Palo, Leyte―A dancing fountain show, fireworks display, and brightly lit park welcomed visitors Sunday as the Leyte provincial and regional tourism officials inaugurated and switched on the state-of-the-art lighting system of the MacArthur Shrine here for this year’s 75th Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary commemoration.
“We are ready. With funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Department of Tourism-Yolanda Tourism Infrastructure Rehabilitation Fund, the MacArthur Park today has regained its beauty. A fitting memorial to both the bemedalled and unsung heroes of the 2nd World War,” said Karen Tiopes, regional tourism director.
“Our utmost appreciation also goes to former Palo Mayor Matin Petilla for her ideas and for constantly monitoring the projects to ensure that the MacArthur Shrine and Park would look its best,” added Tiopes.
With collaboration from the Office of Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and the Municipal Government of Palo, the executive committee assured the guests and visitors of the security and “more than the usual” commemorative activities.
About 105 remaining war veterans around the region, along with their families and friends, are expected to join the ceremony.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will serve as guest speaker, representing President Rodrigo Duterte.
To accompany Lorenzana during the wreath-laying ceremony will be National Historic Commission Chairman Rene Escalante, members of the Philippine Army, foreign dignitaries, local officials, and with Palo Mayor Frances Ann Petilla.
Expected to grace the ceremony are John Law, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of the United States of America; His Excellency Steven James Robinson AO, ambassador, Embassy of Australia; Minister Yasushi Yamamoto, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Japan; Retired Justice Manuel Pamaran, president, Veterans Federation of the Philippines; and Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina, administrator, Philippine Veterans Bank.
Norman Fulgencio, chairman of the Philippine Postal Corp., will present the commemorative stamp.
Meanwhile, Petilla said there will be no reenactment of the Leyte Gulf Landings during the event, citing unavailability of some US warships for the ceremony.
The other highlights of the commemoration include:
• Oct. 13-25, Vintage Cars and World War II vehicles show and exhibit, Boy Scout Circle.
• Oct. 17, Sentimental Journey, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, 8 a.m.; Miss Liberation Diamond, Boy Scout Circle, 7:30 p.m.
• Oct. 17-19, National Conference on the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings, Leyte Normal University, 9:00 p.m.
• Oct. 18, Tolosa Signal Commemorative event, Barangay Telegrafo, Tolosa, 8 a.m.
• Oct. 18-27, War of our Fathers: A tribute to Filipino freedom exhibit through the Philippines Veterans Bank, Robinsons Mall-Marasbaras, 4 p.m.
• Oct. 19, Dulag Hill 120 commemorative events, Barangay San Rafael, Dulag.
• Oct. 20, Sunrise ceremony of the Filipino Veterans (with their sons and daughters), MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, 5:00 a.m.; 75th National Commemorative Ceremonies, MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, 8 a.m.
• Subiran Regata, The Oriental Hotel, 10:30 a.m.; Reunion of the Veterans, Department of Education gymnasium, Government Center, 12 noon.
Commemorative Luncheon, Awarding and Recognition of the 10 Oldest Living Filipino veterans in the Region, The Oriental Hotel; Commemorative Military and Civic Parade and Banda Rayhak 2019, RTR Plaza, Tacloban, 2 p.m.; Sunset Ceremony with Veterans and their sons and daughters, MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, 5:30 p.m.
Fireworks display, MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, 5:30 p.m.; Shadow Arts Theater presentation, Boy Scout Circle, 7:00 p.m.; and Zarzuela, Boy Scout Center, 7:30 p.m., Boy Scout Circle.
On Oct. 20, 1944, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then-President Sergio Osmena and Gen. Carlos P. Romulo and the allied forces, came ashore in Leyte to liberate the country from the Japanese Army during the World War II.
MacArthur fulfilled his promise “I shall return” after leaving Corregidor in 1942.
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