This week, the city of Tarlac commemorates the Bataan Death March with the participation of locals and volunteers from different branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The goal is to help people become aware of the sacrifices that Filipino and American soldiers made 75 years ago as they were forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to march to a concentration camp 160 kilometers away.
For thousands of Filipino and American soldiers, part of World War II's history was about surviving the long march and witnessing the death of their comrades. According to official documents, the official troop count in Bataan on April 13, 1942 was 74,800 Filipinos and 11,796 Americans. An estimated 60,600 Filipinos and 9,900 Americans were part of the Death March from April 9-15, 1942.
By the time they arrived in Capas, there were only 45,600-plus Filipinos and 9,300-plus Americans; the rest died along the way.
At the War Memorial shrine, members of the public have a chance to experience how the soldiers struggled and died at the hands of the Japanese army. The commemorative march started at the city’s people’s park, 10 kilometers away. Those who joined made their way through residential areas and main roads, the same routes World War II prisoners walked.
In Capas, the participants looked for their grandparents’ names on the war memorial that has the names of all the soldiers etched as part of Philippine history.
-Jonathan Cellona ABC CBN news