‘Today, the Filipinos, the Vietnamese and the rest of the Asean must defend the Nuclear-weapons-free Southeast Asian Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality as well as the free and open Indo-Pacific commons governed by the Rule of Law.’
AS a Philippine policy, it is short, sweet: “September 3 of every year is hereby declared a special working public holiday throughout the country, in commemoration of the surrender of the Japanese military forces led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita at the American High Commissioner’s Residence in Camp John Hay, Baguio City.”
Passed during the Third Regular Session of the 17th Congress, RA No. 11216 created Victory Day in September, book-ending the other WW2-related holiday (April 9, Day of Valor, that salutes the heroic defenders of Bataan-Corregidor). The year-old law is based on the historical fact of the Instrument of Surrender of the Japanese and Japanese-Controlled Armed Forces in the Philippine Islands to the Commanding General United States Army Forces, Western Pacific, signed at Camp John Hay, Baguio, Mountain Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands, at 1210 hours 03 September 1945 by the losers (General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Highest Commander, Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines, and Vice Admiral
Denhici Okochi, Highest Commander, Imperial Japanese Navy in the Philippines). The losers’ capitulation was acknowledged by Edmond H. Leavy, Major General, USA, Deputy Commander, United States Army Forces, Western Pacific.
Yamashita (who lost to the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon) had to vacate his hideout at Mt. Napulawan, hiked to the Allied garrison in Kiangan (Captain Grisham of the 6th US Army commanding), yielded at the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School, and finally flown to Baguio City. This so-called Tiger of Malaya was sent to Rizal’s homeland in order to delay the inevitable triumph of the original United Nations, ending his career as a convicted war criminal.
Yamashita gave up the ghost a day after the formal instrument of surrender of the Japanese Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters had been signed by Hirohito’s minions aboard the United States battleship “Missouri” at Tokyo Bay at 0908H on 02 September 1945. Yamashita’s absence at this solemn occasion meant that he missed hearing Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur’s speech, which concluded with the hope that “a better world shall emerge out from the blood and courage of the past—a world founded on faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish—for freedom, tolerance and justice.”
At this same occasion, Commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet US Admiral Chester W. Nimitz said: “On board all vessels at sea and in port, and at our many island bases in the Pacific, there is rejoicing and thanksgiving. The long and bitter struggle, which Japan started so treacherously on the 7th of December 1941, is at an end…On Guam is a military cemetery in a green valley not far from my headquarters. The ordered rows of white crosses stand as reminders of the heavy cost we have paid for victory. On these crosses are the names of American soldiers, sailors and marines – Culpepper, Tomaino, Sweeney, Bromberg, Depew, Melloy, Ponziani – names that are a cross-section of democracy. They fought together side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation – the obligation to insure that their sacrifice will help to make this a better and safer world in which to live. To achieve this it will be necessary for the United Nations to enforce rigidly the peace terms that will be imposed upon Japan.”
Hirohito’s failure was observed by the representatives of the United States of America, Republic of China, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Commonwealth of Australia, Dominion of Canada, Republic of France, Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Dominion of New Zealand on behalf of the nations at war with Japan.
The original V-J Day in the Philippines was September 2, 1945 and on that historic moment Philippine President Sergio Osmeña told his people and the world: “The surrender of Japan marks the turning point for us and for the peoples of all the United Nations. Our effort has been devoted toward the paramount task of winning the war. Today the task is done. We must now devote ourselves to the task of winning the peace…The rehabilitation of our country demands all our energies. We must prepare for the independence which will soon be ours and, as members of the family of nations, we must work with other peoples in the effort to assure the peace and welfare of humanity. For our people we may hope to achieve a greater and lasting happiness. Today is a day of thanksgiving in the flush of victory. It should also be a day of dedication to the heavy tasks that lie before us.”
Hirohito’s defeat was previously announced September 1, 1945 by US President Harry S. Truman: “We shall not forget Pearl Harbor. The Japanese militarists will not forget the USS Missouri. The evil done by the Japanese war lords can never be repaired or forgotten. But their power to destroy and kill has been taken from them. Their armies and what is left of their Navy are now impotent. To all of us there comes first a sense of gratitude to Almighty God who sustained us and our Allies in the dark days of grave danger, who made us to grow from weakness into the strongest fighting force in history, and who has now seen us overcome the forces of tyranny that sought to destroy His civilization.”
Also on September 2, 1945 in another part of Asia-Pacific, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh proclaimed the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at the Ba Đình flower garden: “The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Đai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland…A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent!”
Today, the Filipinos, the Vietnamese and the rest of the Asean must defend the Nuclear-weapons-free Southeast Asian Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality as well as the free and open Indo-Pacific commons governed by the Rule of Law.
In other news, the leaders of the International Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 045 (Philippines) were safely inducted last August 24 at the UPD Fonacier Hall by UP Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. Jose Wendell Capili. The new officers, forming the Executive Committee that manages the affairs of the Chapter, include: Dr. Adelaida F. Lucero (President), Prof. Fructuoso Sabug, Jr. (Vice-President), Dr. Milagros Laurel (Secretary), Dr. Marian Roque (Treasurer), Prof. Bernard Karganilla (PRO), UPD Chancellor Dr. Fidel Nemenzo (Coordinator of Lectures of Excellence), Prof. Carlito Amalla (Coordinator of the PKP Culture and Arts Affairs), and Mr. Paul Nyray Antolino (Student Vice President).