The Gagalac Guerrilla Group was one of the groups operating in Batangas that was given official recognition by the United States Army after World War II. In this undated document1, a short history of the guerrilla unit is presented as an attachment or enclosure to a request for official recognition by the United States Army. The document is edited here in and there for grammar, spelling and punctuation.
GAGALAC GUERRILLA UNIT
H I S T O R Y
2. To uphold the morale of the people and the maintenance of their spirit of loyalty to the government of the United States and refugee Commonwealth Government at Washington;
3. Suppression of pro-Japanese activities:
4. Maintenance of peace and order;
5. Protection of the civilians from bandits and lawless elements;
6. Sabotage works against the Japanese and the puppets;
7. Gathering of data and information of military value for transmittal to other units having contact with proper American military authorities; and
8. To conduct operations against the Japanese armed forces operating in the western part of Batangas province.
III. Expansion; Maj. Kramer, etc
IV. Campaign Against Banditry
V. Japanese Penetration
By this time, the existence of the organization was already a matter of common knowledge. The Japanese military command launched an intensive campaign against the Unit. The Gagalac guerrilleros, hunted everywhere, were forced to go to the hills. The unit was forced to transfer from one barrio to another. As the intensity of the Japanese penetration increased, it was decided, for obvious reasons, that the three Americans should seek a comparatively safer place. It was decided that they should embark for Mindoro to contact Major Phillips, head of the first SWPA2 special mission in Mindoro. They were able to reach Abra de Ilog, Mindoro, and from there they proceeded to the hideout of Major Phillips. That was the last that was heard of them.
Close at the heels of the Japanese penetration was the implementing and coordinated move of the Japanese-sponsored Constabulary. They, too, joined the campaign. We had to move our headquarters successively to barrio Sandig, Gunamgunam, Banabahan, Pasubliin, Mayasang, Ticob, Duhat and Matipok, all in the Municipality of Talisay. However, in spite of said campaign conducted by numerically superior forces, the unit never relaxed in its activities along the lines of the agreed objectives. In an effort to demoralize the members of the Unit, the Japanese, with their Constabulary henchmen, terrorized the populace or several barrios in Lemery. In barrios Bangin and Corral-na-Munti, houses were burned, innocent civilians were tortured. These terroristic methods notwithstanding, the Unit carried on.
In August, 1943, a group of bandits robbed the barrio of Bilibinwang in the municipality of Lemery. Timely information being sent to the Unit, the said bandits were chased and driven away. In this encounter, two of the bandits were killed. The rest fled. Immediately after this encounter, a patrol of Japanese soldiers numbering about two hundred raided the barrio of Baungan. They captured all civilians they were able to lay hands on, burning houses and abusing women. In the ensuing engagement that followed, an unidentified number of the enemy was killed and wounded. Three members of the Unit were wounded. In retaliation, the Japanese killed several civilian hostages who they had captured.
Barely a week after, three separate groups of bandits came down from Tagaytay. The first group headed for Taal, while the second and third groups raided the barrios of Polo and Banyaga, respectively. All of them were rounded up and those who resisted were killed. Thus was put to an end the depredations of bandits within the sector of the Unit.
VI. Sabotage Work
VII. Initial Encounters with Japs
VIII. Active Combat Action
Several periods are, thus, embraced in the historical account of the Unit. The period of organization and expansion; the period of preservation of [the] peace and order thru [the] suppression of banditry; the period of Japanese penetration and campaign of persecution of the Organization; the period of sabotage activities; the period of initial encounter with the enemy; and, finally, the period of intense and continued combat action. Throughout all these stages and the history of the organization, untold sacrifices and indescribable hardships were undergone to protect the people and in engendering in them the spirit of hostility to the enemy. Families were abandoned, and for three years, the members of the Unit sought refuge in the hills. Wanting in clothing and food and deficient and arms, they carried on the mission of resistance against constant harassment and terrible odds, hoping that someday, the forces of freedom would return to relieve them of the major share in the burden they had thus far so heroically borne. In the history of the liberation, the unit can therefore rest content that it had its own humble share of blood, struggle, and privations.
This history cannot be complete without a word of appreciation for hundreds of patriotic civilians who, under great risks, gladly gave by any means what they could spare to support the members of this organization wherever they might have been driven by the pressure of enemy action.
2 SWPA means “South West Pacific Area (command),” Wikipedia.