President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos will be attending the 78th Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary commemoration at the MacArthur Landing National Park in Palo, Leyte on Thursday.

It will be followed by his attendance at the 75th Charter Day celebration of Ormoc City, Malacañang said in a press statement.

Aside from Marcos, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte as well as several foreign dignitaries will also be attending both events.

Marcos’ visit to Leyte, the home province of his mother Imelda, will be his first since he was elected as President during the May 9 elections.

This will also be the first time that the province will hold its first face-to-face (F2F) Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration since the pandemic broke out.

Earlier, former Palo town mayor and Leyte provincial government tourism consultant, Frances Ann Petilla, said the province decided to hold a full F2F event this year after two years of hybrid activities to honor the gallantry and bravery of veterans who sacrificed their lives to liberate Filipinos during World War II.

On Oct. 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur, together with President Sergio Osmeña and General Carlos Romulo and the allied forces, came ashore in Leyte to liberate the country from the Japanese Army during World War II.

Their arrival started the Battle of Leyte Gulf that spanned 100,000 square miles of sea and was fought from Oct. 23 to 26 during the invasion of Leyte by the Allied Forces.

The battle signaled the fulfillment of MacArthur's famous words, “I shall return” after leaving Corregidor in 1942.

Before the 78th Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary, Marcos will also be leading the switch-on ceremony for the Spark San Juanico Aesthetics Light and Sound Show at the San Juanico Bridge on Wednesday.

The PHP80 million San Juanico aesthetic lighting and sound project, which is funded by the Department of Tourism through its attached agency, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), is the first of its kind in the country.

San Juanico Bridge, which connects Leyte and Samar islands, was built during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (PNA)