The conferment of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino World War II Veterans continues as forty (40) more were awarded by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), jointly with the United States Embassy, during a solemn ceremony held at the BTV World War II Museum, Veterans Center, Taguig City on 28 August 2019. The ceremony was hosted by the Philippine Veterans Bank, the bank owned by Filipino World War II veterans.
The three living awardees were: Maj. Fortunato S. Perez (95 years old); Sgt. Isabel U. Perez (95); and Ssgt. Antonio L. Yu (98).
The posthumous awardees were as follows: Col. Eleutorio Adevoso; Col. Gustavo C. Ingles; Lt. Col. Juan J. Mauri Claravall; Lt. Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo; Lt. Col Felix E. Rubio; Maj. Benito A. Manalo; Lt. Guillermo S. Parayno; 1Lt. Andres C. Clemente Jr; 1Lt. Jose V. De Ocampo; 1Lt. Democrito Mendoza; 1Lt. Romeo V. Gironella; 2Lt. Rizalina A. Claravall; 2Lt. Joaquin G. Octaviano; 2Lt. Manuel F. Grio; 3Lt. Jose P. Nuñez; MSgt. Francisco O. Calucin; Sgt. Fermino T. Lubuguin; Sgt. Virgilio O. Milana; Sgt. Aurelio F. Madlangbayan; Sgt. Jaime B. Marquez; Sgt. Gregorio D. Anonas, Jr; Sgt. Marcelo D. Aquino; Sgt. Eladio A. Nierva; SSgt. Luiz DL Victor; SSgt. Bienvenido M. Bueno; Cpl. Juan C. Macalindong; Cpl. Segundo H. Racho; PFC Vitaliano B. Antonio; PFC Egmedio A. Ragandan; Pvt. Tomas M. Cloa; Pvt. Sancho A. Tamayo; Pvt. Castor S. Bagaconza; Pvt. Francisco U. Magsajo; Pvt. Florencio E. Dela Rea; Pvt. Francisco E. Espina; Pvt. Ramon P. Miranda; Pvt. Paterno P. Bombase.
Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs Reynaldo B. Mapagu, who represented Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana as the Guest of Honor and Speaker, led the presentation of awards. He was joined by PVAO Administrator Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina, United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim, and US Department of Veterans Affairs Director Tracey Betts.
Undersecretary Mapagu, in his message, emphasized that “..regardless of our diversity, we share a common love for the motherland and love is the foundation of which our country was built.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Kim said that the awarding of the U.S. CGM Award to Filipino World War II veterans is a “symbol of friendship and alliance” between the Philippines and the United States.
President and Chief Operating Officer of Philippine Veterans Bank, Mr. Renato A. Claravall, son of WWII veterans Lt. Col. Juan J. Mauri Claravall and 2Lt. Rizalina Claravall provided a response on behalf of the awardees. He shared the story of how his family recently discovered that his mother, Rizalina Claravall, was also a veteran days before the CGM Awarding. He then thanked PVAO for the knowledge and recognition bestowed to his parents.
Dr. Roberto F. de Ocampo, OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Veterans Bank, in his response, lauded the Filipino Veterans who risked their lives to fight for the country. “Thus, let it not be forgotten that there once were men and women of sterner stuff who took the ultimate risk of laying their life in pursuit of the dream of the comfortable reality for generations of their beneficiaries…” Dr. Ocampo added.
The U.S. CGM is a recognition bestowed to Filipino WWII veterans for their valiant efforts and distinguished achievements during the war. It is the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Congress to an individual or group of individuals for significant contributions that have helped shape American history. Philippine Veterans Affairs Office