Sunday, August 14, 2011

Congress approves Balete pass national shrine

In long sleeve (right) Cong. Carlos Padilla.

SANTA FE, Nueva Vizcaya, August 15, 2011-Congressman Carlos M. Padilla, author of house bill number 3303 otherwise known as an act declaring balete pass as national shrine here was approved in the lower house.

“Teachers and historians should rectify their teachings informing people about the real name of my place. It’s not Dalton pass but it is Balete pass,” Padilla said, explaining that way back on May 16, 1945, James Leo Dalton II was snipped by Japanese sniper during the battle at the balete pass; thus, historian called it as Dalton pass.

“The pass where Dalton died was renamed in his honor after the battle, and is still sometimes referred to as Dalton Pass today but there is a need to change it for the sake of history,” Padilla said.

Padilla said that the Balete pass symbolizes the gallant stand of Filipino soldiers, guerilla fighters, together with the 25th Infantry Division of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East against the Japanese forces during world war II, adding that this fierce battle drove the Japanese Army back to the north of Luzon.

“I want the place to be known in its original name that’s why I pursued it in congress,” he said.

Dalton (left) greets general walter Krueger here in Luzon
during World War II.
“Now that it was approved, by virtue of proclamation No. 653, the Battle of Balete pass will be annually commemorated from May 10 to 13. This is significant part of the history,” Padilla added.

He said that the Balete Pass monument stands as the landmark when entering the Cagayan Valley through Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya when Dalton was killed during World War II.

“It is therefore fitting to declare the place as a national shrine as a tribute to gallant Filipinos and Americans who staked their lives in honor of freedom,” he said.

Padilla furthered that the administration and maintenance of the Balete Pass national shrine shall be under the military shrines service of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

It could be remembered that during the battle of Luzon, Dalton was one of only eleven (11) US general officers killed in action. Dalton was buried at USAFE cemetery. (Jason de Asis) 


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