Philippines to mark 75th anniversary of Death March

By Ronron Calunsod/Kyodo News – The Philippines will mark this year the 75th anniversary of Japan’s violent conquest of the Southeast Asian nation, earmarking events that will honor survivors from Japan’s atrocities and commemorate the lessons from that chapter in the two countries’ history, officials said Wednesday.

“Our countrymen, especially the youth, should not forget the Bataan Death March 75 years ago, in April 1942. This is the kind of heroism which is very difficult to find these days,” Roberto de Ocampo, chairman of the Philippine Veterans Bank that was set up to support the country’s war veterans, said in a news conference.

De Ocampo was citing the forced march for a number of days beginning April 9, 1942 by some 66,000 Filipino and 12,000 Americans who fell into the hands of Japanese soldiers.

The captives, mostly soldiers, began their walk from Bataan province and were later slumped into freight cars that brought them to their prison camp in Tarlac province 160 kilometers away, on Luzon Island. Historians said only around 54,000 arrived alive.

The so-called “Fall of Bataan” marked Japan’s successful occupation of the Philippines, which was then a territory of the United States. It happened four months after Japan first occupied the Philippines in December 1941.

Japan has since apologized and expressed remorse for causing such sufferings in the Philippines.

“There are many other things that we have to remember with respect to (the Death March). Among those that are interesting is that, despite the cruelty that took place, to the point that it was ruled by the international court as an act of criminal war by Japan, we’ve come a long way towards our relations with the Japanese. We have basically, more or less, healed most of our wounds, and have friendly relations with them,” de Ocampo said.

Japan’s occupation of the Philippines lasted until 1945, and its payment of war reparations around a decade later led to the normalization of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
Manila and Tokyo currently regard each other as “strategic partners,” with the former receiving substantial aid and investments from the latter.

To remember the sacrifices of the Filipino and American veterans during the Japanese rule 75 years ago, the Philippine Veterans Bank, in partnership with some groups, organized a marathon set for April 2, and a run-and-bike event on April 10 and 11 at the Death March route.

The Philippine Veterans Bank’s Miguel Villa-Real said foreign participants, including those from Japan, are expected to take part in the events, which will also be complemented by other activities that the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office have lined up for that week.

“It’s been 75 years, and Japan is now a very close friend and ally (of the Philippines). If the President invited the Japanese prime minister to his home, then there’s no reason why they should not be invited here. We’ll be very glad to have them participate in these activities,” Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the veterans affairs office, said, recalling the Jan. 13 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to President Rodrigo Duterte’s residence in Davao City on Mindanao island.

“The clear message to everyone, including Japan, is that peace is a lot better than conquest. And therefore, we have learned our lessons over the years. And our peaceful relations are what we have to continue to expand and to remember,” de Ocampo said.

Find more like this: News

  • She was the enemy of Philippine President Duterte, and her fellow judges just sacked her
  • Overlooked No More: Leticia Ramos Shahani, a Philippine Women’s Rights Pioneer
  • Duty Free Philippines to open luxury store at SM Mall of Asia complex
  • Beijing ‘installs missiles’ on South China Sea islands
  • Humans were in Philippines thousands of years before previously thought
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • A New Netflix Series Tells the Story of the Philippines’ Drug War. But Its Critics Are Condemning Amo as Propaganda
  • Where in the Philippines was a scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ shot?
  • CLOSEUP: ‘Lion King’ to include Pinoy flavor in world-class show
  • ‘Riverdale’ stars call out PH magazine for ‘disrespectful’ photoshop editing
  • Pixar’s first female supervising animator is Pinoy
  • MORE...


  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • The Box That Brings Christmas to the Philippines
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy
  • Women’s servitude blights Philippine society
  • MORE...


  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • El Nido to impose daily visitor limits in 3 iconic tourist sites
  • Philippines starts building world’s first resort airport
  • MORE...


  • Manny Pacquiao v Lucas Matthysse: Filipino’s career ‘not over’
  • ABL: Justin Brownlee is getting more Pinoy by the day
  • Gilas beats Japan again in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
  • 2018 Winter Olympics: Philippines’ Asa Miller lands 70th in giant slalom
  • Michael Christian Martinez: Olympian and pioneer in Philippine figure skating
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • Which countries pay OFWs the highest?
  • MORE...


  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • Mindanao plants 3M trees in an hour, challenges world record
  • Fighting for sharks in the Philippines
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces