Tacloban City—Preparations are underway for the 75th Leyte Landing anniversary on Oct. 20 with the national government leading the activity backed by the local government.
Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said Thursday the provincial government expects President Rodrigo Duterte and other key officials to grace the occasion since the national government is this year’s host in commemorating the historic event that liberated the country from Japanese invasion.
“Release of budget meant to upgrade the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park has been delayed, but officials from the national and local governments were able to find ways to push for the rehabilitation project in time for the anniversary,” Petilla told reporters on Wednesday.
The central government leads the preparation through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Department of Tourism—Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.
The memorial park located in Candahug village in Palo town and facing the Leyte Gulf was badly damaged by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
Improvement activities in the park started in December last year and include landscaping, construction of a view deck, amphitheater, and visitor center across the park, as well as improvement of the lights and sound system.
This is the first improvement and beautification of the MacArthur Park after 25 years.
One of the structures in the memorial park that is undergoing rehabilitation is the Eternal Flame built for the 50th Leyte Landing commemoration. The Eternal Flame features solidarity messages of leaders of countries involved in the Battle of Leyte Gulf during World War II led by the United States against Japanese forces.
Additional improvement of the park includes the construction of a two-story building for coconut juice vendors located a few meters away from MacArthur Park.
Pathways will be constructed along the tree park for people to enjoy walking under its shade.
A small bridge will also connect the Leyte Oriental Hotel and McArthur Park to give easy access to hotel guests who wanted to visit the memorial park.
The MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park is situated on a 6.78-hectare land in Candahug village in Palo town that features seven double-life-size bronze statues on a man-made pool depicting the arrival of McArthur in Leyte province.
The bronze statue, inaugurated during the 37th anniversary of the Leyte Landing Commemoration in 1981, was created by famous sculptor Anastacio Tanchauco Caedo. His other works include the Benigno Aquino Monument and the Bonifacio Monument in Pugad Lawin, Balintawak.
MacArthur Park was declared a national park on July 12, 1977, through Letter of Instructions No. 572 signed by then president Ferdinand Marcos.
The site is the same spot where Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived after the largest naval battle of World War II and Japan’s eventual defeat and surrender in 1944.