The Words of the Ame Family

UPKMF Visits Philippines - Marching Together for Peace

Ria Ame
June 10-12, 2007
Manila Philippines

In time for the celebration of the 109th year of the Philippine Independence Day, the United Nations Peace Forces of the Korean War Memorial Federation (UPKMF) visited the country from June 10-12 2007 in order to honor the Filipino War Veterans and to strengthen the cooperation between Korea and the Philippines in their pursuit for peace and unification. Four members of the UPKMF including three staff came to the country to commemorate how the Philippines supported the Korean soldiers during the Korean War in the fifties. Together with the US forces, the Philippines was one of the other 15 UN members which aided Korea at that time.

UPKMF delegates included Dr. Dae O. Son, President of PWPA and VP of UPKMF; Lt. General (Rt.) Sun Min Lee, Chief of ROKA Reform Committee and UPKMF Secretary General; Maj. Gen. (Rt.) Jae Hwan Sim, Chief of Military History Center of the ROK Army and Col. Chang Ha Jang, Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense.

June 10, 2007

On their first day in Manila, they were welcomed by Dr. Michael G. Zablan at the airport and they immediately proceeded to the Manila Hotel where they were billeted. Then they proceeded to the Sofitel Hotel (formerly known as the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel) where they were treated to a sumptuous lunch. In the afternoon, the delegation got a taste of the Filipino culture and architecture during the Spanish Era when they toured the Walled City of Intramuros. Riding on a calesa, they strolled along the streets of Intramuros and visited Fort Santiago and the San Agustin Church Museum.

In the evening, they had a welcome dinner at Kalde-Kaldero, Ihaw Ihaw Bakahan at Manukan together with some Filipino war veterans, leaders of the UM Philippines and other VIPs. There, they experienced authentic Filipino cooking and live entertainment.

June 11, 2007

Wreath-Laying at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

At exactly 8:00 am, the Korean delegates joined in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Libingan ng mga Bayani at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Manila. During the ceremony, a gun salute was given to honor the unsung Filipino soldiers who shed their blood for the cause of independence. All the delegates paid their respect to those who died during the war. As a sign of their recognition and gratitude to the valor and heroism of the departed Filipino soldiers, they offered a wreath of flowers on their tombs.

Luncheon Banquet at the Manila Hotel

At 12:00 noon, a luncheon banquet in honor of the Filipino war veterans who fought during the Korean War was held at the Polkabal Hall of the Manila Hotel. A total of 180 guests composed of 41 war veterans together with their families as well as other men in uniform and other VIPs came to grace the event. His Excellency Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, also came to give his congratulatory remarks to the UPKMF delegates as well as to the war veterans who participated in the occasion.

Col. Paterno Viloria (Ret), Director of PEFTOK Integrated Securities, Inc. together with Engr. Celestino Navalta hosted the program. The program started with the welcome and introduction of the Korean Delegation and with the singing of the Philippine and Korean National Anthems. General Efordito Magno, solemnly offered the invocation and it was followed by the welcome remarks delivered by BGen. Florencio Magsino, Chairman of the UM National Steering Committee. In his speech, he warmly received the UPKMF delegates as well as all the war veterans and the other prominent guests who graced the occasion. Dr. Christopher Kim, Continental Director of Unification Movement-Asia, also greeted everyone in the audience.

As everyone was taking their lunch, they were serenaded by a series of song numbers from Ms. Fame Fortuna Flores, Ms. Kissa Viaje and Dr. Rustica Carpio, a professor at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, who used to be an actress during the time of the Korean War. After everyone has taken their lunch, a video presentation on the history of the Korean War was shown to the audience. In that video, the Philippines’ role as one of the 16 nations which supported Korea during the war was highlighted. It also explained how Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Movement, has strongly initiated and supported the UPKMF project.

Representing PEFTOK Veterans Association. Inc. (PVAI), Gen. Victor Azada (Ret), Acting President of PVAI, gave his greetings to the Koreans and to the war veterans and other guests in the audience. In his message, he affirmed the good relationship that the nations of Korea and the Philippines have had in the past until the present. In addition to that, he wished for the continuous cooperation between the two countries in the future. His speech was followed by the greetings of Gen. Sun Min Lee, Secretary General of UPKMF, who also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Filipino war veterans who aided Korea during the war.

Everyone stood in ovation when His Excellency Fidel V. Ramos delivered his congratulatory address. In his speech, Ramos praised the bravery and heroism of the Filipino war veterans. He sincerely thanked and congratulated the UPKMF and the Unification Movement for bringing together the Filipino war veterans and their Korean counterparts. Lightheartedly, Ramos described how the Philippines and Korea are doing well by saying "Korea is okay, Philippines is okay". Right after his speech, he was presented the Ambassadors for Peace Award for his invaluable contributions for the cause of peace and international harmony. UPKMF also presented him a plaque of appreciation.

The Filipino war veterans who were in attendance also received gifts and plaques of recognition from the UPKMF. As they were on stage, Korean and Filipino war veterans embraced each other in the spirit of brotherhood. Lastly, the Universal Peace Federation-Philippines presented some gifts and certificates of appreciation to the four UPKMF delegates for being instrumental in the strengthening of the cooperation between Korea and the Philippines.

After the presentation of gifts and certificates, Dr. Dae O. Son delivered the closing remarks upholding the things that have been said by previous speakers. He rallied the audience to work together to create peace and to never forget the sacrifices done by our Filipino soldiers. In closing, he greeted everyone "Mabuhay" and wished everyone many happy returns.

To cap the event, everyone in the audience posed for a souvenir photo.

With reports from Ria Ame

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