A pleasant good morning to all of you!
[ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF ALL THE GUESTS]
Ladies and gentlemen!
I do not claim to know all the national anthems of the more than 190 countries in the world today.
But I know that in our beloved Philippine NATIONAL ANTHEM, the last phrase reads: “ANG MAMATAY NG DAHIL SA IYO…”, which in ENGLISH translates to: “TO DIE BECAUSE OF YOU”, and in the KOREAN Language: “NOE TTAEMUN-E JUGGI WIHAE…”
[To be pronounced as: NO TAYMUNI CHUCHI WHEEYEN]
Aside from that INTRIGUING phrase, the second stanza of our national anthem, also proudly chants as follows:
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Di ka pasisiil.”
Which second stanza, as translated into the ENGLISH language would read:
You are the cradle of the brave,
To the conquerors
You shall never be oppressed.”
And in the KOREAN Language, it would translate to this:
“SEONTAEGDOEN TTANG, DANGSIN-EUN YONG-GAMHAN JAUI YOLAM-IBNIDA. JEONGBOGJADEUL-EGE DANGSIN-EUN GYEOLKO EOG-ABBADJI ANH-EOL GEOS-IBNIDA.”
[To be pronounced as: “SUN TEK DENG DANG”, “DANGSI-NEM”“YONG-GAMAN”“JAAY YORA MINDA”…
“CHANGBOK JAAY DE GE”…”DANGSI-NEM JULKO OG”“ABBACHI DA YU KEOS MINDA”]
The author of this national anthem of ours wrote the lyrics thereof in 1898.It was in fact played during the inauguration of the first Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 1898.
It can be said that in the subconscious minds of JOSE PALMA, who wrote the lyrics and JULIAN FELIPE who composed the music, is a reference to the oppression brought by the more than THREE (3) centuries of our country’s Spanish subjugation.
Clearly, the lyrics speak boldly about the oppression of our people during that bygone era.
However, in September of 1950, the fighting soldiers and men of the PEFTOK fought hard against a brutal oppression; against a bunch of rampaging conquerors who were 3,000 kilometers AWAY from our country, the PHILIPPINES.
And the fighting soldiers of PEFTOKfought hard, weathered the cold nights of sub-zero winters in that land, and even facedDEATH,and DIED for SOUTH KOREA.
And we must be proud to know that the Philippines was the very first Asian country that answered the call for help which was echoed by the South Koreans during that urgent time of need.
This is the very reason why we are commemorating this day, the 21ST Anniversary of the KOREAN WAR VETERANS of the PHILIPPINES MEMORIAL DAY and the 46th Anniversary of the PEFTOK VETERANS ASSOCIATION, INC.
The fighting soldiers and men of PEFTOK treated the South Korean people as our very own people, as our brothers and sisters, and South Korea as our very own nation.
Indeed, the deployment of the PEFTOK to the KOREAN War in September of 1950, is the paragon of supreme service to an allied nation and friend, supreme indeed, as the eventual cost is the supreme sacrifice of DEATH.
Thus, this day is also a celebration to commemorate the bestowal of honor to those who died in what has been regarded as the FORGOTTEN WAR. It may indeed be deemed as a FORGOTTEN WAR as it got eclipsed by both the more immense SECOND WORLD WAR and the longer and costlier VIETNAM War.
But what has made the KOREAN War most peculiar is that in the VIETNAM War, the Philippines only sent a civic action contingent. On the other hand, the SECOND WORLD WAR, a war which was principally waged by the US and that we were drawn into it, being a commonwealth country affiliated with America THEN. But with respect to the KOREAN War,our entry into the KOREAN War was for a distinct reason.
It was our country’s pledge as was re-echoed by President ElpidioRivera Quirinowhen he delivered a trumpet call before the 10th Battalion Combat Team of the PEFTOKat a public rally held inside the Rizal Memorial Stadium on September 2, 1950. Ten (10) days thereafter, the 10th BCT of the PEFTOK sailed to KOREA and arrived in Busan on September 19, 1950. And that PLEDGE is written also in our national anthem, as it runs, before the INTRIGUING phrase which I earlier mentioned, as follows:
“Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.”
Which translates in ENGLISH to:
“It is our joy if there will be oppressors
To die because of you.”
And as translated into the KOREAN language, it would translate this way:
[To be pronounced as: “OGAB JAGAAY” “IM YON OHYEE” “GIPPYUM IMNIDA” “TANGSING TAIMUNEE” “JUNGNEM GYON”]
For so many years now, we have been deluged by the continuing generosity of the South Korean government in terms of financial aid and donations as well, to the Philippine government particularly the grant and endowment to the military sector of cutting-edge military equipment and contraptions as well as aid to the PEFTOK. During this pandemic, various donations of face masks, testing kits and facilities, as well as goods and other personal protective equipment were made.
For a long time now, PEFTOK has embraced as its principal and core project for its veterans and their descendants, the scholarship program, which has now focused on the veterans’ 3rd level descendants.
And the South Korean government through its Korean Embassy has remained as the scholarship program’s constant and principal benefactor. In fact, in our recent meeting with Colonel Bae through the significant initiatives of Ambassador Han, an offer was made for additional kinds of relief to tide the indigents among the veterans’ families over, from the oppressive financial effects of the pandemic.
This continuing act of generosity by the South Korean government I am sure will strike hard at the very core of this commemorative spirit, of today’s celebration.
For in helping the poor veterans’ descendants, we will be able to mold and turn them into significant and meaningful members of our society towards that elusive dream of a better Philippines. A better Philippines, at par perhaps with the progress and prosperity that the South Korean people has achieved and has been experiencing for years now.
Thank you so much and STAY SAFE!