75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landings
Solidarity Message by Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO
20 October 2019, Palo, Leyte
- Hon Hermogenes Esperon Jr - National Security Adviser
- Hon Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Governor of the Province of Leyte
- Hon Frances Ann Petilla, Mayor of the Municipality of Palo
- Hon Ernesto Carolina, Undersecretary, Philipine Veterans Affairs Office
- Justice Maniel Pamaran (Ret), CHairman Board of Trustees of Veterans World War II
- Fellow members of the diplomatic corps
- Officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
- Veterans, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Maupay nga aga ha iyo ngatanan!
I am honoured to be here this morning as we commemorate the sacrifice of those who began the immense task of liberating the Philippines 75 years ago.
Among the liberation forces who fought on the soil, in these seas, and in the skies above us, were 4,000 Australian service personnel, 92 of whom died during the liberation campaign. I am pleased that Australia’s contribution is now recognised by a solemn memorial, situated directly behind me, that was officially dedicated during the 70th anniversary of the landing.
We are grateful to the office of veterans affairs and our friends in the armed forces of the Philippines and to the local government of Leyte for ensuring that Australia’s part in the allied victory, here and throughout the Pacific, continues to be respectfully and graciously acknowledge.
I would like to especially acknowledge those veterans of the Leyte campaign who are here with us today. Your selflessness, commitment and valour serve as timeless example to us all. On behalf of all who now enjoy the peace you helped to win, I thank you with the utmost sincerity for your sacrifice.
The great battle in the pacific serves as a timeless reminder that the success of military coalition operations ultimately rests on shared values. It also reminds us that we must always be ready to work or fight together, whenever and wherever duty calls.
Such a close spirit of cooperation is at the heart of the close relationship that still exists today between the Australian Defence Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines - and indeed with other allies and friends represented here today.
Right now there are Australian troops here in the Philippines training with their Philippine counterparts against current threats to our common freedom and security. Although the nature of the challenges we face will always continue to evolve, the importance of cooperating closely in our response never diminishes.
In closing, allow me to thank the local government of Leyte and the people of Tacloban and Palo for your generous hospitality every year as you welcome back the veterans and those who come to remember.
Salamat at Mabuhay!