Leyte honors oldest WWII veteran in Region 8
by Flor Jackson
Tacloban City (October 21) -- The oldest World War II veteran in Region 8 was given citation and award today.
Isabel Figueroa, a World War II veteran presently residing in Barangay Calanipawan, this city, was all smiles when he received his award and a plaque of appreciation during the commemorative program in celebration of the 65th Leyte Gulf Landing Anniversary as the oldest living war veteran in region 8 in the recently held Search for the Oldest Living World War II Veteran in Eastern Visayas.
Figueroa who served as a recognized guerilla of the 97th Infantry Division during the World War II with a rank of corporal, rendered service in his unit in the army for three years and three months. He was exactly 95 years old and two months when he received his award today during the commemorative program.
Landing as 9th runner-up in the search for the oldest living war veteran was Marcelino Negro, 91 years old and eight months to be exact and presently residing at Esperas Avenue here in this city. He served as Scout Army of the United States Army in the Far East (USAFE).
On the other hand, Catalino Vivero, exactly 91 years and 10 months old when he received his award today was the 8th runner-up. He was a recognized guerilla of the Philippine Scout Army during the World War II and he is a resident of Brgy. Capangihan, Tolosa, Leyte.
Ninety-two year-old Teofisto Dimapiles and a resident of Brgy. Sta. Cruz in Palo, Leyte was 7th runner-up while Pedro Echaņez, 92 years and four months old of Bry. Serum, Basey in Samar was 6th runner-up and Calixto Real, 93 years old, now residing in Brgy. Bagacay, this city, who also served as a recognized guerilla of the 42nd Infantry Batallion of the army during the World War II was 5th runner-up.
Declared as 4th runner-up was Felicisimo Gonzaga, 93 years and two months old from Palo, Leyte. He was a recognized guerilla of the 42nd Infantry Batallion during the World War II.
Third runner-up was Jesus Mahay, 93 years and nine months old from Basey, Samar. Second-runner-up was Porferio Saņo, 94 years and one month old from Dulag, Leyte. He served as a recognized guerilla during the World War II.
Francisco Diaz was first runner-up. He was 94 years and five months old when he received his award today. Presently he is residing in this city.
Based on the data gathered by the Committee on the Regional Search for the Oldest living World War II veteran in region 8, out of the 10 veterans who were honored and received awards and recognition, eight of them either served as corporal, private first class and technical sergeants in the army during the war serving their units from two to four years.
According to one of the chaperons of an old World War II veteran in region 8 who requested not to be named, the courage and valor of the veterans who fought during the war is a clear manifestation of a true love of country.
He added that the Filipino people have all the reasons to be thankful to the war veterans who are now in their twilight years of life for the independence they continue to enjoy until now.
This year's theme of the 65th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary celebration is "A Salute to the Valor of our Last Living Heroes". (PIA-Biliran) [top]