By Mike Baños
The City Government of Cagayan de Oro together with the kin of our World War II veterans mark the 81st anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s arrival in Cagayan on March 13, 1942 with a simple program and turnover at the MacArthur Memorial at Barangay Macabalan.
The highlight of the program will be the signing of the Deed of Donation and official turnover of a 1/24 scale historically accurate, museum quality model of PT-41, the boat which brought Gen. MacArthur and his party from Corregidor to Cagayan on March 11-13, 1942.
This project was crowd funded by the sons and daughters of World War II veterans together with other benefactors including Philippine Veterans Bank, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, UC-1 Corporation, Bgy. 21 Chairperson Gilda Go, and others.
The scale model is the closest facsimile of how PT-41 looked like when it arrived at Macabalan Wharf at 7AM of Friday, 13 March 1942 based on research conducted by the project initiators with the guidance of eminent scholars including Prof. Ricardo Jose of the UP Diliman Department of History, who is considered the Philippines foremost authority on World War II History, Peter Parsons, son of Cmdr. Charles “Chick” Parson who headed the SpyRon Operations whose submarines supplied guerrillas with arms, ammunition, medicine, and other essentials and set up an intelligence network which made MacArthur’s return to the Philippines easier; and James Zobel, archivist of the MacArthur Museum in Cagayan de Oro’s sister city at Norfolk, Virginia.
Another key contributor to the project is Albert Parker Ross II who provided the model build team of Desi Reyes and Albert Labrador with the plans for the PT-41 (PT-20 series) which enabled them to execute an accurate reproduction of the original boat. Al Ross is the author of many books on PT-Boats. More significant, however, his father, Albert Parker Ross Sr was the quartermaster aboard PT-34, one of the four PT boats which accompanied the MTB Squadron 3 flotilla led by Lt. John Bulkeley’s PT-41 from Corregidor to Cagayan.
City Mayor Roland “Klarex” A. Uy will lead the ceremonial signing of the Deed of Donation and unveiling of the scale model. Also expected to join the city hall contingent are officials from the City Council, City Mayor’s Office, Office of the City Administrator, City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, City Information Office, Historical and Cultural Commission, and Cagayan de Oro City Museum.
Misamis Oriental Governor Peter M. Unabia has also been invited to join the program since many of the families of the guerrillas who helped crowd fund the project also come from Misamis Oriental.
Also expected to join today’s program are officials from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP); the Sons and Daughters Association, Inc. (SDAI), an affiliate organization of the VFP; the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), US Embassy-Manila, and 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division.