December 4, 2022

Families of World War II veterans in Atok, Benguet are asking the provincial board for the establishment of the Atok veterans’ park and Guerilla Saddle heritage site.

In the minutes of the meeting of the Sons and Daughters Association, Inc. (SDAI) of Atok submitted to the provincial board, it stated the development of the park and heritage site would also be a landmark in the province.

The group said the proposed area for the veterans’ park would be beside the old municipal building while the guerilla saddle heritage site would be at Km. 26 in Barangay Caliking. 

The group added the heritage sites have significance for the people of Benguet and will also boost tourism in the area.

“Immediate actions in the preservation and promotion of its distinctive features should start now to show the truth about the distinguished attributes of World War II Atok veterans 76 years ago,” the SDAI said.

The guerrilla saddle is the steep portion of the Halsema Highway in Caliking where the guerrillas, along soldiers of 66th Infantry and United States Army Forces in the Far East fought the advancing Japanese imperial soldiers during WWII.

The SDAI also asked the provincial board to help in the preservation of the heritage sites in Atok, particularly the famous half tunnel in Paoay, the Osokan Cave, the Spanish Trail at Km. 46, and the former highest point in the Philippine highway system in Cattubo.  

The group asked for the preservation of the sites as they are fast becoming commercialized. – Ofelia C. Empian