"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Funeral set for Commodore Alcaraz, former POW and pillar of veterans’ cause

Ramon A. Alcaraz was 20 years old when the newly inaugurated Philippine Commonwealth government established the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to train the regular officer corps of the Philippine Army (PA). He was among the first 120 cadets who entered PMA at Teachers Camp, Baguio City, on June 15, 1936. Only 79 of them graduated on March 15, 1940. At that time the war in Europe had been going on for six months.
Nineteen months later and the Class of ’40 was integrated with the US Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. World War II had engulfed the Philippines and Alcaraz, together with classmates Alano and Picar, were assigned as members of First Q-Boat Squadron in Corregidor. They were subsequently awarded decorations for their performance in battle.

According to Ernesto O. Rodriguez in "Anthology of Letters and Speeches of Commodore Alcaraz, Exponent of Seapower," Ramon Alcaraz is an authentic war hero who was promoted on the spot and decorated personally by General MacArthur in Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action in January 1942. A torpedo boat Alcaraz commanded had shot down three Japanese dive bombers during that war. Later, Alcaraz was captured and became a prisoner of war. Five months in prison and he was out. He joined the guerillas in Bulacan with the rank of regimental commander.

Soon the war was over and Franz Tinio-Lopez, who researches on things military, had this account:
When Ramon Magsaysay was appointed Secretary of Defense of the Philippines. He had Ramon Alcaraz travel to the USA to study the organization of the United States Marine Corps… Based on his research and material on the USMC, he allocated billets and personnel for the Marine Company of the Philippine Navy. Alcaraz assigned his former Q-boat Executive Officer, Lt. Manuel Gomez as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Company that grew into the Philippine Marine Corps of today.
In the postwar Philippine military Alcaraz held various key positions culminating with his promotion in 1965 to Commodore, the highest navy rank at that time. However, in 1966 when Marcos became president, he was relieved summarily as Fleet Commander, a controversial act which resulted in a Congressional investigation. Alcaraz was cleared of any wrongdoing but just the same he applied for retirement.

He and pharmacist wife Conching tried their hands in business, putting up a chain of drug stores in the Philippines called Commodore Drug. When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, Monching went into self-exile with his family and joined Manglapus’ Movement for Free Philippines.

Ramon Alcaraz, originally from Quingua, Bulacan, remained active into his 90s as a real estate investor in Orange County, California. He became a pillar of the Filipino veterans' cause for equity and wrote a war diary that reportedly was used for the 2002 documentary “Bataan: The Last Defense.”

Col. Butch Moreto (Ret.) passed on the message of Capt “Rocky” Marciano Alcaraz (Ret.) about the death of his older brother, Ramon, on June 25, 2009 PST. Moreto and his group Cyber Prayer Warriors then asked pious Christians to join them in prayer for the deceased.

Last night Franz Tinio-Lopez, who is close to the family, communicated the information that services and burial for the late Commodore Alcaraz are tentatively planned for July 6 and 7.

Meanwhile, daughter Ramona "Monet" Alcaraz Marshall requests anyone who had served with her father to come and speak at his funeral. You may contact Franz at pmcmssr@yahoo.com and possibly with a copy to this writer at dcgrava@aol.com so I can make follow-ups.

In addition to Rocky and Monet, Ramon is survived by wife Conception Dualan Alcaraz, who is from Cavite; children Cecilia Schlesinger, Vicky McCrary, Alfred "Boybee" Alcaraz, and Ramon, Jr.; and grandchildren Taurie, Haliey, and Landon.

Ramon Alcarez, left, shown with his namesake the former Defense Secretary, later President, Ramon Magsaysay. Photo courtesy of Franz Tinio-Lopez.

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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