In partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), The Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) kicks off the 77th year commemoration of the Bataan Death March with the Freedom Trail March that runs from March 2 to 3, 2019.
The Freedom Trail March is a two-day event that traces the 140 kilometers actual route of the Bataan Death March. The event aims to instill the values of Bravery, Sacrifice, and Love for Country. The Freedom Trail March is expected to gather around participants from the Philippines and other countries. US and Filipino military and police units along with other civilians are among this year’s marchers.
Veterans Bank’s Freedom Trail March honors Filipino World War II heroes and survivors by traversing the trails while retracing the steps of our fallen heroes during the Bataan Death March.
“It is our generation’s responsibility to continue remembering and honoring the bravery and heroism of our veterans during the war. It is our commitment to making sure that the next generations will never forget and always remember what our heroes endured during the Bataan Death March,” said Mike Villa-Real, Head of Veterans Bank’s Marketing Communications Division.
The Death March, considered as one of the darkest days in Philippine History, is the forcible transfer of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POW) from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac. The prisoners were loaded onto box cars in San Fernando, Pampanga. The transfer began on April 9, 1942, and left thousands dead and seriously wounded after enduring torture under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.
The Death March route stretches from Mariveles in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac via San Fernando, Pampanga. The total distance covered was from 96 to 112 kms.
The Freedom Trail March will commence midnight on March 1, 2019, at KM Zero in Mariveles Bataan and expected to end at 5:00 pm on March 3, 2019, at the Capas National Shrine in Capas Tarlac. There will be several stops along the route. Participants can join at any point of the trail. Special performances will be done by re-enactors at the San Fernando Train Station and Capas National Shrine on March 3.
This year’s event also includes a competitive bike tour dubbed as the“Ride for Valor,” which will be held on March 10 from Kilometer Zero in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. The Bataan Freedom Fun is the final event that concludes the commemoration activities.
Bataan Freedom Run will be held on April 14, 2019. Running enthusiasts are invited to register for the event. The route will start at the Balanga Capitol up to Mt. Samat. The event includes a 21-kilometer half-marathon, 10 kilometers, five kilometers, and 1-kilometer courses, for all types of sports enthusiasts and runners from all ages as well as pets.
Since 2014, the Philippine Veterans Bank, with PVAO, the Provincial Government of Bataan, along with other partners, have held the Bataan Freedom Run in honor of WWII veterans who endured the death march in 1942.
Proceeds from the activities will be used for the restoration and maintenance of historical markers along the route of the Bataan Death March.
To register and find out more, visit the Facebook pages of the Bataan Freedom Run and the Veterans Bank Freedom Trail.