US confers Congressional Gold Medal replica to 19 war veterans

CAPAS, Tarlac — United States (US) conferred a Bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) to 19 Filipino World War II veterans during the 2019 Paggunita sa Capas.

US Department of Veteran Affairs Director Tracey A. Betts, assisted by Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina, led the awarding to Pvt. Modesto N Baligat, Pvt. Jose M Pagaduan, Pvt. Ismael S Payumo, Cpl. Juan T Sembrano, Pvt. Carmelita B Domingo, Pfc. Alfonso P Arconado, Pvt. Marino F Mata, and Pvt. Rufo C Sibug.

Also to Pvt. Silverio O Bueno, Pfc. Aurora D Caragay, Pvt. Eufemio B Carlos, Cpl. Felino D Gutierrez, Pvt. Lorenzo S Tria, Pvt Timoteo G Alquero, Pfc Pan D Digo, and Pvt. Paulino I Tacliad.

Posthumous recognitions were likewise given to Col. Alfredo E Batenga Sr., Maj. Luis F Bersamin, and M/Sgt. Marcial M Morales.

“The CGM is a breakthrough recognition granted to Filipino World War II veterans as then President Barack Obama signed on December 16, 2016 the Filipino Veterans of World War II CGM Act. The Act awards a CGM collectivelyto the Filipino veterans, the highest civilian honor, for the distinguished achievements and contributions for the US during the war,” Betts said.

“The original CGM can be viewed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Today’s replicas were presented to living veterans as well as family members of those deceased in recognition of their valor,” Betts added. 

Paggunita sa Capas is part of the annual observance of Philippine Veterans Week which honors the bravery of war veterans.

This year’s commemoration carries the theme “Sakripisyo ng Beterano ay Gunitain, Gawing Tanglaw ng Kabataan Tungo sa Kaunlaran.”

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