Prof. Rolando Borrinaga
STATUE OF WAR HERO IN THE SAND. The photo shows the statue of Pvt. Andres P. Dadizon, the World War I hero from Leyte who died fighting for the U.S. Army in the battlefields of France in 1917, or a century ago. It now lies neglected and forgotten on the sand at the water’s edge near Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City.
The “hero from Biliran Island, Leyte, Philippines” was said to have carried the U.S. flag over to the German line during a raging battle in France in 1917. Although seriously wounded, Dadizon was able to plant the flag in front of the enemy’s trenches. This display of courage was said to have bolstered the morale of his comrades, who fought fiercely until they had overrun the German position. Dadizon died and was buried in Europe.
The Americans honored Pvt. Dadizon in the 1930s by naming a street after him in Tacloban, the present Dadizon Street, and erecting a statue (the one in the photo) on the compound of the former Camp Bumpus, in the present Leyte Park Hotel.
Around 2004, our Biliran Historical and Cultural Society sent a signed petition to the Department of Tourism, Region VIII, seeking its support for the retrieval of this statue, then standing in a neglected state on elevated ground overlooking the beach of Leyte Park Hotel, which was then still under sequestration. (The storm surges brought in by Supertyphoon Yolanda had apparently dragged the statue down to the water’s edge.) Ms. Norma Morantte, the DOT-8 regional director at the time, told me that she had routed the communication to the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), but nothing was heard about it until she had retired.
In our petition, we expressed the wish to turn over this statue to Cabucgayan, Biliran Province, the hometown of Pvt. Dadizon.