MANILA, Philippines - As the country commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Corregidor, the government only saw it fit to name the country’s second Navy warship after one of its heroes.
In his speech in Corregidor today, President Benigno Aquino III said: “As I was reviewing the names of our naval heroes, looking for a proper name for our second Hamilton Class Cutter, I read of a man named Ramon Alcaraz, who was commanding one of our three motor torpedo boats, known as Q-boats.”
Alcaraz was one of the many heroes who stood their ground when Japanese forces captured Corregidor, the site of the last epic battle made by Filipino soldiers and the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East) forces during the World War II.
Aquino said Alcaraz, who manned one of the torpedo boats, was able to take down three of nine Japanese “Zero” fighters before being captured.
Alcaraz became head of the prisoners of war at a camp in Malolos, making sure that he kept fellow POWs hopeful and alive, he said.
“Commodore Alcaraz was only one among many skilled men in uniform who have served our country. Many continue to follow in his footsteps; and we are determined to reward their patriotism with equal dedication. For certain, many more Commodore Alcarazes will rise from the ranks of our military,” Aquino said.
“We consider it our duty to ensure that their strength of spirit will be matched by boats, by weapons, and by sufficient training. This is the truest tribute we can offer to those who have laid down their lives: a nation capable of protecting itself; a nation that can say no sacrifice will be wasted,” he added.
The country’s first Hamilton Class Cutter is the BRP Gregorio del Pilar.
It was the first to protect the country’s sovereign rights over Scarborough Shoal.
The dispute there started in early April. The Philippine Navy, through the newly commissioned Hamilton Class Cutter, found eight Chinese fishing boats in the area and accused them of fishing illegally.