MAY 2017

By Jon D. Melegrito



..."Honoring Filipino World War II soldiers"

...continued from index page

As a member of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP), my personal interest is to collect as many stories about our veterans, notably their own experiences during the war. FilVetREP plans to develop a digital educational program, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, which will be accessible to public classrooms and libraries all over America.

I’m proud to say I am a descendant of heroes (my dad and four uncles) who were all Bataan Death March survivors and lived to tell their tales before they died. Two of my uncles escaped from the march on the fifth day and were able to evade capture. They later formed guerrilla units in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, close to their home towns. In addition to engaging Japanese occupiers, they provided valuable intelligence to Gen. McArthur’s headquarters. My Uncle Gil Dizon also raided rice granaries controlled by the Japanese in his hometown of Guimba and distributed cavans of rice to starving people in towns and barrios.

At the 75th commemoration program held at the Philippine Embassy following the wreath-laying, Ronnie Nieva of Chevy Chase, Maryland was among dozens of family members of veterans who attended. She had given me a copy earlier of her father’s book, “Cadet, Soldier, Guerrilla Fighter: Remembering Bataan and Corregidor.”


Antonio A. Nieva served as intelligence officer of the Philippine Army in Bataan. When Bataan fell, he was among the 75,000 prisoners who were forced to walk from Mariviles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. He was paroled after months in a POW camp but returned to fight as a guerrilla.

After the War, Nieva completed his law degree and practiced corporate law for many years. During the repressive years of martial law, he fought for the rights and welfare of World War II veterans. Before he died in 1992, he was able to write his war memoirs. They were later published into a book in 1997. A later edition, which includes new chapters and illustrations, came out early this year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.

“I never learned about their daring, courage and shared adventures until the publication of this book,” says daughter Ronnie. “I will always treasure their legacy of fighting and dying for honor, duty and country.”

I hope more books like this are published and disseminated widely. I certainly plan to write one about my dad and uncles, and I encourage others to do the same. We must keep their memories alive and preserve their stories for posterity.




Featured Sponsors

completely free