(Photo by Nadine Anne M. Deang/ The Varsitarian)

UNITED States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim on Monday led rites marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Manila and the liberation of the Santo Tomas Internment Camp at the end of World War 2.

“The people interned here were in unbelievable hardship and yet in the midst of all those despair and tragedy, emerged stories of hope, compassion, courage and friendship,” he added. “Today we remember and pay tribute to the people who bonded together and fought side by side right here 75 years ago becoming allies for freedom.”

“The best way for us to honor them is by taking our relationship forward, by seizing opportunities to strengthen our partnership and taking on future challenges together as friends, partners and allies,” he added.

UST is an important World War 2 historical site, as it became an internment camp for some 3,700 foreigners, mostly Americans and British, who were trapped in Manila at the outbreak of the Pacific war. The internees suffered from hunger and malnutrition. The death toll reached 465.

The US envoy cited the longstanding relationship between the US and Philippines, stressing its importance in keeping peace in the Pacific region.

“The alliance remains as important today as it was 75 years ago as we work together to respond to humanitarian disasters, counter-terrorism and keep the Pacific region free and open for all nations,” Kim said.

The commemoration of the liberation of the Santo Tomas Internment Camp kicked off with a military silent drill performed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Drill Exhibition Team.

Undersecretary for Defense Policy Ricardo David Jr and Brigadier General Restituto Aguilar attended the UST rites.

Former internee Leslie Ann Murray of the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment Inc. and Francisco Colayco shared stories of the internment camp.

Colayco is the son of guerrilla fighter Manuel Colayco, who was killed at the gate of UST as he guided the American forces sent to liberate the campus from Japanese control.


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