during the commemorative ceremonies of the surrender of Corregidor during World War II that the second Weather High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) to join the Philippine Fleet will be named after Navy hero, the late Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz. Alacaraz or Monching to friends was born on August 31, 1915 in Plaridel, Bulacan, He entered the cadetship at the Philippine Military Academy on June 15, 1936 and received his commission as a 3rd Lieutenant on March 15, 1940. Ka Monching was one of the 79 new officers from the PMA. A year and half after the PMA, he would be integrated into the US Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) and assigned to the newly created Off Shore Patrol (OSP) of the Philippine Army. Then Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon contracted the acquisition 36 units of fast motor torpedo boats of British design as part of the off shore defense of the Philippines amidst the growing fears over an expansionist imperial Japan. The OSP was formally organized on February 9, 1939 with headquarters at the Muelle del Codo at the Port Area in Manila under the command of 1st Lieutenant Jose V. Andrada. The OSP, the forerunner of the Philip-

pine Navy was assigned with three units of US Navy motor torpedo boats or Q-Boats (Quezon-boats); Q-111 Luzon, Q-113 Agusan and Q-112 Abra which was captained by Alcaraz. Upon the outbreak of the war, as commander of the Q-112 Abra, then boat Captain Alcaraz shot down three Japanese
From the Diary of Commodre Alcaraz

As I looked back, Christmas 1941 did not exist for us USAFFE members who were on the run then. The alert orders for the Q-Boats to proceed to Lingayen was changed December 24, 1941 to escort SS Mayon in evacuating the seat of government led by Pres. Manuel L. Quezon & High Commissioner F. Sayre from Manila to Corregidor. Gen. MacArthur declared Manila an Open City with USAFFE Hq & USN 16th Naval District also transferring to Corregidor. The Japanese forces had landed in Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay three days ago and War Plan Orange was ordered; that all troops retreat to Bataan. The US Asiatic Fleet abandoned us leaving our naval defense to nine Motor Torpedo Boats (3 P hil Q-Boats and 6 US PT Boats). Our Q-Boats were occupied with the transfer of seat of govt. for a week. Christmas 1941 went unnoticed.

dive bombers zigzagging at the straight between Bataan and Corregidor island. Alcaraz and the Abra crews initiative stopped the Japanese from completing their objectives. Gen. Douglas McArthur promoted on the spot Alcaraz on January 1942 at Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action. Alcaraz would later get captured by the Japanese and imprisoned at the Malolos, Bulacan Prisoner of War camp. Ka Monching was released by the Japanese on August 10, 1942 after undergoing months of intensive rejuvenation program. He was paroled and instructed to be re-trained at the Torres High School in Gagalangin, Tondo to join the Bureau of Constabulary. Graduating in September 1942 as a commissioned police officer, Alcaraz was told that his first assignment was Lanao del Norte. He faked a malaria illness resulting to his confinement at San Lazaro. Ka Monching missed the boat to Mindanao and was later re-assigned to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. In the mountains of the Sierra Madre, he would clandestinely meet with guerilla leaders under the command of Lt. Col. Manuel Enriquez. Though a middle ranking officer of the police reporting directly

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The blood that was once spilt on our lands has long dried; the wind has long driven away the odor of gunpowder; and the passage of time has soothed the hurt of these memories. But we ask ourselves again: for what was this war for? Have all the sacrifices been worthwhile?

It was a very warm Saturday morning

104th TASG: To Serve From Within the Reserves

When asked as to why a busy lawyer and ROTC commandant to three (3) universities still find time to become active in the AFP Reserves? He says, When you become successful in life especially if you came from a poor family, you will want to pay back your country for your success. For me, this is pay back time. My father was once a soldier and also a former Manila police detective, so its time to give something back. On that Saturday morning, the 104th TASG was expecting only some 20 or so number of reservists to participate in the medical mission planned to assist the residents in Brgy. Culiat but the response was overwhelming even after much of the reservists realized the mission area was well within the Muslim community. Fifty reservists reported for duty and actively took part in civic activities. Magdamit described the composition of his unit as multi-disciplinary, We have valid and qualified personnel, doctors and nurses and amply supported by personnel with various technical expertise. When asked on what makes his men and women walk the extra mile, he says, When we look at the faces of the people we assist, finding satisfaction or relief after being attended to by our doctors, it is more than enough for us after a long day of working. As part of the reserve force of the Armed Forces, the 104th TASG and the various other reserve battalions are on ready stand-by to respond to assist in times of community service and calamity situations. The 104th is primarily a medical response unit but if there is a need, they are ready to become a search and rescue unit. For most of the members of the 104th TASG, their hectic weekend as reservists provide a personal satisfaction in seeing a job well done in providing relief to less fortunate Filipinos. In their stint in the reserves, they found a real purpose to serve and make a signifi-

of April when the 104th Technical Assistance Services Group under the command of Lt. Col. Amador A. Magdamit, Jr. JAGS (GSC) (R-PAF) undertook its regular medical mission, this time at Alahn Wasahl, Salam Mosque Compound in Barangay Culiat in Quezon City. Going to depressed communities and providing assistance to residents is part of the on-going mission of the AFP Reserve Command (AFPRESCOM). A call for community work has become a standard operating procedure for most of the members of the 104th TASG, something that most respond to with no hesitation. There are 200 civilians who compose the 104th TASG, professionals and subprofessionals who work on weekdays as lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, businessmen etc. and they reserve their weekends to don their reserve uniforms and render service to fellow Filipinos. Lt. Col. Magdamit, who is a full-time trial lawyer and law professor is mighty proud of his men and women who do not hesitate to actively participate each time a mobilization is called. Magdamit first joined the Air Force Reserves back in 2000 and has risen through the ranks.

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Seventy years have passed, yet to this day, we continue to seek answers to these questions. But I can guarantee you this: we owe it to our veterans to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain. Because we are free today, we owe it to them to attain the dream of progress; to ensure that no Filipino is left behind; and to achieve true justice.

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Ramon Alcaraz . . .

to high ranking officials of the Japanese kempetai, Alcaraz was clandestinely forming his network of informants against the occupying forces. All throughout the occupation period, Ka Monching gave the Japanese forces a false sense of security, gathering information and informing USAFFE Headquarters in exile up to the right time to fight came to light in the liberation of the Philippines in 1944. Alcaraz would continue to serve the defense establishment even after the war and upon instructions of then DND Secretary Ramon F. Magsaysay, Cdre. Alcaraz was instructed to study the organization of the United States Marine Corps. He would later use this learning experience to designate Philippine Navy personnel to form the First Marine Company under the command of his QBoat Executive Officer, Lt. Cdr. Manuel

Gomez. The company would be based at the Marine Station at Port Area, Manila and eventually grow, becoming the present day Philippine Marine Corps. The Commodore last served as head of the Naval Operating Forces until his retirement on January 22, 1966. Alcaraz received multiple decorations in the

Commodore Ramon Alcaraz with then Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay.

course of his service in the Armed Forces. Among the awards and decorations include a Gold Cross, the U.S. Silver Star, Philippine and American Defense Medals, World War II Victory medal, Philippine Independence medal and others. He left for the U.S. when Martial Law was declared to continue with the fight for the rights and benefits of Filipino veteran soldiers who fought alongside U.S. forces in World War II. Ka Monchings last battle was the passage of the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill, which finally became law as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009. The act appropriated a total of US$198 million authorizing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to release a one-time, lump-sum payment to eligible World War II (WWII) Philippine veterans On June 25, 2009, Ka Monching quietly passed away at the age of 94 at his home in Orange County in California. - DeanMB

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within the Reserves . . .

cant improvement in their own lives and for others. MSgt. Dexter L. Tiu, PA (R) is a businessman on weekdays and a dedicated reservist on weekends. My main task is to keep the NCOs and officers well informed of our activities and make sure to aid the officers queries in some military matters that I'm familiar with. By the humble authority blessed upon me, I believe the group is doing quite well, active and alive. Lt. Col. Magdamit took note that among the most active and dependable in the reserves nowadays are the women. A large number have joined the ranks and are trail blazing in their areas of specialization. Though the ROTC is no longer mandatory, Magdamit said that the reserves may have less in the number of warm bodies but they have more qualified and talented officers who are reliable when the call to serve is made. It is more of quality rather than of quantity. A still very young Sgt. Mary Joyce Pagadora works as a human resource assistant on weekdays for a private company and is an information officer during times spent as a reservist. My passion during high school was to serve in the military but I did not qualify to be admitted into the academy (PMA) and so, I opted to join the reserves instead where I always learn new things. When asked if she encountered doubts on her sexuality by doing what was traditionally a mans job, she said, I just ignore it.

Though I maybe boyish in the way I act, I know what I am and I know what I want. To be in the reserves is something I enjoy, something that fulfills me. At the end of the half day medical mission, more than a hundred women and children were given a proper medical consultation, given basic medicines to ease what ails them. A sense of satisfaction was left by the reservists who were able to help the residents, especially the small children, who needed urgent medical attention. When asked what to say to college students enrolling for the first time for their National Service Training Program (NSTP), Lt. Col. Magdamit says, Very few college students want to join the ROTC simply because the parents do not approve. But when you ask the student, they want to join because while at the ROTC, they feel they are directly serving the country. On matters concerning the abuses in the ROTC of the past, Magdamit said, I chose my instructors well as ROTC Commandant. We make sure there are no hazing or any types of physical contact with the students. Ive dismissed some of our personnel who did not comply with the rigors of military discipline. Becoming a member of the AFP Reserves goes beyond the usual concept of the stereo typed marching under the sun, or sweating during drills. Beneath the supposed harshness in undergoing the standard training lies the formation of discipline needed to synch a large number of men and women to follow a command. In the case of the 104th TASG, the discipline has become embedded that receiving the command is no longer an obligation, but instead, a usual thing to do.

The country we once considered an enemy is now a trusted friend. And the alliance we formed with the Americans who were our comrades in war has only deepened. Today, we live peacefully, and history has taught us valuable lessons: that war and violence yield no fruit, that progress cannot be achieved if we do not positively engage our neighbors; and that mutual cooperation is in the interest of all.

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PA-SEB: Honor Guards . . .

they have one special task to serve as our bridge and symbol to the continuation of the rich Philippine military tradition. First organized on May 1, 1970, the PA-SEB traces its roots from the Army Training Battalion (Provisional) or ATB. A year later, the ATB (Provisional) was renamed as the Army Training Unit (Provisional) or ATU. By the 1st of December in 1971, the ATU was deactivated. Its personnel, together with the personnel of another rifle company, were fused into one unit known as the Security Escort and Training Unit (SETU). SETU later became the Security and Escort Battalion under the Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group (HHSG), PA on 19 October 1972. Subsequently after a few years, the unit was upgraded to Security Escort Unit (Provisional) effective on 16 February 1980. On 16 December 1986, Security and Escort Unit was segregated from HHSG and renamed 62nd Infantry Battalion (Provisional) under the direct control of G3, PA. The Philippine Army needed a unit well-versed in military drills and ceremonies, thus, on 24 April 1987; the Honor Guard Company was created and placed under HHSG, PA to replace SEU. After a year, on 16 April 1988, the Honor Guard Company was renamed Honor Guard Battalion. Then on 10 May 1990, the Honor Guard Battalion was separated from HHSG, PA and was organized as a major service support unit of the Philippine Army. Subsequently on 27 June 1990, the Honor Guard Battalion was named Security and Escort Group, later renamed as the 291st Security and Escort Group on 19 June 1998. On 12 September 2000, it was renamed Security and Escort Battalion and was placed organic to HHSG up to this date. The PA-SEB has the following specific missions: (1) conduct security and other operations and render military honors in support to Philippine Army mission, (2) provide military honors; (3) secure the Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) at all times and other important personages as directed; (3) conduct limited military operations and other special tasks; (4) conduct Crowd Dispersal Management (CDM) operations when necessary; (5) participate in disaster response operations; (6) conduct combat operations in conjunction with heavy forces; (7) provide base of fire and maneuver elements; and provide artillery fire support to other maneuver units.

n just a span of two weeks, the Philippine soldiers gained tremendous amount of knowledge and further improved their approaches this years Philippines-United States Balikatan Exercises Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR)-focused Command Post Exercise (CPX) by undertaking Disaster Response and Rescue Operations (DRRO). Midway through the table top exercises, PH and US Balikatan participants conducted the simulation of a post-earthquake response at the Command General Staff College, at Camp Aguinaldo. Resource persons and subject-matter experts from ASEAN partners from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea participated in the CPX to test the coordination and communications interoperability during different simulated disaster scenarios. Their participation was very significant in further gaining knowledge and other perspective on disaster response. Captain Yuzo Shibata of Japan Self Defense Force shared the general immediate response of their military during natural disasters. In my country, when disaster strikes, the local governors in their respective prefectures issue the JSDF aid request to local military unit. Upon receiving the request, the unit will either conduct Disaster Response Operationsor pass the word to other units, other branches, depending on the scale of the disaster. In case the communication tools are all down and the situations are obviously critical, the commanders of the local units are expected to conduct Disaster Response Operations by their own judgment, Shibata said. Foreseeing future challenges, Capt Shibata finally recommended for the review of the Disaster Relief Operations Plan, and Crisis Management Postures by cooperating with relevant organizations. AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie D Dellosa said that the SLS in the Balikatan 2012 strengthened and enhanced internal Philippine HADR processes through collaborative dialogue. The different approaches employed by other countries in HADR surely helped us widen our perspective and improve our policies, procedures, preparations, and responses in the emergence of natural calamities and man-made disasters in the Philippines, Gen Dellosa said.

The next issue will come out

July 2012.

(These are the things) we remember today, but this is not what we are celebrating. We are celebrating the conviction of the Filipinos who faced the enemy with courage, honor, and love for country as their strongest weapons. We are celebrating the strength that sprung from their heartsthe strength innate to each and every Filipino, and the strength that can guide us every day as we tread the straight and righteous path. We are celebrating the Araw ng Kagitingan. Long live our veterans. Long live a free Philippines. Long live the Filipino people.