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December 30, 2017

Report on the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Bahia-Deguito Unit, FAIT

The Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrilla Unit was one of many units of the large Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) organized by the retired American Colonel Hugh Straughn at the onset of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. This guerrilla organization had many such units operating in other towns of Batangas, including the town of Balayan. The Balayan unit was organized by Majors Rodolfo Bahia and Amador de Guito. Hence, it was also referred to as the Bahia-Deguito unit. In this document1, Lt. Grant Wilcox of the United States Army and M/Sgt. Sebastian Songsong of the Philippine Army filed their findings after investigating the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas for official recognition by the United States Army.

[p. 1]

Report on the “Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Bahia-Deguito Unit, FAIT”

1. Lt. Grant S. Wilcox and M/Sgt. Sebastian G. Songsong proceeded to Balayan, Batangas, on the 30th of September, 1946, to investigate the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Bahia-Deguito Unit, FAIT.

2. ALLEGED HISTORY: (See attached unit file)

3. FINDINGS:

a. The following persons were interviewed and their statements are reflected in the findings:

MEMBERS
Col Vicente Galvez, CO of the unit
Lt Col Casiano T. Calalang
Lt Col Nemesio Maingat
Lt Col Pedro G. Bahia
Lt Col Buenaventura de Guzman
Maj Julian Tesorero
Maj Vicente Palacio Jr.
Maj Mer Ramos
Capt Simon Castillo
Capt Vivencio Sumabat
1st Lt Rodolfo Robles
1st Lt Alejandro Laxamana
1st Lt Gregorio Jaime
1st Lt Juan Bandicio
2d Lt Aurelio de Guzman
2d Lt Bernardo Boganos
2d Lt Matias Gonzales
S/Sgt Igmedio Martinez
S/Sgt Vicente Ramos
S/Sgt Jose Apolinar
Sgt Hilarion Torneros
Sgt Domingo Arellano
Cpl Cayetano Balboa
Cpl Ricardo Torres
Cpl Luis Marcelo
Pfc Iluminado Rivera
Pfc Pio Carillo
Pfc Buenaventura Bagonas
Pfc Cirilo Balasag
Pvt Felipe Carreon
Pvt Miguel Custodio
Pvt Mariano Punto
Pvt Pedro Ojerio
Pvt Lorenzo de la Cruz
Pvt Independen Bisconde
Pvt Galicano Asma
Pvt Gaudencio Bagonas

NON-MEMBERS
Col Terry Adevoso
Col Quintin Gellidon
Col Vicente S. Umali

[p. 2]

Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo
Lt Col Edwin P. Ramsey
Maj Ramon Ruffy
Lt Comdr George F. Rowe

b. Record of service was not substantiated by sufficient acceptable evidence. This organization, under the commandof Col (Grla rank) Vicente Galvez, remained absolutely passive during the occupation. There is no supporting evidence presented to substantiate their claims to have actively engaged in intelligence work, propaganda, sabotage, or combat, as a unit. There are approximately 42 men on the rosters submitted with this unit who were active with Lt Comdr George F. Rowe (advance post of SWPA on Mindoro) as guides, intelligence operators and couriers under the leadership of Buenaventura de Guzman and Julian Tesorero. A whole regiment consisting of 1,587 men has been padded and built up around the activities of the 42 men.
c. This unit was not maintained satisfactorily in the field in opposition to the enemy. There are three guerrilla units in Balayan, Batangas: the subject unit, the Rillo-Neri Guerrilla Unit and a large part of the membership of the Rainbow Regiment, Blue Eagle Command; all three of these units were passive during the Japanese occupation. There is evidence of overlapping of membership among these three units. This unit cannot furnish evidence of participation in the liberation. Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo, Hunters-ROTC, who operated the Balayan [sector?] are with the US Army liberating forces, stated that the Bahia-Deguito Unit was not active in either the liberation or the occupation periods. Col Quintin Gellidon, FAIT, and overall guerrilla coordinator with the 11th Airborne Division, said that he never heard of any activities of this unit and he thinks he would have if they had any activities.
d. A definite organization was not established. The unit did not have any records, such as induction papers, promotion papers, service records, orders, directives or correspondence, to submit because it never existed as a unit. The rosters were made up in early 1946 to submit with the request for recognition. The rosters can be considered an attempt to gather a group of men together merely for recognition purposes. Lt Col Edwin P. Ramsey made a trip to Mindoro in 1944 and his guerrilla unit maintained a relaying post at Balayan, but stated he never heard of this unit. Col Vicente S. Umali, whose PQOG Command for a time dominated Batangas Province, claims to have heard of this unit.
e. Performance of this unit did not indicate adequate control by its commanding officer. The members of this unit lived at home during the occupation and carried on normal civilian occupation. The CO, Vicente Galvez, is a pharmacist by profession, and he operated a drug store in Balayan throughout the occupation.
f. Unit did not show continuity of activity and organization. Other than for approximately 42 men who worked with Lt Comdr Rowe, this unit existed only on papers.

[p. 2]

g. The record of activities submitted by this unit indicates activity by only a few men led by Buenaventura de Guzman and Julian Tesorero. Col Terry Adevoso never heard of this unit, but he knew de Guzman to have been active with Lt Comdr Rowe. Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo, Hunters, ROTC, who operated with the US Army liberating forces in this area, likewise, stated that this unit is a fraud. Lt Col Ocampo, however, stated that he knows both de Guzman and Tesorero, and he stated that they were both active agents for Lt Comdr Rowe. Maj Ramon Ruffy of the Mindoro Guerrillas said that he knew de Guzman to have been active with Lt Comdr Rowe’s Hq, but he had never heard of the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Bahia-Deguito Unit, FAIT, until spoken of by this contact team.
g. Sufficient facts have been uncovered during this investigation to verify that de Guzman and Tesorero worked under Rowe at Mindoro and made several trips over to Luzon with small patrols to carry out various missions assigned to them by Lt Comdr Rowe. It is evident that de Guzman, Tesorero and the men actively engaged under them are deserving of guerrilla recognition. Col Adevoso, Lt Col Ocampo, and Maj Ruffy credit de Guzman and Tesorero with having had about 30 men, at the most, actively participating in guerrilla activities. On the basis of the accomplishments of these men and commendations by Lt Comdr Rowe, this contact team had de Guzman and Tesorero submit a roster of their 40 most active followers. These 40 men with de Guzman and Tesorero as 1st Lts were organized into [a] 42-man platoon based upon a rifle platoon T/O. De Guzman is the platoon leader and as such is held responsible for the qualifications of the men listed in the platoon under him. This platoon of 42 men does not include the Bahia-Deguito Unit CO, Vicente Galvez. Lt Comdr Rowe stated that as he was under the impression that there were two to three times as many men who were active under de Guzman, but this was not substantiated by available evidence.

4. POLITICAL ASPECTS: This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations nor aspirations.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrilla, Bahia-Deguito Unit, FAIT be favorably considered for partial recognition to the extent of 42 men for a seven month period, 15 July 1944 to 15 February 1945.

[Sgd.] SEBASTIAN G. SONGSONG
M/Sgt, Infantry (PA))
[Sgd.] GRANT S. WILCOX
2d Lt. Infantry

Recognition dates based on statement of Lt Comdr GEORGE F ROWE, USNR – Original attached with supporting papers.

[Sgd.] C H WENTZELL
Maj Inf
Chief, Investigation Sect.


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Notes and references:

1 “Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Deguito Unit FAIT,” File No. 110-42, downloaded from PVAO.


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