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26 Pangasinan veterans earn US Congressional gold medals

In honor of their invaluable sacrifices and valor and contributions of the veterans during the World War II, 24 living Pangasinan veterans received United States (US) Congressional Gold Medals while two other Pangasinan veterans received Posthumous Awards.

The award conferred to the Pangasinan veterans is the highest civilian honor bestowed by United States government to groups or individuals whose life and service made significant impact to the American history.

The awarding ceremony was held at the Sison Auditorium in celebration of the 75th Lingayen Gulf Landings Anniversary in Pangasinan as well as the 13th Pangasinan Veterans’ Day.

The recipients of US Congressional Gold Medals from Pangasinan was joined by one living veteran and four posthumous awardees from Manila.

Leading the awarding of the US congressional medal to the veterans and/or their family representatives was US Army Chief of Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) Stephen Ma who was assisted by Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs (USCVRA) Reynaldo B. Mapagu, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator Ernesto B. Carolina and Vice Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino, representing Governor Amado I. Espino III.

In his testimonial speech, Col. Ma paid tribute the Filipino WWII veterans who answered the call of duty to serve and defend the country alongside American allies.

The sacrifice of the veterans, he said, forged a special bond between the US and the Philippines until today as he noted that the United States is grateful for the heroism and gallantry of Filipino veterans.

“Your sacrifices will always be cherished; your valor and loyalty will always be in our hearts; your tenacious fight for freedom will never be forgotten and we will forever remain allies for freedom,” he addressed to the veterans.

PVAO Administrator Carolina noted that the conferment of the US Congressional Gold Medal is by virtue of Public Law 114-265 or the Filipinos of World War II  Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015.

Carolina also commended Governor Espino and all other executive officials in the province for upholding the rich history of the province through the staging of the Lingayen Gulf Landing and Veterans’ Day annually.

“Thank you for teaching bravery, patriotism and pride of place in your people and for inspiring the youth as future leaders of our country,” Carolina stressed.

On the other note, Carolina extolled former governor and former congressman Amado T. Espino Jr. for ushering the launching of the Veterans’ Day, now on its 13th year through the passing of the Provincial Resolution No. 331 in 2007.

Vice Governor Lambino expressed his gratitude to the US government for recognizing the gallantry and heroism of Filipino veterans through conferment of US Congressional gold medal.

The recipients of the US Congressional gold medal from Pangasinan are veterans aged 95-102, namely: Carlos C. Abalos, Numeriano T. Abalos, Jose V. Austria, Servillano  R. Bugagon, Sergio R. Casimiro, Teofilo P. Cayao, Francisco F. Dela Cruz, Marcelo D. Estabillo, Pedro F. Fernandez, Bonifacio D. Garcia, Placido V. Laureta, Reymundo DG. Leal, Gregorio B. Martinez, Miguel T. Monegas, Lorenzo M. Mortera, Bernardo L. Narciza, Pablo V. Opriano, Federico G. Palisoc, Pedro M. Parayno, Elpidio S. Pedroche, Pedro C. Ramirez, Apolonio R. Ramirez, Valentin T. Rebugio, Pedro C. Regadio, Adriano S. Salomon, Filemon V. Sison and Pedro C. Torres while Miguel V. Aure is the only US Congressional gold medal recipient from Manila.

Meanwhile, the recipients of the Posthumous Award from Pangasinan are: Juan L. Inocencio and Miguel T. Monegas Other Posthumous awardees from Manila include Mariano F. Mejia, Ismael R. Tomelden, Leopoldo R. Signey and. Marcelo R. De Vera

/Shiella Mae C. De Guzman