English version of the message of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, to the people of Bulacan, in connection with the award of the “Order of Tirad Pass” to the late General Gregorio del Pilar, which award was received by the General’s sister, May 14, 1944.

BROTHERS OF BULACAN:

With my whole heart, I share your brilliant celebration of the awarding of the Order of Tirad Pass to the fortunate sister of Gen. Gregorio H. del Pilar. I also extend my felicitations to each and everyone of you, for being sons of the blessed province that saw his birth.

It is truly a blessing for a province like your, to have a true son whose name has found a golden niche in the annals of our nation’s history.

I have always worshipped nobility and courage, as I am of the conviction that a country like ours in order to be fully redeemed and independent, needs men of nobility and courage Patriotism without courage and nobility is not enough. General Gregorio H. del Pilar was one who proved that the Philippines is not wanting in men who possess the qualities of patriotism, nobility and courage. The whole world has admired him for his manifestation of self-sacrifice for the sake of his Native Land. This sacrifice of General Del Pilar is not unknown to you. Assigned to lead his small band of soldiers at Tirad Pass to prevent the enemy’s breaking through, which would signify the complete fall of his Native Land, he swore that the foe should not pass save over his corpse. And it was this that occurred, His valor and heroism won even the admiration of his enemies so that the latter buried him with full military honors due to a hero. The noble sentiment of the young General should be an example to our youthful soldiers of the Republic; it should be their ambition to be able to say, when the opportunity arises, “this post is assigned to me, then here let me die if need be.”

When the Republic first conceived a plan to honor those Filipinos who have given distinguished service toward making their race a great one, it was of the Hero of Tirad Pass that I first thought. Right then, I decided that such an honor should be called “The Order of Tirad Pass,” and that the first recipient should be the hero who fell in that battlefield, valorously defending our Native Land. And, for reasons I have stated above, which perhaps are already known to you, this was approved. I would like the example set by General Del Pilar to be a lodestar brightly illumining the paths our youths shall tread. These are times that call for men who have the qualities of the Hero of Tirad Pass. A country whose young men are proud to share the honors accorded the Hero of Tirad Pass, is a country that will never fall into misfortune and will never be enslaved.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library