Labor leader wins US Congress medal
from October 25, 2019 01:00 am to October 25, 2019 01:00 am
The late Democrito Mendoza—war veteran, labor leader, lawyer, and founder of Cebu-based Menca Development Corp.—was among 40 Filipino World War II veterans who recently received the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by the US Congress.
The family of Mendoza received the award, conferred by American lawmakers last Aug. 29, last Oct. 21 at the BTW World War II Museum and Veterans Center in Taguig City, in a ceremony led by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.
The event dovetailed with the recent 75th anniversary rites of the Leyte Landing, when US General Douglas McArthur and then-Philippine President Sergio Osmeña landed on the shores of Leyte Gulf near the town of Palo to retake the country from the Japanese after McArthur’s famous “I shall return” promise.
Mendoza was a first lieutenant during the second World War and fought alongside Filipino soldiers in Bataan, Corregidor, and Manila.
Aside from the gold medal, a United States flag, which was flown at half-mast at the US Congress, was also posthumously given to Mendoza and the 39 other Filipino soldiers.
Mendoza’s family and Menca Development Corp. expressed their gratitude and appreciation to those who helped award the recognition.
“The family is really very happy... with the help of Gerry Alfafara, we appreciate for the highest honor. A really great honor,” said Marily Mendoza-Lantz, daughter of the awardee.
Mendoza, who founded the Associated Labor Unions and was president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines for 36 years, passed away on Jan. 12, 2016 at age 92.
He was also a member of the Governing Council of the Geneva-based International Labor Organization and was a founding president of the Association of South East Asian Nations Trade Union Council.