ILOILO CITY, March 18 (PNA) — Six living World War II veterans in Panay island, who are now above 90 years old, were recognized during the 72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon, Saturday.

Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) administrator Retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, during his speech, underscored the contribution of the veterans who, for the love of the country, have sacrificed, offered their lives and made significant mark in the history of the country, which serves as inspiration to the Filipino youth today.

Among those who received plaques and medals of recognition for their service during the World War II was Sergeant Eladio Macasar Peñaranda, turning 94 years old this July, is a native of Iloilo City. He joined the 6th Military District on Sept. 25, 1942 and participated in cordoning the Balabago-Bito-on line during the battle for the liberation of Iloilo City.

Private First Class (PFC) Cornelio Lustre Areño , 96 years old, was born in Lambunao, Iloilo. Areño was enlisted on Feb. 13, 1943 and participated in the Liberation of Iloilo City and in the mopping up operations in the mountains towns of Alimodian, Leon and Maasin in Iloilo province that eliminated a good number of enemies.

Sergeant Ambrosio Alfeche Ambut, turning 99 this December, is a native of Alimodian, Iloilo. He participated in the Guerilla general offensive during the Liberation of Iloilo City, also in the conduct of aggressive offensive assault that resulted in the capture of Pamul-ogan Hill.

PFC Loreto Laru-an Lazo, turning 99 years old this April 12, is a native of Lambunao, Iloilo. Lazo was enlisted as a heavy truck driver on Feb. 25, 1941 and was assigned to the company “A”, 14th Engineers, Philippine Scout and served with “D” company, 1st battalion.

His unit participated in the Liberation of Panay and was also responsible in for the capture of Tering Landing Field in Iloilo province.

In an interview, Lazo recalled his war experiences and how he survived it.

“If I will be asked if I want to go back and experience again the war I have lived before, never,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, PFC Ramon Atintar Oro, turning 100 years old this May, joined the guerilla movement on Sept. 15, 1942 and was assigned to the “G4 61stGuerilla (F23)” who fought the Japanese forces during the Second World War. His unit also participated in strategic assaults against the enemies and was instrumental in the liberation of Iloilo City in March 1945.

PVT Fernando Alintitud Alecto, turning 100 years old this December, is a native of Dingle, Iloilo. His unit largely contributed in eliminating the enemies when the US 40th division went ashore on Panay and was instrumental in the liberation of the capital city Iloilo late March 1945 and the subsequent attack on the strong enemy garrison at San Jose.

He was also part of an ambush unit in Buenavista, Guimaras that wiped out an entire enemy detachment, including its commander.

Aside from certificates, those who will reach 100 years this year will be given Php50,000 incentive.

The celebration of the Liberation Day here was held at Balantang Memorial Cemetery National Shrine, Jaro Iloilo City.

Also present during the celebration were Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. (PNA)