CAFGU’s Shrine; A New Symbol of Peace and Devotion

CAFGU’s Shrine; A New Symbol of Peace and Devotion

A 34 feet shrine matched with the breathtaking view of Nueva Ecija’s rice and corn granary and its mountain scenery stands in the home of the country’s 70th Infantry Battalion in the 7th Infantry Division.

CAFGU’s Shrine, named after the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and cadres whose efforts led to the success of the shrine’s construction, is a giant white cross atop a hill lead with a path made with stone stairs. The shrine’s construction concluded on December 15, 2019 and it became open to the public. Since then, many visitors have seen the CAFGU’s Shrine gathering a total number of 3,926 people as of January 30, 2020. As time goes by, more people seeking a place of prayer are expected to come and experience the place.

An empty and unknown location from Barangay Canantong, Laur, Nueva Ecija was transformed by the CAFGU into a beautiful site perfect for people looking for a place of devotion and serenity while being surrounded by the natural beauty of nature. The CAFGU, whose task is to prevent the re-occurrence of insurgency to the communities cleared by the AFP, did a great job in revamping the site and bringing a new attraction to the place.

The CAFGU was created in 1897 through Executive Order No. 264 which states that “the Citizen Armed Force may be called or mobilized to complement the operations of the regular force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or to support the regular force formations or units.” They are civilians local to the community whose efforts are essential in preventing counter-insurgency in their areas.

Lt. Col. Edwin M. Paredes, Commanding Officer, 70IB, 7ID, was inspired to create an identifying mark of deep dedication to God and love for the country. The shrine was aimed to foster a significant symbol and he envisioned the place to be tourist site and a locale for devotion, something the community lacks until the erection of the structure.

Through the initiative of Lt. Col. Thomas Dominic B. Baluga, the previous Commanding Officer of 70IB, 7ID, PA, during his incumbency on March 2018 to March 2019, the structure was originally constructed with the initial height of around 18 feet. At this height, visitors of the shrine can see the structure even from afar. In time, the involved personnel saw great potential in the area that cannot be wasted. The site is surrounded by a natural view and they intended to make the shrine as majestic as the mountain scenery encompassing it. With the present altitude, the shrine-goers can get a glimpse of what’s waiting for them on top and make the journey even more meaningful.

This thought seemed to reap what it sow as the number of the shrine’s visitor increases as time goes by. Some guests even posted their video blogs and reviews of the place expressing their satisfaction to their visit and appreciation of nature.

Due to the regular visit to the shrine, tricycle drivers of Barangay Canantong are often busy to provide their services to the visitors. With this, their income was boosted and was expected to increase even in the future. The community is also expected to harvest the benefits from the opportunity of livelihood the shrine offers in the hopes of improving the agro tourism of barangay.

Visitors and tourists are encouraged to visit the CAFGU’s Shrine to experience the tranquility and quiet time with nature and God. For the CAFGU and cadres, Capt. Laurencio Panit Jr. hopes for them to be reminded that “di lang [tayo] dapat warrior, dapat may pananalig din [tayo] sa Diyos”. #