The Philippine Historical Association
in collaboration with the
Department of National Defense
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
and the Multi-Agency Task Force for the
2010 Observance of Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week.
Images of Valor and Victory
A Conference on World War II and Filipino Heroism
March 5, 2010 (Friday) 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
This conference aims to pay tribute to the veterans of World War II; bring to fore the heroism of the Filipino Veterans and share some untold stories of Filipino soldiers during the Second World War.
The Guerilla Resistance Movement in Luzon
Ricardo T. Jose, Ph.D.
Department of History
University of the Philippines Diliman
During the Second World War, the Philippines was placed on the world map through its tenacious defense of Bataan and Corregidor, which became symbols of resistance to the Japanese onslaught among the Allies. Even as the siege of Bataan and Corregidor raged, however, resistance of another sort sprouted up throughout other areas of Luzon, even though some of these were already overrun by the Japanese. These were the guerilla forces which fought the Japanese from the beginning of the war until its end.
Among the early resistance movements were those led by Filipino leaders, which covered not only most of Luzon but also the Visayas and Mindanao. Of particular note were the early resistance movements of Roque Ablan in Ilocos Norte, Wenceslao Vinzons in Camarines Norte and Marcelo Adduru of Cagayan. These movements were led by local political leaders – governors or congressmen – and gained strong followings. All regained ground from the Japanese (even recapturing the provincial capitals, such as Daet, on occasion) and attacked Japanese positions when they had a chance of winning. These movements rose even before Bataan and Corregidor fell, and were spontanteous acts of resistance which sought to keep the Commonwealth government alive and functioining.
Side by side with these civilian movements were those led by military officers who were cut off from their units because of the rapid Japanese advance in December 1941. Guerrilla units based on military outfits led by Walter Cushing, Guillermo Nakar, and ____ (w/ Navarro). Led by military (regular or reserve) officers, these staged attacks on Japanese positions and destroyed Japanese aircraft and supplies. Many successes were scored, again before the fall of Bataan and Corregidor.
Some of these units were able to establish contact with USAFFE headquarters in Corregidor, and were formally recognized as military units. MacArthur himself, realizng the potential of guerrilla operations against the Japanese, sent a special team under Col. Thorpe to the Zambales area to organize a more active and coordinated guerrilla movement.
Unfortunately, Bataan and Corregidor fell, and the existing guerrilla forces which were aligned with USAFFE found themselves alone. Japanese troops freed from the task of conquering Bataan and Corregidor were redeployed to crush the early resistance movements and did so with some success: Col Thorpe and other early guerrilla leaders were either captured or executed or forced to lie low under the onslaught.
Despite the Japanese anti-guerrilla operations, other resistance movements thrived in Luzon. Of note were the Hunters-ROTC guerrillas, led by PMA cadets who were disbanded because of their youth, and manned predominantly by idealistic college students. Markings Guerrillas (later combined with the Fil-American Irregular Troops), led by a bus driver/boxer who had escaped from Bataan, was organized in Southern Luzon. President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas (PQOG) was also organized in Southern Luzon. In the Bicol area, several groups were formed, among them Gov Escudero’s guerrillas. Almost all of these were aligned with the US forces; some were American led (Lapham, Ramsey). Eventually these groups got in touch with MacArthur’s headquarters and received weapons and other assistance by submarine. Due to severe Japanese reprisals, MacArthur ordered these units to lie low, perfect their organization and focus on gathering intelligence.
More independent was the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon, a peasant organization which leaned to the left and which engaged not only in anti-Japanese operations but in more long-range socio-economic restructuring. They remained in action throughout the war, not heeding an lie low orders.
Other organizations were more geared towards counter-propaganda and intelligence-gathering. Units such as Free Philippines, which operated in Manila, kept up people’s morale by distributing anti-Japanese leaflets and furnishing intelligence to the guerrillas.
The guerilla resistance movement in Luzon is replete with tales of heroism, but it also is a story of tragedy and pain, especially to the victims of the Japanese and their collaborators. The resulting spiral into increasingly violent modes of reprisal showed the worst of humanity; but it also revealed the strength of the Filipino spirit.
PALAWAN DURING WORLD WAR II
OSCAR L. EVANGELISTA
Palawan State University
The paper presents the story of Palawan during World War II as a microcosm of the national history of the Philippines during the same period. It points to similar patterns/events but focuses on the unique features of Palawan life under Japanese rule. It follows the story of the “Free Palawan” of the Commonwealth Government; the organization of the Guerilla Movement later tied in with Macario Peralta’s forces in Panay; the formation of the Special Battalion; the socio-economic conditions in the occupied areas, and the role of the Guerillas in the liberation of the province and of the Philippines. The barbarous massacre of 150 American Prisoners of War in 1945 was the prelude to the liberation of Palawan.
Collectively, the Palawenos who fought the Japanese Forces and the “Free Palawan” leaders who resisted the Japanese Government were “Men of Valor”.
The Role of Filipino Women During the Second World War
Evelyn A. Miranda, Ph.D.
Retired Professor, University of the Philippines-Diliman
It is little known in history that Filipino women were part of the resistance movement against the Japanese imperialists. Hence, this paper seeks to highlight the various roles that women played in the struggle against the Japanese forces. Those who actively fought the Japanese were Remedios Paraiso (alyas Commander Liwayway), Felipa Culala (alyas Dayang-Dayang), Celia Mariano and Yay Panlilio (led the Marking’s Guerillas).
There were also women who extended support for the movement or aided the sick and the wounded, especially those who were detained in Japanese concentration camps. Examples of these women were Josefa Borromeo Capistrano, Josefa Llanes Escoda, Maria Orosa and Conchita Sunico.
Lesser known peasant women in the countryside also helped in the resistance movement by procuring supplies and medicine for their husbands and relatives who were part of the fighting forces. But there were instances wherein they themselves were engaged in actual combat.