Starting Sept. 3, and on the same in the next years, the country will mark the surrender of the Japanese general who was tasked to defend the Philippines at the closing days of the Second World War.
Sept. 3 has been declared be Republic Act 11216 as Surrender of Yamashita Day, a working public holiday, to commemorate the surrender of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita and his army in Baguio City weeks after the surrender of Japan to the allied forces.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11216 into law on Feb. 14.
RA 11216 provides that Sept. 3 “shall be known annually as a special working public holiday throughout the country, in commemoration of the surrender of the Japanese military forces led by General Yamashita at the American High Commissioner’s Residence in Camp John Hay, Baguio City. The surrender signaled the end of World War II in the Pacific.”
Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, principal author of the measure at the Lower Chamber, expressed the significance of emphasizing Baguio as the location where World War II in the Philippines started and ended.
Historical documents indicate that the Second World War reached the Philippines when Camp John Hay was bombed by units of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Forces on Dec. 8, 1941, hours after Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked in December by the Japanese Navy.
The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor at 7:53 a.m. on Dec. 7 Hawaii time or at 1:53 am Dec. 8 in the Philippines. Philippine time is 18 hours ahead of Hawaii time.
Go said that the historical event was also especially important to the Cordilleras, as it was in the town of Kiangan, Ifugao, where Yamashita and his forces were captured by Ifugao guerrillas on Sept. 2, 1945 before the general was flown to Camp John Hay to sign surrender documents on Sept. 3.
He added that the public holiday would give more meaning to Yamashita’s surrender, marking the event as as a victory for the numerous Filipino soldiers who bravely fought and sacrificed their lives for the country during what has been called as the “War to End All Wars.”