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21/06/2017: EMBASSY “TALAKAYAN” FOCUSES ON PRESERVING PH WORLD WAR II RECORDS

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-038-2017
21 June 2017

Historical Researcher Marie Vallejo (1st row, 4th from right) is the featured speaker at the Talakayan sa Pasuguan entitled “Preserving World War II Records of the Philippines: Digitization of the Philippine Collection” held at the Philippine Embassy on 20 June 2017. Also shown in the photo are Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto (2nd row, center), Embassy Public Diplomacy Officer Darell Artates (1st row, 2nd from right), Veterans Service Officer Fred Cabalsi (1st row, 2nd from left), Filipino World War II Veteran Ray Cabacar (1st row, center), renowned community leader Jon Melegrito (1st row, 3rd from right), and other guests from the Filipino community of Metro DC.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “More than seventy (70) years since World War II ended, there remains a big knowledge gap in accounting for the role of Filipinos in the Pacific theater of the war. Generations of Filipino students have gone through their history lessons without being enlightened about the true extent of the heroism of Filipino World War II veterans,” said Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy as he opened the Talakayan sa Pasuguan entitled “Preserving World War II Records of the Philippines: Digitization of the Philippine Collection” held at the Philippine Embassy on 20 June 2017.

Ms. Marie Vallejo, a historical researcher, author and daughter of a Filipino WWII veteran was the featured speaker at the event.

Ms. Vallejo, in partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) under the Philippine Department of National Defense, and the Filipino Veterans Foundation, Incorporated, spearheaded the project of digitizing the Philippine Collection, or the “guerilla recognition files”, of the US National Archives beginning in 2015.

More than 1,600 boxes of records of World War II history that contain information about the individuals who fought, military operations, guerilla warfare and guerilla activities, personal histories and diaries, medical and death reports, among others, are in the Philippine Archives Collection of the US National Archives.

The digitization project aims to preserve these Philippine World War II records, disseminate them for research purposes and as teaching materials, and instill a sense of nationalism through the stories of the Filipino resistance.

“Funding for the project was found to bring back scanned copies and share them with the world. That would bring out the deeds of those who resisted, fought and lived during those dark times and that the Filipino soldier played a valuable role in the retaking of their homeland,” Ms. Vallejo emphasized in her presentation.

“This would instill national pride especially when what happened to fathers and grandfathers are found during those sad but courageous years.  And significantly, these records may affect what we now know of our World War II history,” she further added.

A brief discussion followed Ms. Vallejo’s presentation.

Ms. Vallejo fielded questions from the audience on how Philippine schools are receiving the project and how to access the records database. Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetRep) Chairman, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), also provided a brief update on the minting of the Congressional Gold Medal for the Filipino World War II veterans. Mr. Jon Melegrito of FilVetRep moderated the discussion.

The first phase of the digitization project was successfully finished and launched in 2016, while a second team is working on scanning the rest of over 1,000 boxes for its second phase, to be incorporated and made available by early next year.

The scanned records may be accessed through PVAO’s website at http://collections.pvao.mil.ph/. ###

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-58-2017
21 June 2017

Ms. Marie Vallejo, historical researcher, is the featured speaker at the Talakayan sa Pasuguan entitled “Preserving World War II Records of the Philippines: Digitization of the Philippine Collection” held at the Philippine Embassy on 20 June 2017.