MANILA – After several postponements due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, noted author Melandrew T. Velasco will finally launch his 35th book “Twilight Glory: Honoring Heroes and Veterans” via Zoom and Facebook live.

“What is special of the book launching is that it coincides with the celebration of the National Heroes Day,” Velasco said.

The book is in honor of Filipino heroes, who did outstanding feat for the country beyond their call of duty.

Velasco, author and publisher of the book, said “the Philippines has many heroes —living and dead, recognized and unsung — who helped shape the country’s destiny and honoring them is the least the nation can do for them.”

This is the essence what Velasco wanted to underscore when he wrote the book with Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina and former Congressional Committee on Veterans Affairs and Benefits chairman now Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo N. Bataoil as co-authors.

The book is co-published by the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation (RPDEV), PVAO and Media Touchstone Ventures, Inc. (MTVi).

The 320-page coffee table book tells the story of over 500 years of the Filipinos’ struggle for a free, independent, and sovereign nation.

From the pockets of revolts in the early Spanish regime to the years of the Philippine Revolution in 1896; from the Philippine-American War to the attainment of Philippine independence from the US in 1946 with World War II in between; from the post-World War II reconstruction and rehabilitation and to the Philippine participation in the Korean and Vietnam wars to ensure regional peace and security; and from the martial law era and to the rebuilding of the nation in post-EDSA People Power Revolution.

As a tribute book to heroes and veterans, it has a chapter on the national shrines, memorials and the government entity mandated to ensure the welfare of veterans — the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

The book also includes a chapter on the veterans’ fight for benefits and recognition here and in the US and another chapter on current challenges of the country: peace and order, foreign relations, natural calamities and the Covid 19-pandemic.

Twilight Glory was initially intended for book launch presentation on March 22, 2020 at the Fairmont Hotel to be part of the 92nd birthday celebration of former President Fidel V. Ramos.

The 92-year old Ramos, popularly known of his initials — FVR, is among of the country’s living heroes.

He has witnessed the horrors of war such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars; fought as a soldier; and has served the country in another battlefield, as President of the Philippines.

Velasco said FVR’s presidency ushered in a new era in the country’s history as he led the country to become among the fastest growing economies in the region during his time.

He is a hero both in times of war and peace and deserves to be honored in his twilight years.

Velasco said all was set for the launching of his new book but “because of the quarantine imposed in mid-March by the government to contain the spread of Covid-19, the launch was moved to April 9, 2020 to coincide with the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan.

Unfortunately, the quarantine still stands until today, and the launch has been moved indefinitely.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, along with natural calamities in the past has given rise to new heroes and they are not limited to the uniformed men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

“We have modern day heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others in times of calamity and national emergency like those doctors, nurses and other front-liners to minister to the sick and keep our communities safe,” wrote Velasco.

Ramos once said: “Today our country calls us, not to die but to live for it. The patriotism borne of revolution and war must give way to citizenship for peace and development, which means personal commitment, social obligation, and civic responsibility.”

As in the past, the business community has heeded this call. San Miguel Corporation president and CEO Ramon S. Ang, one of the sponsors of the landmark Twilight Glory book project, has launched a number of initiatives to assist those affected by the pandemic and, as of July 1, has spent more than PHP13 billion for their relief efforts.

Aside from San Miguel Corporation, other corporate sponsors of Twilight Glory are PVAO; Manila Water Company, Inc.; Maynilad Water Services, Inc.; Mr. Oscar and Anthony Jude (AJ) Violago; International Container Services, Inc.; Philippine Gaming Corporation, CEZA, and, Philippine Veterans Bank. These entities have also activated their respective CSR arms to help government efforts against Covid-19.

Velasco is the family biographer of Ramos and has co-published more than 15 books with RPDEV. He is President and CEO of MTVi and has authored 35 books. (PNA)