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January 7, 2018

Petition from Ignacio Misenas for Recognition of the Geronimo Division, March 1946

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, one Ignacio Misenas, alleged co-founder of the Geronimo Division, sent a memorandum to the Office of the Commanding General of the United States Armed Forces Southwest Pacific (AFWESPAC) petitioning for the recognition of the guerrilla outfit.

[p. 1]

HEADQUARTERS
4th Bn., 143rd Infantry
Gen. Geronimo Div., MMD, ECLGA
Lipa, Batangas

March 1, 1946

SUBJECT

TO
: PETITION FOR RECOGNITION

: COMMANDING GENERAL, AFWESPAC
   APO 707, MANILA


1. Of all the towns in the province of Batangas or in Southern Luzon for that matter, the municipality of Lipa, Batangas bore the heaviest brunt of the Japanese atrocities. In a systematic massacre ordered by the High Command of the Japanese Imperial Forces, no less than 10,000 civilians and guerrillas were put to death and several thousands more were tortured and many were maimed for life. The whole population of the said municipality was not given any mercy at all because of the enemy’s belief that it was a hotbed of the guerrillas. Their belief was right.

2. As early as the year 1942 or shortly after the surrender of Corregidor and Bataan to the enemies, the brave patriots of this municipality organized themselves into a band in order to fan the dying embers of resistance against their oppressors. They believed in the necessity of this organization so as to keep high the morale of the Filipino people and to maintain their faith in the ideals of democracy and in the coming back of the American people to the Philippines. The Japanese had always rightly suspected the existence of this organization and that suspicion was climaxed by the wholesale massacre of the town’s population.

3. The officers and enlisted men whose names appear in the attached rosters and who are seeking recognition for their services were the ones that carried on this resistance movement. They had always been a nightmare to the Japanese.

4. During the early stage of the occupation, they engaged in sabotage work, in detecting enemy strength, movements and position; they informed the civilians of the probable action of the enemy in order to insure their safety. On several occasions, they were able to save many civilians from arrest and execution. In their fight against the enemy, they lost precious lives.

5. They had taken active part during the fight for liberation of the province of Batangas. They attached themselves to the American fighting units as guides and interpreters. They also fought as bravely as the liberation forces as evidenced by various certifications of the U.S. Army officers. They had captured many kinds of enemy weapons ranging from machine guns to small caliber pistols, many of which were turned over to the U.S. Army officers as souvenirs. Their preservation (of captured arms from Japs) at the time for the purpose of supporting this petition for recognition was not thought of. They also fought against the Makapili and the Sakdals, a negligible group of Filipino traitors who allied themselves with the enemy. In this way, they hastened the liberation of the province.

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6. Because of their devotion to the ideals and principles of democracy and their loyalty to the American people, they risked their lives and some of them paid the extreme penalty.

7. It is earnestly desired that the U.S. Government, through the AFWESPAC, extends recognition of their patriotic services rendered during the dark days of the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. They do not expect, however, permanent service in the Army now that the war is over, and because they are not in active duty by actual attachment to any American unit, so that all they seek is recognition of the past services in order to become justly proud of the fact that their meritorious services are not entirely neglected.

8. In view of the above premises, it is respectfully requested that the AFWESPAC authorities extend recognition to this outfit under such terms and conditions that they may see fit.

[Sgd.] IGNACIO G. MISENAS
Lt. Col. MMD, ECLGA
Co-Organizer of this Unit

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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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