Philippine Embassy, Canberra
1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
www.philembassy.org.au *Tel. No. 02-6273-2535*
Ambassador De La Vega pays tribute to PH and AU WWII sacrifices at the site of General Macarthur's "I shall return" speech
23 March 2023, ADELAIDE – Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega spoke of the enduring ties of the Philippines and Australia during the ceremony that marked the 81st anniversary of the visit of US General Douglas MacArthur to Terowie in South Australia on 22 March 1942.
It was at the railway station in Terowie where General MacArthur uttered the famous words, “I came out of Bataan and I shall return.” These words resonate to all Filipinos and are well covered in world and military history. Ambassador De La Vega was invited by Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism and Senator for South Australia the Honorable Don Farrell to Terowie to visit the MacArthur memorial and join the community in observing the occasion that demonstrated the shared history of the Philippines, Australia and the United States.
According to Senator Farrell, “Australia has a rich history of comradeship in the Asia Pacific region with a commitment to promoting the virtues of freedom and liberty – virtues which have shaped our relationship with the United States, the Republic of the Philippines and their people.” In her remarks, the Ambassador explained how the defense of Bataan during the second world war delayed the Japanese timetable and allowed Allied Forces to regroup in Australia for the eventual retaking of Japanese occupied lands in Southeast Asia. The Ambassador said, “Australia lost lives for the liberation of the Philippines. The Philippines lost lives to keep Australia safe.”
The ceremony was hosted by South Australia Minister for Veterans Affairs Geoff Brock MP and included remarks of US Embassy Defense Attache Col Shane Gries, The Advertiser Editor Gemma Jones and Regional Council of Goyder Mayor Bell Gebhardt. A note addressed to Senator Farrell from Arthur, son of General MacArthur who was with him in the Philippines and Australia, was read where he said, “This commemoration at Terowie brings into focus his promise to the people of the Philippines that they would not be forgotten but would be liberated in World War II.” The Governor of South Australia, H.E. the Honourable Frances Adamson, also attended the event and led the wreath-laying ceremony at the MacArthur memorial. – END