September 25, 2017, 1:43 am
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Is this your month?

PRESIDENTIAL Proclamation 339 of 16 February 2012 declared the month of August of every year as “History Month” in order to emphasize the most significant turning points in Philippine history.

Many Filipinos in Metro Manila and foreign visitors, not being familiar with government activities for August, inadvertently celebrated “History Month” by attending “History Con Philippines 2017” at the World Trade Center last August 10-13. They enjoyed the Cosplay Competition,
History (quiz) Bee, blade demo, exhibit and sale of artifacts and collectibles, and the special screening of “Valor: The Legacy of Colonel Emmanuel V. De Ocampo.”

The World War II documentary featured the teenager who became the commander of the 47th Hunters ROTC Division. This film and its prequel, the multi-awarded “Unsurrendered 2,” will be shown this week at the International Conference On The 75th Anniversary Of World War II

In The Philippines, Holy Angel University, Pampanga. We expect the presentations of Dr. Helen N. Mendoza’s “Memories of the War Years: A Teenage Girl’s Life in the Philippines Under Japanese Rule,” Dr. Benito J. Legarda, Jr.’s “The Massacre Trails in the Battle for Manila (February 1945)” and Cecilia I. Gaerlan’s “Reliving the Legacy of Bataan in the United States,” among others.

In America, different legacies are being sorted out this month. The chaos of Charlottesville reverberates and President Trump was prompted to “condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence.”

“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” [The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, August 14, 2017]

And to think that it was only last April 25 that Trump told the Washington, D.C. crowd gathered for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance: “We remember the millions of other innocent victims the Nazis so brutally targeted and so brutally killed. We remember the survivors who bore more than we can imagine. We remember the hatred and evil that sought to extinguish human life, dignity, and freedom.” [https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/25/remarks-president...

Incidentally, a drunken American tourist was beaten up after giving a Nazi salute in Dresden in Germany (where public displays of Nazi symbols like the swastika or gestures like the “Heil Hitler” salute have been banned since the end of World War II) and two Chinese tourists were arrested for giving Nazi salutes outside the Reichstag. [https://www.yahoo.com/news/drunken-american-beaten-giving-nazi-082620801...

The observance of August as “History Month” also gives us the occasion to salute the legacy of President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas, Barrion’s Manila Division, Bulacan Military Area, Hukbalahap, Cebu Area Command, Cagayan-Apayao Force, 9th Military District (on Leyte Island) of Col. Ruperto P. Kangleon, Marking’s Guerrillas, Palawan Special Battalion, and the Hunters-ROTC, among others.

We would like to know more about the Army of the Agno, Sulu Area Command, Lanao Military Sector, Zambales Military District, and the Marinduque Patriot Army. We are curious about the Bato Balani Guerrilla Unit, Borneo Resistance Force, Bagong Katipunan Guerrilla Forces, or
even the Pugot Ulo Secret Society.

We can recall August 15 as “Victory over Japan Day,” but people today are more concerned, and rightly so, over “le danse macabre” of North Korea, Guam and USA, even as China and India are reportedly preparing for full-scale war over a Himalayan border dispute.

Yet the Philippines is not alone in its concerns since it belongs to a single Asean Community, and Malacañan last August 9 issued Proclamation No. 282, which declared August of every year as Association of South East Asian Nations Month. With this, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered all government agencies, especially the Department of Trade and Industry, to initiate and implement programs and activities to help generate awareness and public support in the various business establishments. The country’s Chairmanship of the Asean this year coincided with the regional bloc’s 50th anniversary, which was celebrated in Manila last August 8. [http://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/duterte-declares-august-asean-month-set...

Back in 1992, Fidel V. Ramos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 11, declaring August 2-9 as “Asean Week,” in commemoration of the bloc’s 25th founding day. Then in 1997, he had Proclamation 1008 (August 7-13 every year as “Asean Week”) for the Association’s 30th anniversary.

President Ramos is commendable, too, for the initiative known as the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East Asean Growth Area.

August as History/Asean Month motivated us to check the Presidential State of the Nation Address for 1968, which said in part: “Only recently, we helped build the framework for progress through cooperation by joining, as one of five founding members, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The Asean as an instrument for economic advancement figured prominently in my discussions with the leaders of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. The promise of success that the Asean holds has confirmed the validity of the increased emphasis in our foreign policy on our relations with the rest of Asia.” [Source: Gov.ph]

In his SONA, Marcos also pointed out: “Our Asian identity has been further strengthened by our participation in the Asian Pacific Council. Concrete projects under the ASPAC, such as the Experts Services Register in Canberra, the Social and Cultural Centre in Seoul, and the Food and Fertilizer Bank, all designed to accelerate regional economic and material growth, are now in the final stages of implementation.” What was the final assessment of these institutions and projects?

Finally, August is “Buwan ng Wika” in the Philippines and we found Manuel L. Quezon’s Executive Order No. 134, c. 1937, Proclaiming The National Language Of The Philippines, and which designated the commissioners for the languages of Samar-Leyte Visayan, Ilocano, Cebu Visayan, Bicol, Panay Visayan, Moro, and Tagalog, constituting the Institute of National Language created under Commonwealth Act 184.

With all these, August is still treated as Ghost Month?
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