150 US soldiers burned alive in WWII to be honored on 70th year of Palawan Liberation

interphoto_1428563166PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – About 150 American soldiers burned alive in Palawan toward the end of World War II will be honored in the 70th anniversary celebration of the liberation of Palawan on April 21 to 23.

Deborah Tan, president of the Palawan Tourism Council, said some 200 people from the United States and the Philippines are expected to attend the commemoration, and join the cultural and historical familiarization tour.

One of their destinations is Plaza Cuartel. On 14 December 1944, the American prisoners of war were led by their Japanese Imperial Army Kempe-Tai captors to the Cuartel’s air-raid shelters. Once the American POWs were inside the tunnels, the Japanese soldiers poured gasoline onto the tunnels, and set the American soldiers on fire with flaming torches.

Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa City. JOJO VITUG

As they were engulfed in flames, the American POWs broke out of the tunnels, but the Japanese guards either gunned them down or decapitated them with the bayonet, or clubbed them to death.

Only 11 survived the ordeal by swimming to the Iwahig Island across the sea.

The remains of those who died were brought and buried in St. Louis County in a common grave in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri, USA in 1952.

Interestingly, the surrender of Japan was signed on the USS Missouri. JOJO VITUG

In September 009, the Palawan Massacre Monument was built at Plaza Cuartel to honor the American soldiers who were massacred there. It was the fulfillment of then Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn’s promise to World War II POW and survivor Don Schloat, who created the monument.

Aside from the Cuartel, another destination in the cultural and historical familiarization tour is the Palawan Special Battalion Museum.

The Palawan Special Battalion Museum. JOJO VITUG

Museum owner and manager Higinio “Buddy” Mendoza Jr., father of former actor and Puerto Princesa Councilor Matthew Mendoza, shows off the notes of thanks he receive for building the museum.

Museum owner and manager Higinio “Buddy” Mendoza Jr. bought this Japanese flag, on which Japanese soldiers wrote their goodbyes to their loved ones as the war drew to a close. JOJO VITUG

People from all over the world have visited the museum and the flags represent the nationalities of the visitors. JOJO VITUG

Veronica Uy

Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/109135/150-us-soldiers-burned-alive-in-wwii-to-be-honored-on-70th-year-of-palawan-liberation

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