COMMEMORATING the fall of Yamashita in Ifugao province is more of celebrating what they call a “Victory Day” as the fall of the general also marked the beginning of the liberation of the country following almost five years of Japanese rule.
There will be World War II Veterans from Northern Luzon together with their families as well as dignitaries from the United States and Japan who will be attending the 69th anniversary of the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita on September 1 and 2.
Yamashita surrendered in Ifugao 69 years ago which signaled the end of World War II. This is also known as the Yamashita Fall which took place on September 2, 1945.
The Japanese general particularly surrendered in Kiangan’s once-entrenched Nabulaguian Hill where he and his remaining forces were holed up before eventually yielding to the Allied forces following almost a month of bombardment.
The provincial government of Ifugao said it is all systems go for this big celebration which the people of Ifugao have been commemorating since 1991.
Governor Denis Habawel said the commemoration will kick off on September 1 with a morning mass and candle lighting at the Yamashita surrender site in Kiangan town.
It was President Aquino 3rd who declared September 2 as a special non-working day in Ifugao to highlight this event after officials called the national government to declare it as such to commemorate Filipino victory against Japanese forces.
“[The declaration is] to give the people of Ifugao the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” Aquino said.
Habawel also said the date is a more appropriate day to celebrate victory instead of highlighting the country’s losses to foreign invaders.
On September 2, the event will start with a parade around Kiangan town proper, wreath laying and a program highlighting the surrender of Yamashita.
Habawel will also lead local officials and townsfolk during the highlights of the commemoration which will take place at the Bantayog ng Kiangan in the town’s Barangay Linda where a War Memorial Shrine dedicated to those who fought the Japanese invasion now stands.
But he said that instead of calling the event “Yamashita Surrender,” the event is more aptly called “Victory Day” as the fall of the Japanese general would mean the liberation of the country from Japanese rule.
When Yamashita surrendered, he was brought the following day by a chopper to Baguio City. He formally signed surrender documents before American forces at Camp John Hay.
Yamashita, 60, was tried and sentenced to death for war crimes in December 1945 by an American military tribunal in Manila. He was hanged to death on February 23, 1946 at Los Baños Prison Camp.
He was once dubbed the Tiger of Malaya during the war.
Under Republic Act 4695, Ifugao became a province on June 18, 1966 with the Kalinga-Apayao, Benguet and Mountain Province, all part of the vast old Mountain Province or Bontoc.