PVAO features Balete Pass National Shrine, Governor Padilla
The historic “Balete Pass” in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, a rugged terrain where the Sierra Madre and Caraballo mountain ranges conjoin, was one among the very bloody theaters of fierce fighting during the final stages of World War II.
This battle is annually commemorated from 10 to 13 of May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 653, s-1993, dated 18 September 1995, “to awaken in the people, particularly the youth, a renewed consciousness of the eternal values of democracy, freedom, peace, and love of country.”
The place, formerly known as “Dalton Pass” and initially develop and promoted as a tourist spot under the administration of then-Governor Rodolfo Q. Agbayani, was nurtured and improved further by the succeeding governors.
It was declared by the Philippine Government as “Balete Pass National Shrine” on account of the house bill authored and vigorously pushed by then-Deputy Speaker and Nueva Vizcaya Lone District Representative Carlos M. Padilla, which was eventually passed as R.A. No. 10796 on 10 May 2016.
Pursuant to the said law and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on 11 September 2018 by Governor Carlos M. Padilla of the Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Mayor Liwayway C. Caramat of the Municipality of Sta. Fe, Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense (DND), and Administrator Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), effective control and supervision over the Shrine was transferred to the PVAO-DND.
As an added attraction to the iconic landmark, especially for the adventuresome, a Zipline had been erected thereat. Some huts and basic facilities were also built for the comfort and convenience of the visiting general public. A minimal entrance fee of P10 is charged for every visitor. As regards the use of a hut, the fee is P50 for the first 30 minutes, plus an incremental fee of P120 if used beyond that period, which generally does not exceed four hours. The charge per Zipline rider is P200.
A Plaque of Recognition was awarded by the Department of National Defense – Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (DND-PVAO) to Governor Carlos M. Padilla in grateful recognition and gratitude for his immeasurable contribution in advancing the welfare and recognition of the Filipino veterans of World War II through his vigorous efforts in campaigning for the passage of the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Act of 2009, and Public Law 114-265 – Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 by the U.S. Congress.
The Plaque was personally received by Governor Padilla from DND USEC/PVAO Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina and DND USEC Reynaldo B. Mapagu who represented DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana in an awarding ceremony held on 23 July 2019 at the Tajeros Hall, AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
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