March 4, 2007

Batac veterans urge rehab of ‘Jungle City’

Batac, Ilocos Norte—The Veterans’ Federation of the Philippines (VFP) based in the province’s second district has urged local officials in this town to preserve and rehabilitate the Batac Veterans’ Park and Shrine, locally known as the “Jungle City” or Pańgasaan, located in Barangay Camandingan here.

Initially named as “Bato’n Lagip”, the Jungle City was established in 1981, during the term of then Batac Mayor Fe Acosta-Aguinaldo, in honor of the World War II heroes in this northern part of Luzon.

While lobbying for funds needed for the concreting of the road leading to the hilltop park, Antonio M. Crisostomo, VFP post commander, reported that the Jungle City has great significance to the Ilocanos’ rich history of their World War II heroes as the thickly forested area had served as headquarters of the Batac guerilla forces, bolo men and WAS units from December 8, 1941 to February 28, 1945.

Crisostomo further related that the site used to be a meeting place of the provisional battalion of the Batac guerilla forces under the command of then Major Simeon M. Valdez, which later became the first battalion commander of the 15th Infantry of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon chapter under the command of then Col. Robert Arnold of the US Army.

The same site also served as the headquarters of the 15th Infantry, where the US Air Force dropped arms, ammunitions and supplies of the war veterans during the liberation of Ilocos Norte from Japanese imperial forces from the period of January 1945 to February 28, 1945.

Historical records also show that the Jungle City, which used to be a densely forested area with a huge spring and stones good for sharpening bolos, was also the camp of Katipunero soldiers during the 1896 revolt.

Expressing support for the rehabilitation and improvement of the said park, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, headed by their presiding officer Vice Gov. Windell D. Chua, together with SP members Ma. Elena M. Nalupta, Da Vinci M. Crisostomo, Mariano V. Marcos II, Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, and Carlito N. Abadilla have pledged to allocate some funds from their barangay development fund (BDF) for the project.

The said provincial board members, including Chua, trace their roots in this municipality, which set to become a city soon, following Congress’ approval of their cityhood bid.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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