Gibo to grace 108th
Balangiga Encounter Commemoration Day
By MARIA KONICA CATAPANG
Samar – To give an air of military significance to one of the
bravest acts of Filipinos during World War II, Secretary of National
Defense Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro will lead the 108th commemoration of
the Balangiga Encounter Day on September 28, an annual event that
seeks to honor the memory of the Eastern Samareños who fought against
the Americans in what was dubbed US’ “worst single defeat” in history.
This year’s guest of
honor and speaker, the LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD presidentiable is also set to
lead the wreath-laying ceremony before the statue of Capt. Valeriano
Abanador, who led the town’s people during a surprise attack against
the soldiers of Company C, 9th US Infantry Regiment. To join Secretary
Teodoro during the festivities are Eastern Samar Governor Ben P.
Evardone and Mayor Viscuso de Lira of Balangiga.
“We are indeed very
happy and honored to have Secretary Teodoro with us as we mark another
year of Balangiga Encounter anniversary. Many Balangiganons idolize
him, that’s why I’m sure his presence would make a lasting impression
in our town.”
Aside from Sec.
Teodoros’s awaited message, another highlight of the commemorative
celebration is a dance-drama presentation by the Balangiga Lingganay
Performing Group, a famous performing arts group composed of talented
young Estehanons. Their presentation will depict the historic and
victorious fight for freedom of the Balangiganons.
It was the dawn of
September 28, 1901 when hundreds of native fighters some dressed as
women, wielding bolos staged a successful surprise attack that killed
more than 40 American soldiers. However, a brutal counter-offensive
was quickly launched by the American forces, killing thousands of
Balangiga residents, and leaving this town in ruins.
Upon leaving, the
American forces also took with them the town’s historic church bells
which the town fighters’ used to signal the surprise attack against
the American soldiers.
To this day the U.S.
Army continues to refuse the Philippine government’s numerous and
continuous efforts to bring the three bells back to the country.
Presently, the two
bigger bells are displayed at the Trophy Park at the F.E. Warren Air
Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming; while the smallest bell is on
permanent display at the Traveling Museum of the 9th US Infantry, now
stationed in Korea.