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January 7, 2018

Vicente Virrey’s Letter to the US Army Requesting for Reconsideration, March 1947

The Geronimo Division was a guerrilla outfit operating out of the then-town of Lipa. Its request for official recognition was subsequently denied by the United States Army. In this document1, Battalion Executive Officer of the Geronimo Division guerrilla outfit fighting out of Lipa, wrote to the Commanding General of the Philippines-Ryukyus Command asking for reconsideration after the outfit’s non-recognition by the United States Army.

[p. 1]

HEADQUARTERS
4th Bn, 143rd Infantry, (UNIT MMD, ECLGA)
Gen. Geronimo Division
BATANGAS UNIT
Lipa, Batangas

March 27, 1947
SUBJECT

TO
: REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OR RECOGNITIONOF THIS UNIT.

: COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILRYCOM, APO 707.
Attached herewith are affidavits of ranking officers of different guerrilla units then operating in this province and certifications of ten prominent men, also of this province, which are self-explanatory. Two (2) copies of each are hereby presented as additional supporting evidences for reconsideration of recognition of this outfit. All other papers of this outfit were presented to the Guerrilla Affairs Section, AFWESPAC, on 10 March 1946 and 8 April 1946.

On 16 September 1946, this guerrilla unit was contacted by Lt. Brebson, Guerrilla Affairs Section, AFWESPAC, and in the following November, Lt. Col. Ceferino Melo (now deceased), commanding this unit received notice that recognition of this outfit was not deemed warranted because it did not comply with general requirements for guerrilla recognition established by Gen. MacArthur during the liberation of the Philippines.

In this connection, I wish to make mention that these requirements demand of guerrilla units a form of activities, almost that of a regular army. Everybody knows that no such organization could have been organized during the Japanese occupation. If such were possible, the guerrillas would not have been guerrillas but regular fighting units of an army which could have supplanted the USAFFE. And considering the number of these guerrilla units, they could have even driven the ruthless invaders away long before the Americans returned to the Philippines.

But the men of the underground movement could not have been possibly organized into a regular army or even into a close semblance of it as AFWESPAC would want them to be. They were scattered in wild territories, not in towns or in cities, but in the mountains, in secluded villages, and in the hills. Circumstances demanded that their activities and existence be carried on with secrecy not only to achieve any degree of success but also to protect themselves and the civilian populations.

Despite the multifarious handicaps which hampered the activities of the guerrillas, the fact remains that they contributed much in the prosecution of the war in the Philippines. The remains of thousands of guerrilleros who met death in the hands of the Japanese, whether in combat or simply in sabotage or intelligence work, are mute testimonials to their services when needed and most willingly rendered. The orphans and widows, the countless men in the prime of manhood who now roam the streets with crooked arms and legs and deeply scarred bodies, all testify to the activities of these guerrilla organizations.

They might not have won the war all by themselves, a credit which they do not even pretend to own, but certainly contributed much in winning that war in the Philippines. No yardstick could be used to determine how materially the activities of the guerrilla outfits contributed to the eventual defeat of the enemy. All that could possibly be known, and which everybody knows,



[p. 2]

is that the Americans did not lose as much men and materials in the invasion of the Philippines as they would have undoubtedly lost had there been no guerrillas in the Philippines.

It therefore stands to reason, that it is not fair to the men of the underground movement that their claims for recognition be brushed away by the standards which actually denied their existence. If the only reason for doing so is to save the United States from paying further compensation to these legitimate guerrillas whose services are no longer necessary nor needed, there should be enough courage to say so candidly. After all, when these loyal citizens of the Philippines preferred to resist the enemy, they never thought of their compensation. If ever they seek compensation now, it is because during the dark days of the war, when it was thought that they were rendering invaluable and material contribution to the defeat of the enemy or their support was deemed essential to achieve this end, when they were heroes and patriots, they were promised almost everything in the world. Actually, some of their comrades have been awarded. These unrecognized guerrillas suffered and are in want, as much as those who have been duly compensated, and it is human that they should now seek the same reward.



Respectfully submitted,



[Sgd.] VICENTE VIRREY
Major, Infantry
Bn. Executive Officer

[Handwritten] Incl:
8 affidavits (two copies each)

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Notes and references:
1 “4th Bn, General Geronimo’s Div, MMD, ECLGA,” File No. 308-91, downloaded from PVAO.

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