PILAR, Bataan: United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg honored Saturday the Filipino soldier, who died at the US-PH Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) exercises, during the 74th commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).
“This, too, is a tribute to those who lost their lives here and elsewhere in the Pacific,” Goldberg said in a speech during ceremonies held in this town in the Philippines’ Central Luzon. He praised the PAF, or Philippine Air Force, paratrooper’s service to the Philippines.
He added, “So we’re here today, first and foremost, not only to thank the courageous soldiers who fought here in Bataan but also to appreciate and honor all those who have and continued to sacrifice for our freedoms.”
Jover Dumanse, 2nd Class Airman with the 710th Special Operations Wing of the PAF, died April 7 after an accident during a proficiency parachute jump exercise in Subic, a coastal municipality northwest of Manila that used to host a US naval base.
“We send our condolences to his family, to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Filipino government and people,” Goldberg said, adding that the soldier “died in a tragic accident but he did so in the service of his country and our great alliance.”
Dumanse fell into the sea instead of landing on a designated zone at the airport, Capt. Celeste Frank Sayson, an officer at the Balikatan Public Affairs, said.
Some 8,000 US and Filipino troops have been taking part in this year’s two-week war games, which aim to improve cooperation and inter-operability between the two countries. The Balikatan started on April 4.
Goldberg, meanwhile, also lauded the participation of Japan as an observer in the current Balikatan exercises.
“Our three nations have developed strong and enduring relationships, the Philippines and Japan are among the United States’ most steadfast allies, and we have all continued to work together to strengthen the stability and the security of the entire Pacific region,” Goldberg said. CATHERINE VALENTE