Jointly with C & E Publishing, Inc., the family of the late Col. Eliseo Rio, author of Rays of a Setting Sun: Recollections of World War II, held the launching of the book’s new edition last April 5 at the Dimalupig Hall of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Officers Club at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
First published in 1999 by the De La Salle University Press, the book is Col. Rio’s eyewitness account of the events that occurred during World War II, particularly the reverberations of the bombing of Camp John Hay in Baguio City on December 8, 1941; the heroic stand of the Filipino and American combatants on Bataan; the guerrilla campaign in the Visayas; and the surrender of the Japanese military contingent on Panay in 1945. With foreword by Rodolfo Biazon, former AFP chief of staff and senator, the book narrates as well the pivotal role of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) officers in the native resistance against the Japanese occupation.
The new edition includes U.S. Army Col. Kearie L. Berry’s handwritten notes on the “Battle of the Pockets” where Filipino and American soldiers defeated more than a thousand Japanese soldiers leading to the forced retreat of the enemy forces. Berry was the commander of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Regular Division of the Philippine Army until the first week of February 1942 when he took over the command of the 1st Regular Division from Gen. Fidel V. Segundo who was designated as the commanding general of another unit.
Rio was one of the cadets of PMA Class of 1942 who were commissioned ahead of schedule to the 1st Regular Division of the Philippine Army together with the Class of 1943 when the war broke out. He fought bravely in Bataan and escaped fortuitously when it fell into enemy hands; became a guerrilla leader in Panay; and served 21 years in the military. He died in June 2004.
Special guests provided impressions of the author and insights into the book. They were Dr. Benito Legarda, Jr., economist and historian; Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines; Ret. Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office; Dr. Roberto de Ocampo, chairman and chief executive officer of the Philippine Veterans Bank; Ret. Col. Vicente Alhambra of the PMA Class of 1942; and Alejandro Padilla, senior editor and management consultant for higher education of C & E Publishing, Inc. and former editor-in-chief of De La Salle University Press. Ma. Estela Pedrosa, Ret. Gen. Eliseo Rio, Jr., and Ma. Elisela Vitriolo, three of Rio’s seven children, also delivered messages during the gathering.
Copies of the book are now available at all C & E Bookshop branches nationwide. For orders or inquiries, call telephone no. (632) 929 5088 or e-mail C & E at firstname.lastname@example.org.