Oldest Filipino author launches book on WWII

At 91, Dr. Senen L.R. Asuan, a World War II veteran and the oldest Filipino author, launched on Tuesday his second book -- “For Love of Freedom II: Pursuit of Freedom and Want” -- at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Officers Clubhouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Asuan was a teenager when he joined the guerrilla forces that led the famed Suicide Squad of the 53rd Infantry Regiment in Camarines Sur against the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII.

The book is a project of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) headed by Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina, a retired army lieutenant general and former commander of the Southern Command (SouthCom), now Southern Mindanao Command (SouthMindCom) based in Zamboanga City.

In his first book, “For Love of Freedom I,” Dr. Asuan gave a first person account of how Filipino guerrillas scored victories after victories against the mighty Japanese forces in Camarines Sur.

After the war, Asuan pursued his study as a doctor. He later on became the chairman/president of the Industrial Health Services with 15 clinics in Manila and in the Bicol region.

Aside from being a doctor, Asuan has a passion for writing.

Dr. Asuan wrote and published his first book in 1995 when he was still living in the United States after he sought refuge there in 1973 following the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1972.

Two decades later, he wrote his second book after he was encouraged by Gen. Carolina to write the sequel, “For Love of Freedom II: Pursuit of Freedom from Want,” to inspire the young generation of Filipinos and the succeeding generations to come to continue the struggle in the pursuit of freedom from want.

“To most Filipinos, World War II veterans and civilians, the return of General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation of the Philippines over 73 years ago were the only freedom that they needed. The country has achieved freedom from war and freedom from fear,” Dr. Asuan, who retired with the rank of major, said.

“To the teenagers of Ateneo de Naga who joined the 53rd Infantry, Camp Isarog and formed the small group dubbed 'The Suicide Squad', the freedom was not complete. They continued their struggle and searched for more freedom – such as that freedom from hunger and freedom from want. The guerrilla fighters during World War II used their experiences during the war, endured untold hardships and difficulties, to develop the determination for survival, tenacity and success,” he pointed out.

“Their struggles after the war were surrounded by many factors that influence their circumstances – spiritual situation, moral standing, physical health, compounded by political greed, envy and discrimination, which present a different kind of difficulty when compared with fighting in the jungles during the war time.

"Their goal to pursue freedom from want seemed like an impossible dream. Overall, what makes the factors work together in unison, in perfect order and sequence is that there is an unseen hand that guides the destiny of man,” Dr. Asuan said. (PNA)


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