Col. Emmanuel de Ocampo passed away on the eve of Christmas, leaving a legacy of love for country to all of us especially to the youth to emulate. Strangely, he was a freedom fighter during war who died at the time of peace.
When World War II broke out in 1942, he was barely one of the ROTC cadets of his school but he was discharged from the unit and told to go home because he was too young to fight in the war especially in Bataan. However, instead of going home and enjoying the safety and comfort of the love of his parents and sibling, he joined his fellow ROTC cadets organized a guerrilla unit and lived with them amidst hardship and danger of the environment and enemies amongst the jungle where he conducted with his fellow guerrillas the tactics of “hit and run” against the occupying Japanese forces. These heroic exploits constituted, to a certain degree, in the liberation of the Philippines.
Eventually, we had peace and freedom but it did not stop him from serving his country in time of peace. He led his fellow veterans in time of peace by work for their welfare and lived to see:
- That all guerrilla fighters should receive, as they did, pension from the government including their widows and orphans.
- When many of the guerrilla fighters (or freedom fighters as they are now called) were jobless, he helped organize with good means the Veteran’s Bank of the Philippines, a progressive bank of which he eventually served as the chairman of the board, giving employment and support to veterans and their family.
- He was a leader of Veterans Federation of the Philippines which he helped organize to take care of the veterans of the Philippines, past and present
Viewed from another perspective Colonel De Ocampo was a soldier during the war, a statesman, and a banker at the time of peace up to his death.
Clearly, Colonel De Ocampo is a veteran for all reasons worthy of emulation especially by the youth. He did not ask for what his country can give him but he asked himself what he can give to his country, a way of life that he followed even before President John F. Kennedy said it apparently, drawing inspiration from his heroism.
Colonel De Ocampo is gone, but he will always be with us for his memory will forever be enshrined in the heart and soul of every true loving Filipino, as a paragon of heroism, bravery, and love of country.
By: JUSTICE MANUEL R. PAMARAN (RET) PRESIDENT, HUNTERS ROTC GUERRILLAS