Manila: A joint humanitarian mission by the US and the Philippines is due to start within the week to account for the remains of some 83,000 American prisoners of war/missing in action during Second World War.
In a statement issued by the US Embassy in Manila, a humanitarian mission will be conducted by the Honolulu, Hawaii-based a US Joint POW/MIA (prisoner of war/missing in action) Accounting Command (JPAC) in the coming days.
The mission will “conduct global search, recovery, and laboratory operations to identify more than 83,000 unaccounted-for Americans from past conflicts,” the statement said.
Thousands of Americans as well as their Filipino comrades had died fighting side by side in the Philippines during the war in the Pacific against the Japanese Imperial Forces.
At the time of the conflict, the Philippines was under the American Commonwealth administration.
Alongside Philippine partners, the JPAC team in particular will be looking for evidence of about 80 Americans who remain unaccounted-for from World War II.
“A nine-member investigation team will work with Philippine partners to authenticate leads from eyewitnesses and conduct field research at numerous locations throughout the Philippines to determine whether a return visit for excavation is merited.
Although the deaths took place decades ago, US officials said the expedition would be a great help for families of the American soldiers.
“These investigations have the potential bring long desired closure for the families of American service members who went missing while serving their country in the Second World War,” said Brian L.
Goldbeck, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy. “We are truly grateful to our Philippine partners for working closely with us to facilitate this project.”
On June 3, 2011, US and Philippine officials signed a document mandating authorities form the two countries to collaborate in researching, investigating, recovering, and conducting forensic reviews of American POW and MIA remains.