Community News

Oldest Wha Chi veteran passes away

Dee Khong Hee (李康希), one of the last surviving veterans of Wha Chi 48th Squadron, passed away on Jan. 29.
Dee was 101 years old.
Wha Chi, an anti-Japanese guerrilla detachment in the Philippines, was formed by a group of courageous men bound by a common hatred of the Japanese and a burning desire to fight for Philippine freedom.
In 1936, at the age of 13, Dee came to the Philippines by boat with his family from Keren township (科任鄉), Jinjiang to work. He later joined the overseas Chinese labor organization.
In an interview with Chinese media, Dee recalled that at the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, “I was full of thoughts about saving the country and trying to fight against Japan together with the young people in China.”
When Japan attacked the Philippines in December 1941, Dee’s overseas Chinese labor organization rose to fight against Japanese invaders. More than 300 youths either launched underground struggle in the Japanese occupied areas or joined the guerrillas. Dee chose to join Wha Chi.
In May 2015, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people’s resistance against Japanese aggression and World Anti-Fascist War, Dee led the survivors and descendants of the Wha Chi guerrillas in organizing the exhibit, “Remembering History, Honoring Heroes,” at the Bahay Tsinoy – Museum of the Chinese in Philippine Life.
He was also given the Anti-Japanese War commemorative medal by the Chinese government.
Dee’s remains lie at Sanctuarium in Quezon City and is scheduled to be buried at Ever Memorial Garden on Feb. 6.

Left: Electrical Engineer Alberto Lu, Wha Chi historian, now 90 years old, lead other officials in wreath-laying rites during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Sta. Cruz in Laguna on Jan. 26. The event was organized by Wha Chi 48th Squadron Veterans, in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Right: Aquino Lee, president and descendant of Wha Chi 48th Squadron Veterans Legion, Inc., gives a message during the event. Lee specifically thanked the people of Sta. Cruz for aiding their elders while they fought against the Japanese.
(Photo: Melo M. Acuna)