Oldest living WWII veteran named
By Neil D. Lopido
Tacloban City (October 12) -- Mr. Isabelo Cabuenas Figueroa, 95 years old, of Brgy. 96, Calanipawan, Tacloban City, was adjudged as the oldest among the 30 veterans who participated in the Search for the Regional Search for the Oldest Living World War II Veteran (Eastern Visayas) in line with the celebration of the 65th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary with the this year's theme, "A Salute to the Valor of Our Last Living Heroes."
Figueroa, who was born on August 5, 1914, was a recognized guerilla of the 97th Infantry, 93rd Division who served from June 1, 1942 to March 20, 1946 with a rank/position of Corporal.
The nine runners-up are: Mr. Francisco R. Diaz, (94 years old & 5 months) of Tacloban City; Mr. Porferio Saño (94 years old & 1 month) of Brgy. Candao, Dulag, Leyte; Mr. Jesus P. Mahay (93 years old & 9 months) of Basey, Samar; Mr. Felicisimo N. Gonzaga (93 years old & 2 months) of Capirawan, Palo, Leyte; Mr. Calixtro Real (93 years old) of Brgy. Bagacay, Tacloban City; Mr. Pedro Y. Echanez (92 years old & 4 months) of Brgy. Serum, Basey, Samar; Mr. Dimafiles E. Teopisto (92 years old) of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Palo, Leyte; Mr. Catalino Vivero (91 years old & 10 months) of Brgy. Capangihan, Tolosa, Leyte; and Mr. Marcelino Negro (91 years old & 9 months) of Tacloban City.
Mr. Figueroa, being the oldest, will receive on October 19, a cash prize of P50,000.00, a plaque of recognition and gift certificates during the Liberation Fiesta Leyteña Awarding Ceremony at the DPWH, Palo, Leyte, together with the nine (9) runners-up who will receive P10,000.00 each, plaques of recognition and gift certificates. All the ten (10) awardees will be housed at the Leyte Park Hotel Dormitory starting October 17, 2009 for the medical check-up and rehearsals.
The Search for the Oldest Living WWII Veteran was open to all living WWII veterans residing in Eastern Visayas provided that he/she have valid papers showing his/her term of services during the war and other pertinent documents needed for validation of the Board of Evaluators.
The Board of Evaluators was composed of representatives from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Office of the Provincial Government of Leyte, Department of Tourism, Philippine Information Agency, and Rotary of Leyte Gulf.
The Search for the Oldest Living WWI Veteran is spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Leyte Gulf and co-sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT-8) with the prizes courtesy of DOT thru Secretary Ace Durano and the Province of Leyte through Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla. (PIA-8) [top]