A measure declaring September 2 every year as a special non-working holiday in Ifugao province awaits final approval from President Rodrigo Duterte.
The ratified version was transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval and signature.
In the House, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat authored House Bill 5553 which seeks to make September 2 of every year as non-working holiday to commemorate the surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the highest commander of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines during World War II.
Baguilat emphasized the significance of Yamashita’s surrender in 1945 that paved the way to the Philippine liberation from its colonizer.
“The 2nd day of September 1945 is a significant date in the history, not only of Ifugao but also of the country,” he said.
However, Baguilat explained how this freedom came with a cost. He cited that World War II led to the death of more than 40 million people around the world, one million of whom were Filipinos.
“History highlights that when the hearts and minds of men move towards the road of war and aggression, it results in immense pain and suffering. These irrefutable facts of history should never be forgotten. For we always need to be reminded that we should keep in our hearts and minds the precepts of peace and harmony,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.
Baguilat noted that the framers of the 1987 Constitution have recognized this important reality. He cited that Section 2, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.”
He further said that the bill seeks to remember those who died during World War II, those people who valiantly defended the Philippines, and the innocent lives victimized by the war.
“This will be a memorial that will allow people to ponder on the evils of war and the graces of peace especially in the province of Ifugao where it all ended,” he added.
The bill provides that the Provincial Government of Ifugao, in coordination with the municipal government of Kiangan, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, and the Military Shrines Service, shall lead the commemorative programs and activities.
These programs and activities shall be participated by officials and employees of the national, provincial and municipal government agencies and instrumentalities, as well as civic, religious, non-government, business and civil society organizations.