Fil-Ams to Depict Real Story of Bataan and Filipinos in WWII

/ 05:16 AM March 08, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. –An arts organization and this city’s public library will depict “the real story of World War II” and the major role of Filipinos in the conflict through a multimedia program entitled “Bataan Legacy.”

The San Francisco Public Library and Artis Mundi will present “Bataan Legacy on Sunday, May 5, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium at the main San Francisco Public Library at 100 Larkin Street. Doors will open at 1:30PM. Admission is free. The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center of the San Francisco Arts Commission is also supporting the event.


The multimedia presentation combines theatre, film, music, photographs and spoken word to depict stories of World War II in the Philippines. Cecilia Gaerlan, playwright and author of In Her Mother’s Image, will make the presentation. Her a novel and stage play is set during World War II in the Philippines and portrays the emotional toll of war.

Legislators as well as various supporters of Filipino WWII veterans will be among the speakers. Several Bataan veterans will speak about their war experiences. Fred Basconcillo, former president of the Ironworkers Local 790 for 17 years and a labor movement pioneer will emcee.


Gaerlan’s In Her Mother’s Image has served as a springboard for Artis Mundi, which uses theater for social change, using works based on history. It is part of the Bataan Legacy Project.

Organizers of the event believe that the men of Bataan fought a fierce and bitter battle that disrupted the timetable of the Japanese occupation, enabling the Allied Forces to harness the resources that turned the tide of war in the Pacific. Yet, they stated, the veterans’ place in history “has been ignored, derided and even maligned.”

Five months after the war ended, President Harry Truman in 1946 rescinded the promised benefits for the Filipino veterans, and to this day these have not been fully restored. A recent decision by the ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the veterans’ claims. The handful of veterans still alive and may soon pass on without receiving recognition for their service.

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TAGS: drama, Fall of Bataan, Filipino soldiers, Filipino WWII Veterans, novels, San Francisco Public Library events, theater
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