‘Bataan has fallen’ piece to be heard on April 9
By Ramon Dacawi
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 04, 2014.
A WELL-WRITTEN but today little-known broadcast piece announcing the surrender of Filipino and American forces in Bataan on the day of the fall in 1942 will be heard again when the city joins the nation in commemoration rites on April 9.
The piece, oratorical in rhythm and tone, was written by then Lt. Salvador P. Lopez. It was read by Lt. Norman Reyes on the evening broadcast of “Voice of Freedom” from within the Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor a few hours after Filipino and American defenders surrendered in Bataan on April 9, 1942.
“Good evening everyone everywhere,” the broadcast began. “This is the Voice of Freedom broadcasting from somewhere in the Philippines.”
That broadcast will be re-lived by a speech chorus of students of the Baguio City National High School who will join surviving war veterans and city officials on the 72nd anniversary of the fall at the Veterans Park along Harrison Road.
The program, chaired by Councilor Peter Fianza, was designed to allow the youth to join the community in paying tribute to the veterans who fought for the liberation of the country and their city from the occupying Japanese forces.
“We owe it to the younger generation to open the opportunity for them to pay their respects to those who fought for the freedom that we all enjoy today,” Fianza said.
In the process, added BCNHS principal Dr. Elma Dona-al, our students will whet their appetites for local and national history and appreciate the significance of the Veterans Park established in 1991.
“Bataan has fallen,” Lt. Reyes began. ”The Philippine-American troops on this war ravaged and bloodstained peninsula have laid down their arms. With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy.”
“The world will long remember the epic struggle that Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastness and along the rugged coast of Bataan. They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more than three months. Besieged on land and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and in America, the intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance could bear.
“For what sustained them through all these months of incessant battle was a force that was more than merely physical. It was the force of an unconquerable faith—something in the heart and soul that physical hardship and adversity could not destroy! It was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in these most priceless of all our human prerogatives.
“The adversary, in the pride of his power and triumph, will credit our troops with nothing less than the courage and fortitude that his own troops have shown in battle. Our men have fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle. All the world will testify to the most superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last in the face of overwhelming odds.
“But the decision had to come. Men fighting under the banner of unshakable faith are made of something more that flesh, but they are not made of impervious steel. The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must come.
“Bataan has fallen, but the spirit that made it stand—a beacon to all the liberty-loving peoples of the world—cannot fall!
“All of us know the story of Easter Sunday. It was the triumph of light over darkness, life over death. It was the vindication of a seemingly unreasonable faith. It was the glorious resurrection of a leader, only three days before defeated and executed like a common felon.
“Today, on the commemoration of that Resurrection, we can humbly and without presumption declare our faith and hope in our own resurrection, our own inevitable victory.
“We, too, were betrayed by Judases. We were taken in the night by force of arms, and though we had done wrong to no man, our people were bound and delivered into the hands of our enemies. We have been with mock symbols of sovereignty, denied by weaklings, lashed with repeated oppression, tortured and starved. We have been given gall to drink, and we have shed our blood. To those who look upon us from afar it must seem the Filipino people have descended into hell, into the valley of death.
But we know that the patient and watching men who said their simple prayers in the hills of Bataan, have not lost faith, and we know that the hushed congregations in the churches throughout the land, drew from the gospel as Mass renewed hope in their resurrection. To all of them we give today the message of the angel of Easter morning: “Be not afraid, for He is risen.”
“We, too, shall rise. After we have paid the full price of our redemption, we shall return to show the scars of sacrifices that all may touch and believe. When the trumpets sound the hour we shall roll aside the stone before the tomb and the tyrant guards shall scatter in confusion. No wall of stone shall then be strong enough to contain us, no human force shall suffice to hold us in subjection, we shall rise in the name of freedom and the East shall be alight with the glory of our liberation.
“Until then, people of the Philippines, be not afraid.”
Ramon Tuazon, vice-president of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications, calls the piece a classic in broadcast journalism.
‘Bataan has fallen’ piece to be heard on April 9