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To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March in April this year, former Philippine Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina Gabor, Chair of Capas Freedom March, made a presentation on “Bataan Freedom Run & Freedom Trail” on 24 February 2017 at the Philippine Consulate General before an audience of around fifty (50) Filipino and American World War II veterans and members of the Filipino community.

The twin events, the Bataan Freedom Run (BFR) and the Mariveles-San Fernando-Capas Freedom Trail, are being organized by the Philippine Veterans Bank, Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), and the Philippine Veterans Office to honor Filipino veterans of World War II veterans.

Slated on April 2, the BFR will feature a 42-kilometer full marathon, a 21-kilometer half-marathon as well as 10-kilometers, 5-kilometers, and 1-kilometer courses for running aficionados, kids, and pets. This year, the BFR will traverse part of the Bataan Death March and will happen and the Bataan Freeport area and Mariveles.

On the other hand, the Mariveles-San Fernando-Capas Freedom Trail will feature a 160-kilometer run with individual and team relay categories for marathoners, a similar-distanced bike relay run, and the Capas Freedom March. The new event will be held from 10 to 11 April and will cover the historic Death March route from Kilometer Zero in Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. Proceeds from the Bataan Freedom Run will be used for the maintenance of Death March markers located in Bataan province.

In his remarks, Acting Head of Post Roberto T. Bernardo said that while the commemoration of the sacrifices of Filipino American veterans are honored in Hawaii through the annual commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) in April, a very solemn event, and the two BFR and Capas Freedom Trail are more of festive sports and tourism-generating events, these events have one common goal of “commemorating the selfless service of our veterans during World War II and remember their sacrifices so that today’s generation would not forget their heroism”.

Hawaii Representative Romy Cachola also attended the event and informed the attendees of a draft legislation on the proposed creation of a Filipino Veterans Legacy Exhibit as a permanent exhibit at the Honolulu International Airport, which will preserve and share the legacy of Filipino veterans of World War II.

A question-and-answer segment followed the presentation. BFR and Capas Freedom March merchandise such as shirts and bags were also raffled off among the attendees. (END)