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January 5, 2018

Beginnings of the Hunters-ROTC Guerrillas in Batangas

The Hunters/ROTC was a guerrilla group formed in 1942. Initially operating in Rizal Province, the group would also have a sizable presence in Batangas and would be instrumental in providing intelligence to the United States forces leading to the assault landing at Nasugbu on 31 January 1945.

More information about the group is available in this article → “Operations of the Hunters/ROTC Guerillas in Batangas Prior to the 1945 Nasugbu Landing in WWII.”

In this October 1944 document1, which contains the transcription of a hearing for claims filed against the Hunters-ROTC Guerrillas, details of the initial incursions of the group were detailed by one Juanito N. Ferrer. Portions of the transcript deemed by Batangas History as having limited relevance to Batangas are excluded. The document is edited here and there for grammar and spelling.

[p. 1]

RECORD OF HEARING BEFORE CONTRACT CLAIMS COMMISSION NO. 57 HELD AT THE CLAIMS SERVICE OFFICE, PHILCOM, ON THE 13TH DAY OF JANUARY 1949 IN THE MATTER OF THE CLAIM OF ENRIQUE T. BAUTISTA, G-4-160, 610. THE WITNESS, JUANITO N. FERRER, HAS SWORN TO TELL THE TRUTH BY CAPTAIN RICHARD C. ASHBY, JAGD.

Q. Will you state your name for the record please?

A. Juanito N. Ferrer.

Q. Your address?

A. 726 Canonigo, Paco, Manila.

Q. What are your personal circumstances?

A. 26 years old, married, Filipino.

Q. Were you a member of a guerrilla organization?

A. I was a member of the Hunter’s ROTC Guerrillas.

Q. Was that the only organization you were a member of?

A. Yes sir.

Q. When did you join the Hunter’s ROTC Guerrilla organization?

A. 7 May 1942.

Q. What unit did you become affiliated with?

A. With the U.S. Army?

Q. The Hunter’s ROTC Guerrillas.

A. I practically joined several units from the beginning until I commanded the 49th Regiment2 in the latter part of 1944.

Q. For purposes of record, Mr. Ferrer, will you state your military history, giving the name of the organization first joined, your rank, how long you were in that particular unit, what unit you transferred to in chronological order.

A. On 7 May 1942, I joined Terry as Intelligence Operative with rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

Q. What was the name of your unit?

A. Hunter’s ROTC Guerrillas didn’t have any units to speak of. You see, Terry was my classmate in the Philippine Military Academy and I was sort of skeptical in joining him. Modesty aside, I was sort of better

[p. 2]

Hearing in Claim of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

than he was in the Academy. When he approached me in joining his unit, I said, alright, I will join you. Miguel Ver was then the Commanding Officer. At that time I joined him, but rather in what you might say, not a very enthusiastic way. However, later on, he had been showing me their activities in the hills. You see, I did not go with them to Antipolo or to San Juan. I stayed right here in Manila. He just gave me instructions as to what I would do. I would do that to the best of my ability. Later, I had been meeting some of his lieutenants or associates who were with him in Antipolo. One was a classmate of mine, Erfe Mejia. I think, by the latter part of 1942, about September or November maybe, I was informed by Terry that I should organize the town of Parañaque. That was my town. Parañaque, he said, was strategically located and that if I could handle Parañaque, which is the crossroad from Batangas, Tayabas to Manila, it would do a lot of good to the organization. I told him, in Parañaque, there were three majors who were USAFFE’s, one of whom was my uncle. I might as well inquire from them first as to what good it would do. As I told you, I was sort of skeptical in joining Terry. I wanted somebody who was more adept in military matters. So, I asked my uncle, Major Damaso Ferrer, who was a USAFFE major. Although he did not actually tell me to go on or stop, he just meant to leave me alone. Do what you can. I wouldn’t help you because I was a USAFFE major and I might be watched. I told that to Terry. Terry said, go ahead. Are you afraid to die? That was a challenge to me. I organized Parañaque. He then promoted me to 1st Lieutenant. I was not conscious of the rank. I did not mind what rank he gave me. The thing is, I was beginning to like it.

Q. When did he promote you to 1st Lieutenant?

A. Around that time, November of 1942. I am not very sure.

Q. Was there a written order put out?

[The whole of page 3 and part of page 4 are not included because the hearing at this point mostly talked about Ferrer’s activity in Parañaque.]

[p. 4]

Q. You organized the Parañaque unit. How long did it exist?

A. From that time on, it existed until liberation.

Q. Were you with the Parañaque Town unit all the time?

A. I was there until I left for Batangas, although I maintained my message center in Parañaque. I had my own headquarters in Parañaque.

Q. When did you go to Batangas?

A. I started about May 1943 when I contacted Recio in Lipa, although I

[p. 5]

Hearing in Claim of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

did not actually stay there. Then, about maybe July or August, I contacted somebody in Nasugbu.

Q. Specifically state where you were. You said Batangas in May. Where in Batangas?

A. In Lipa. I stayed there a week just to contact these people.

Q. What did you organize in Lipa?

A. Actually, I did not organize but I said, here were three people. I talked to them, explained the Hunters Guerrillas and if they wanted to join me, that they could start organizing in Lipa. I gave them a plantilla to be followed.

Q. Where did you go from Lipa?

A. To Parañaque and Nasugbu.

Q. How long were you in Parañaque, then?

A. Well, maybe two or three weeks or maybe a month.

Q. Then you went to Nasugbu?

A. About July or August.

Q. How long did you stay in Nasugbu?

A. I stayed there maybe for three weeks. I am not very sure of this. I cannot recall offhand things like that.

Q. Did you organize any unit in Nasugbu?

A. Yes.

Q. What was the name of the unit?

A. It ended up to be my 1st Battalion of my regiment.

Q. When it was organized, what was it first called?

A. Well, when we went there, Terry had already the plans for these regiments, although not actually appearing on paper, not actually set out. I, being a close associate, I knew his plans.

Q. Did you call this the 1st Battalion of the 49th Infantry?

A. I did not attach the name yet. Maybe, I named it Nasugbu Town Unit.

[p. 6]

Hearing in Claims of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

Q. How long did it exist as the Nasugbu Town Unit?

A. Oh, maybe four months, five months.

Q. Then, what did it become?

A. 1st Battalion of the 49th Infantry.

Q. That would be when.

A. That would be January of 1944.

Q. Do you recall the date when you arrived in Nasugbu?



A. July of 1943.

Q. Was it the first part of July?

A. Latter part of July.

Q. After the fifteenth?

A. I am not very sure.

Q. You stayed in Nasugbu how long?

A. Maybe about three weeks of four weeks.

Q. Where did you go from Nasugbu?

A. I came down to Parañaque again.

Q. How long did you stay in Parañaque?

A. Usually for about a month or so.

Q. Then, where did you go?

A. Got back to Nasugbu again to complete the organization.

Q. How long were you in Nasugbu at that time?

A. From then on, I started staying in Batangas.

Q. Did you make Nasugbu your Headquarters?

A. Yes, the latter part of 1943.

Q. When did you establish headquarters there?

A. Maybe about November, or it could be October, somewhere like that. Yes, no… It is November or December of 1943.

Q. Can you establish the date in November or December more definitely?

A. No, I cannot.

[p. 7]

Hearing in claims of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 January 49

Q. What were you organizing in Batangas?

A. I was organizing a sort of regiment.

Q. Did it have a name?

A. 49th Regiment.

Q. When did you start organizing the 49th Regiment?

A. Actually, we can say from the time I contacted people in Lipa in May 1943, aside from the other people. I was not the only one who started contacting in Batangas.

Q. Did you start organizing the units as a part of the 49th Infantry?

A. I did not have that in mind. I did not even know what should be the name of the regiment. However, I was instructed by Terry to start contacting my other classmates from the Academy in Batangas and I did so.

Q. When did you first receive knowledge that the designation 49th Infantry would be used?

A. Officially?

Q. Unofficially.

A. My last visit to Terry was… I am not very sure, but it could be November 1943.

Q. But when did you first receive the official notification of the designation of the unit?

A. It could be June of 1944 already.

Q. Were your instructions in writing, organizing that 49th Infantry?

A. Actually, sir, the sort of these regiments were not what we could term in our army, we grouped a certain group of people and called them 45th or 49th. With Terry, it was different. He organized the area and places, the name in the name in the area after it was organized. It was an area I would like to call the area of the 49th Regiment. Actually, for example, this sector designation that I had. He divided the area that he was supposed to have control of a group of towns. Each group

[p. 8]

Hearing of Claim of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

of towns he called a sector. The commander was a sector commander.

Q. When was it first named the 49th Regiment?

A. After we received the official communication, June or July of 1944.

Q. Prior to that time, these units were known as what?

A. Town units grouped under some sectors.

Q. What was your sector then?

A. Before I left for Batangas, I was given a sector called Lawan Sector. These were the towns comprising Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinglupa.

[From this point, the Q & A revolved around the Lawan Sector]

[p. 9]

Hearing of Claim of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

Q. When you went down to Batangas, what did they call that sector?

A. I don’t believe we had a name for that area. Actually, we were just going to start organizing.

Q. After you organized your town unit, was it given a sector name?

A. No more. I think he had discarded this sector command then and started naming them according to divisions and regiments.

Q. When did he discard the sector system?

A. Well, about 19 of June 1944, I am not very sure. That is as far as I can remember.

Q. And he started that time calling sectors by regimental designations. Was it that time that he designated your sector as 49th Regiment?

A. Maybe, sir.

Q. As near as you can recall?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And what was the area of the 49th Regiment?

A. The whole of Batangas province.

Q. Will you give us a breakdown of the 49th Regiment?

A. After it was organized, sir?

Q. As it existed.

A. The 49th had three battalions aside from the headquarters company that I maintained. The 1st Battalion spread by areas from Nasugbu, Palataragan, Balan and Tuwi3. Those towns were in the areas of operations of the 1st Battalion. For the 2nd Battalion, I had Taal, Lemery, Alitagtag, Mabini and San Luis, also Batangas, Batangas and Bawan, Batangas. I think these are all the areas that were covered by the 2nd Battalion. [The] Third Battalion had its main staff in the town of Lipa, Sto. Tomas, Lipa, Tanauan. I think those areas alone.

[p. 10]

Hearing of Claim of Enrique T. Bautista, 13 Jan 49.

Q. That was first organized as I recall in June 1944 and so designated as the 49th?

A. That is right.

[From this point onwards, the interrogation was more concerned with finances of the Hunters-ROTC as relevant to the claims filed by the Enrique T. Bautista in question and have little relevance to the history of the guerrilla organization in Batangas. Thus, the concluding pages are excluded from this transcription.]

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Notes and references:
1 Box 246, Entry 1087, Philippine Archive Collection, Record Group 407, (US) National Archives. Online at the Philippine Veterans Association Office.
2 The 49th Regiment of the Hunters-ROTC was based in Batangas.
3 Likely Calatagan, Balayan and Tuy.

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