MAKATI CITY – In its continuous commitment to serve and honor the country’s WWII veterans and stockholders, Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) recognized four (4) centenarians during its recent virtual stockholders’ meeting.
Witnessed by around 500 stockholder’s including the Bank’s Board of Directors and management, among the living legends honored were Veteran Nicolas Bitun Cabalang, 104 years from Balanga City, Bataan, and Veteran Doroteo R. Rivera, 103 years old living in Solsana, Ilocos Norte. Both received a certificate of recognition and cash from PVB.
During the defense of the country against the invasion of Japan 1941-1942, Private First Class Nicolas Bitun Cabalangwas assigned to Lingayen Gulf and the Manila Bay Area. During the Battle of Bataan, he was stationed at the Pilar-Bagac line with the 11th Division.
After the surrender of the Filipino & American forces in Bataan and Corregidor, Cabalang continued to fight against the Japanese occupation forces joining the guerrillas under the Bataan Military District. His unit performed a variety of operations in the province of Bataan to weaken the Japanese influence over the area. He was honorably discharged on January 17, 1946 during the demobilization period of the guerrilla units.
Another USAFFE veteran, Doroteo R. Riveraenlisted in the Philippine Army and was inducted into the USAFFE in 1941. Veteran Rivera also fought and opposed the Japanese amphibious landings in the Philippines, and fought in the Battle of Bataan until the surrender of the conventional forces.
Veteran Rivera however would continue opposing the Japanese forces and join the 15th Infantry Regiment of the United States Armed Forces of the Philippines – Northern Luzon or USAFIP-NL. Armed with his .50 caliber rifle, Veteran Rivera took on various operations in Northern Luzon, particularly in the Ilocos Region. During the liberation of the Philippines, Veteran Rivera also took part in the historic Battle of Bessang Pass which resulted in the crucial victory of the Allied forces, paving the way to the defeat and eventual surrender of General Yamashita. He was honorably discharged from the military service in April 1946.
These WWII living heroes’ contributions and gallantry during the war have made a lasting and indelible mark in Philippine military history. Their selfless sacrifices for the love of country will serve as guiding inspiration to the Filipinos, to uphold the values of our race, and to protect and fight for our nation’s freedom whatever may be the cost.