Philippine Veterans Bank has successfully staged the 2018 Mariveles-San Fernando-Capas Freedom Trail with over 600 participants, including those from the three major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
The 160-kilometer, two-day trek over three provinces, which started in Mariveles, Bataan, and finished at the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac, were part of the commemoration of the 76th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.
The Freedom Trail traced the actual route of the infamous Bataan Death March and was staged to honor Filipino World War II heroes and survivors.
“It is our generation’s responsibility to commemorate and honor the bravery and heroism of our veterans during the war. It will be a sin to forget how valiantly they fought and how they looked out for their fellow soldiers amid torture, injury, and starvation. History will hold us accountable if the next generations forget the Bataan Death March,” said Mike Villa-Real, head of Veterans Bank’s Corporate and Consumer Relations Division.
The Death March, considered as one of the darkest days in Philippine History, saw the forcible transfer of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war from Bagac, Bataan, to Camp O’Donnell in Capas.
The prisoners were loaded onto trains in San Fernando, Pampanga. The transfer began on April 10, 1942 and left thousands of dead and seriously wounded soldiers who had endured captivity under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.