Al Perez (FWN100 Keeper of the Flame) and Ruth Asmundson (Global FWN100™ '14) Joins Delegation in Fight to Include Contributions of Filipinos in WWII into California Education Curriculum

The Filipino delegation to the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee (SMC) of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) in Sacramento led by Bataan Legacy Historical Society executive director Cecile Gaerlan and Filipino American Arts Exposition President Al Perez, among others. (Left-Right) Rick Villarina, Cecilia Gaerlan, Manuel Bella, Al Perez, Gemma De Ocampo, Robert Hansen, Ray Cordoba and Jeanette Adi. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO. Courtesy of The Inquirer.net

The Filipino delegation to the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee (SMC) of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) in Sacramento led by Bataan Legacy Historical Society executive director Cecile Gaerlan and Filipino American Arts Exposition President Al Perez, among others. (Left-Right) Rick Villarina, Cecilia Gaerlan, Manuel Bella, Al Perez, Gemma De Ocampo, Robert Hansen, Ray Cordoba and Jeanette Adi. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO. Courtesy of The Inquirer.net

The 17-person delegation that trooped to Sacramento recently to press for the inclusion of the role of Filipino soldiers in World War II in California’s school curriculum hoped to get good news. They were somewhat disappointed.

The delegation led by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS) was ready to defend its prepared and submitted comments on the History-Social Science Framework Second Field Review Draft approved by the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) on November 2015.

It planned to have its presence felt and its voice heard, especially as the 74th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan neared.

The delegation included Filipino American Arts Exposition President and FWN100 Keeper of the Flame Al Perez; Ruth Asmundson (Global FWN100 '14); BLHS board members Major (Retired) Rick Villarina (Air Force) and Robert Hansen; former Lowell High School Dean Ray Cordoba; retired Judge Betty Bucat and Consul Reginald Bernabe, among others.

Suggested changes not taken up

As later recounted by BLHS Executive Director Cecilia Gaerlan, to California Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil (U.S. FWN100™ '07), the meeting “was a complex discussion of the recommended changes and there was not much deliberation by the committee and the CHSSP about the changes that we requested.”

Gaerlan reported though that “the Committee recommended two salient points:  that the phrase ‘American soldiers and their Filipino allies’ be changed to ‘American and Filipino soldiers of the U.S. Army’ and to include the word ‘strategic’ before the word ‘retreat’ in lines 705-706 as this was part of War Plan Orange 3.”

The BLHS educational steering committee had recommended seven changes, including the statement that “Despite suffering from massive diseases and starvation and fighting without any air support, the USAFFE troops performed a delaying action that disrupted the timetable of the Imperial Japanese Army of 52 days, defending Bataan for 99 days,” and that “on March 12, 1942, General MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia,” with the deletion that MacArthur uttered the words “I shall return” that they claim “does not add value to the framework and only continues to mystify General MacArthur.”

These recommendations were given letters of support by Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, Hydra Mendoza, Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education, Fiona Ma, Chairwoman, State Board of Equalization and one of the sponsors of AB199, Philippine Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr., Major General Antonio Taguba, Major General Eldon Regua, among other personalities, community leaders and organizations.

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