City of San Fernando, Pampanga—A non-government organization is adopting a landmark train station in Barangay Sto. Niño that played a vital role during the Bataan Death March to restore its glory and develop it into a main tourist attraction of the city.
Wilfrito Mah, president of the Giant Lantern Foundation, said they are spending an initial P1 million for the restoration of the station located in 1,887 square meters of public land.
“We will restore it to its [original state from 1942] and at the same time develop the other areas into a modern park,” Mah said.
“The station is the only thing that we can offer to the young generation to learn more of our history and for other people who will visit us,” he said.
He said the renovation will be undertaken by restoration engineers and park developers anytime soon.
The station was part of the Bagbag-Mabalacat-Manila-Dagupan Railway System which is also known as Kilometer 102. The station, however, was closed 20 years ago when the northbound of the Philippine National Railways was suspended.
City Mayor Edwin Santiago has approved the restoration program of the foundation in line with public private partnership of the government.
After a 55-mile march from Mariveles to Balanga of the Bataan peninsula, the Americans and Filipino soldiers, reached the landmark train station and were herded into waiting boxcars on their way to Capas, Tarlac to travel another eight kilometers before reaching their final destination, Camp O’Donnell.
The Death March started on April 9, 1942 with 72,000 soldiers, both Americans and Filipinos. Only 54,000 reached their final destination and about 10,000 perished. Others escaped.