MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute on Thursday to Filipino soldiers who fought in the Korean War on the 70th anniversary of the battle.
South Korea owes a debt of gratitude to more than 7,400 Filipinos shipped to the Korean peninsula beginning in 1950 to defend Seoul from invasion by North Korea. Of this number, 112 died in action.
"...We honor the Filipinos and soldiers of all nations who fought valiantly in that war. There is no other way," Duterte said in his message.
"From the great Battle of Yultong to the Battle of Eerie Hill, Filipinos never faltered in defending freedom and the democratic way of life," he added.
The Philippine leader expressed hopes that those who died in the Korean War would inspire everyone "to rise together jointly in solidarity."
"We must recognize bravery is not easy to muster. We must remember heroism very seldom seen, and we must reaffirm values so sacred. They form the bedrock of our special bilateral ties," Duterte said.
Among Filipino veterans of the Korean War is former president Fidel V. Ramos.
Ties between the Philippines and South Korea have spanned seven decades, cemented by Manila's deployment of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) during the Korean War.
This year's commemoration of the Korean War comes amid heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula, with the North blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border earlier this month.