opinion

Honoring our Heroes

April 19, 2021

By Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar (ret.) Executive Director National Historical Commission of the Philippines   The Second World War produced thousands of heroes but very few of them were known.      Unlike in the Philippine Revolution and Fil-Am War where the concentration of large-scale fighting was in the 8 provinces around Manila, with some in various provinces, resistance to Japanese invasion and occupation was from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.      After the war, there were over 400,000 guerrillas who were recognized. Add to these the over 100,000 who died fighting for our country. This was a big percentage to our population which was 18 million at the outbreak of war.      Every veteran who fought for our county’s freedom are heroes that we must treasure. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices for fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Their investment was their blood, sweat and tears.      We meet them in their advance age and even ignore their presence despite their great contribution they remained anonymous to all of us.      They might our parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents and relatives who remain humble about their war exploits, their contribution to our country’s freedom.      It is time for us to rediscover the unsung and unknown heroes in our family and we will be surprised to know that we have the blood of heroes in our veins. It is our duty in this generation to honor our heroes.      Restituto L. Aguilar currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). Prior to this, he was the Chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office for six (6) years.      Director Aguilar is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1978 (Makatarungan) and has retired with the rank of Brigadier General in the Armed Forces of the Philippines after 33 years of military service.      Aside from his command and staff postings during his military service, he has been sought as consultant in the research of the history of the various military camps and museums in the country.      He also contributed to the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Philippine Museum in Camp Aguinaldo.      Director Aguilar also published various articles about the history of different AFP units in various academic publications and was the Editor-In-Chief of The Cavalier, the official publication of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) from 2002-2012.      He also authored the Philippine Military Academy Register, a product of over seventeen (17) years of diligent research about the individual military histories of over 17,000 men and women who have entered the Philippine Military Academy.

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The Australian Open Test

February 2, 2021

The sporting world will focus on Melbourne from now until February 21, 2021 as it plays host to the Australian Open. Australia may have one of the strictest lockdown to combat the COVID19 virus, but still skeptics imply that for this sporting event to take place with live audiences over a 2-week period is reckless to say the least. As a sports tourism advocate, I can only admire the resolve of the organizers. In tandem with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), over one hundred top players are already in Melbourne with over a thousand support staff all under strict 14-day hotel quarantine. Players and trainers are only allowed  five hours a day for practices and workout. They are not allowed to leave the hotel premises. Flying into this Victorian city were all done through specially arranged chartered flights and with tight airport to hotel transfers. The  Victorian State government had announced that they will allow up to 30,000 spectators per day for the entire duration of the Australian Open from February 8 to 21. The number of allowed spectators is only 50% of the normal daily attendance compared to previous years. Still, in totaling up numbers, around 360,000 Aussies as well as Aussie residents would have watched the tournament live. Unlike the Philippines, there are no interstate restrictions imposed on their citizens travelling from one state or city to another within this land down under. In fact, Filipinos scoff that we are the only ASEAN country that restricts its citizens from interstate travel by imposing some health protocols bordering on the ridiculous initiated by and differing from one local government to another.   Apart from the brilliant tennis that will keep you entertained for the good fortnight, sports and tourism advocates will hold their breaths as we witness this sporting event, hoping that there will be no catastrophic incidents until the last point is scored, until new champions are crowned, until the lights are finally switched off at the Rod Laver Arena on February 21. -30- Charles Lim is the Chairman and Founder of the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards. His advocacy for Sports Tourism dates back  to 2004 with the inception of the Sports Tourism Forum - a popular seminar workshop for those in sports and the hospitality trade - which is currently ongoing. He can be reached through charles.selrahco@gmail.com.

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