Campaign to bring home remains of Pinay war hero launched

  • A GoFundMe page was set up to bring home a Pinay war hero and to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
  • Magdalena Estoista Leones, who is the only Asian woman to receive the US Silver Star during World War II, died last June 16 at age 95
  • Request for her burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is still awaiting approval from the Philippine government

A campaign to bring home the remains of the only Asian woman to receive the US Silver Star during World War II for burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani was launched via A GoFundMe page.

Set up by a member of the American Legion Bataan Post 600, the page aims to assist the family of Magdalena Estoista Leones to fly her body home on July 6.

Leones, who passed away on June 16 at the age of 95, is dubbed as the “Lioness of Filipina agents” who risked her life to carry important intelligence data, vital radio parts and medical supplies through heavily garrisoned enemy-held territory, an article published by GMA News Online disclosed.

For this, the Filipina war hero won the third highest honor for valor in the US Army.

But life wasn’t easy for the Kalinga-born soldier, who, from February 27 to September 26, 1944, managed to transmit information on enemy ships and their skippers in La Union to government forces and blew up planes on an airstrip in Tuguegarao.

With an earned rank of corporal, Leones was caught thrice by Japanese forces. Fortunately, she managed to escape and save the lives of other people with the use of Nihongo language she learned while in captivity.

In 1969, Leones moved to California to work as a clerk.

Meanwhile, one of the sons of Leones identified as Guillermo Tabor, revealed that their mother’s past was kept secret from them as he further disclosed that they only learned of her unsung heroism when he did some research after his daughter’s birth.

Upon knowing this, Tabor said he wants to make sure that his mother would get the honor she rightfully deserves.

As of present, Leones’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is still awaiting approval from the Philippine government.

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