press release attachment

The historic Battle of Balete Pass was once again remembered as the municipality of Sta. Fe in Nueva Vizcaya commemorated its 77th year anniversary on 13 May 2022.

To give respect to the World War II heroes who have laid their lives during the fierce battle, ASec. Raul Z. Caballes, Deputy Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and Hon. Carlos M. Padilla, Governor of the Province of Nueva Vizcaya led the Wreath-laying Ceremony under the command of P/Maj Angelo M. Dasalla, COP of PNP Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya.

In his speech, Gov. Padilla paid homage to the resilience, fortitude, and bravery of the Filipino veterans. He also urged everyone to draw inspiration from the lessons of the past so that we may overcome any form of adversities in the future. “As long as valor and patriotism will continue, nobody could subdue us,” he added.

ASec Caballes, on the other hand, left a challenge to the people of Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, especially the public servants, to be persistent in preparing and molding the character of the country’s future defenders by inculcating the legacy of our veterans to the youth.

“Although it may never compare, the least we could do as a grateful nation is to prepare the children of today to carry on the task of protecting the freedom and peace our veterans sacrificed their lives for,” he said.

Hon. Tidong A. Benito, Municipal Mayor of Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya; Col. Marcelino B. Tacadena Jr., VFP Nueva Vizcaya District President; Col. Reynaldo M. Lingan, VFP Regional President; and Hon. Jonathan M. Tindan, Municipal Vice Mayor of Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya also delivered their respective greetings to the people of Sta. Fe on the significant day. Meanwhile, Hon. Alberto B. Dulnuan, Municipal Historian, gave a historical narrative on the Battle of Balete Pass.

The Balete Pass, a rugged terrain where the Sierra Madre and Caraballo mountain ranges conjoin, was among the bloody theaters of fierce fighting during the final stages of World War II. It was in the last week of February 1945 when the U.S. Sixth Army dispatched their forces to mount an offense against the Japanese occupation force approaching Balete Pass. The US Sixth Army fielded the 25th and 32nd Divisions to engage the Japanese Forces along Highway 5 and the Villa Verde Trail en route to Balete Pass.

The liberation plan was to maintain the pressure from all sides to make it difficult for the Japanese forces to reinforce those defending Balete Pass. Simultaneous attacks occurred from the Baguio front in the south and southwest area, and from the Cervantes-Bontoc front from the north and northwest front.

The continuous attacks of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) who provided the crucial support for the Liberation forces weakened the Japanese Forces. The collapse of the Baguio front gave the Allied Forces the opportunity to reinforce the troops at Balete Pass, further pushing the Japanese Army back. On May 13, 1945, the Battle of Balete Pass ended in the victory of the Allied Forces.

Pursuant to RA 10796, the Balete Pass was declared as a National Shrine as a tribute to the gallant Filipino guerrillas and American Soldiers who victoriously fought at Balete Pass and succeeded in pushing the retreating forces of the Japanese Imperial Army further to the North of Luzon.

On 13th May of the previous year, the Local Government Unit of Nueva Vizcaya formally turned over the administration of Balete Pass National Shrine to PVAO.