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PIA Press Release

Congress approves bill declaring Bessang Pass as memorial shrine and national protected area

By Freddie G. Lazaro

Candon City (27 November) -- A bill seeking for the declaration of the historic Bessang Pass as national heritage and protected place was already passed and approved after its final reading in a regular session at the Lower House, it was learned.

House Deputy Speaker Eric D. Singson, who was the prinicipal author of the House Bill No. 4968, told that the said bill was already elevated to Senate for further discussion and approval.

"I am confident that before the end of the year, our bill will be signed into law," Singson said.

The historic Bessang Pass, which was located along the highest peak in the mountainous area of Barangay Malaya, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur with a total land area of 1,121 hectares, was recognized as national monument under the country's National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

"Besang Pass Natural Monument as a protected area aims primarily to protect and conserve its scenic, cultural and historical features including the diverse terrestrial resources found therein," Singson added.

In the Philippine history, the Bessang Pass was the place where the last battle between the Filipino Guerrillas and the Japanese Imperial Army was held during the World War II.

The gunbattle was called as "Battle of Besang Pass," in which the Filipino soldiers defeated the Japanese troop under Gen. Tumoyuki Yamashita.

More or less 3,400 men, who fought gallantly for freedom and peace during in the historic Battle of Bessang Pass that ended on June 14, 1945, were killed and wounded in the place.

To honor the bravery of the Filipino soldiers, a monument was erected along the strategic gap at about 5,250 feed above sea level traversed by Highway 4, west of Cervantes town. The place of the monument was then served as the backdoor to General Yamashita's last ditch defense during the last stage of World War II. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]

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