Letter of Appeal to General MacArthur on Behalf of the Major Phillips Unit, Oct 46 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Letter of Appeal to General MacArthur on Behalf of the Major Phillips Unit, Oct 46 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Letter of Appeal to General MacArthur on Behalf of the Major Phillips Unit, Oct 46

The Major Phillips Unit was a guerrilla unit that was founded and operated in or around western Batangas town of Calatagan. It was commanded by one Emilio Macabuag and took its name from a United States Army intelligence officer from whom the guerrilla outfit took directions until the latter was caught and killed by the Japanese. In this document1 frustrated by the non-favorable decision by the United States Armed Forces in the Western Pacific’s Adjutant General’s Offce stationed in the Philippines on the Major Phillips application for official recognition, Macabuag wrote directly to General Douglas MacArthur in Japan.

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Guerrilla Files

Calatagan, Batangas
Philippine Islands

6 October 1946
Tokyo, Japan

1. A letter dated 12 August 1946 from AFWESPAC rejecting the request for recognition of [the] “Major Phillips Unit” was received by the undersigned.

2. Appeal for reconsideration was made based on the following:

(a) That the Unit is a bona fide guerrilla organization and not fake as insinuated in the letter of rejection. Competent witnesses could attest to this. The inhabitants of the region or zone of operation of this unit may also be asked about the standing of the Unit. This Unit was even approved and attached to his party by Major L. H. Phillips who came from GHQ, SWPA on 22 October 1943 and landed by submarine on Paluan, Mindoro on 13 November 1943. From the time of attachment to Major Phillips until the surrender of Japan, the Unit was maintained in active operation against the enemy.

(b) That the investigation about my Unit was not comprehensive enough to properly evaluate the real activities of the Unit.

(c) That there was apparently a misrepresentation discriminatory to my Unit leading to a misconception about my claim. The letter itself implied that I was making a false claim which is very bitter to swallow knowing that we had experienced hardships, miseries and sufferings in the performance of our duties. We had tasted the inhuman tortures of the beastly Japanese and others met death heroically but we were never cowed by them because our faith in American is unfailing. Being only a small Unit composed of men who had really served faithfully and being of the poor and the middle class, it was stampeded by big units who were rather dormant or unheard of during the occupation and had suddenly wakened up to the realization that they were guerrillas and deserve recognition. Our exclusive work like the operation and maintenance of the secret radio station at Cape Santiago under Major L. H. Phillips was even claimed by other units. Another unit has the temerity to claim my unit as only part of it. I am reiterating further that my unit was independent of any other unit although I had extended every possible cooperation and help to other units believing that we all belonged to the same army under your Excellency’s command. [The] Major Phillips Unit was, in fact, supported and given supplies by Major Phillips and when he died and our supplies were exhausted, I found another means that maintained my Unit throughout the operation against the enemy. The claim, therefore, that my Unit was a part of another unit is preposterous and the allegation that I am making a false claim is

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unjustifiable. With a firm conviction in American justice and fairness, I am appealing my case to your Excellency’s office.

(d) That the five points enumerated in the letter as bases of rejection are unfair to us because, with the possible exception of letter “c,” I had satisfied all the requirements. I did not meet requirement “c” simply because I did not know about those data that were needed. When I submitted the roster to AFPAC on 5 October 1945, I was not told of those items and I was only told to wait for further instructions or call, which I did. Had I been appraised of the requirements, I could have accomplished them. I submitted a roster in the same form that I had submitted to Major Phillips on 8 December 1943 and the truth was that I thought that that roster might have been kept and that was precisely why I did not at once work for my recognition. I became aware of the data missing from my roster when I received the letter of rejection. I can further say with conviction and will prove at any time that no unit that claimed to have operated in our region, whether recognized or claiming recognition, had fulfilled the requirements except letter “c” with the possible exception of Col. Mariano H. Cabarrubia’s Combat Battalion and the ROTC HUNTERS at Cutad. A closer study of our true record and a comparison with the true activities of other units, I believe, may bring to light the real value and importance of what we had actually done. I am, therefore, presenting a rough outline of our activities, activities that were real and not lies.

1. That on or about the end of November 1943, while I was in Mindoro working with men of Gen. Peralta’s Guerrillas under Lt. Col. Jurado, I made contact with Major L. H. Phillips and his party that had landed by submarine at Paluan, Mindoro. They came from GHQ, SWPA, leaving that headquarters on 22 October 1943 and landed at Paluan, Mindoro on 13 November 1943.

2. Major L. H. Phillips, head of the party, assigned me as his operative and asked for a company of selected and trustworthy men to work as intelligent-reception company. This company I selected from my Unit ad Calatagan, Batangas with members from Balayan and Calatagan. I submitted the roster of this company to Major Phillips and he formally recognized it on 8 December 1948. This company I named secretly as “Major Phillips Unit” in honor of that brave American.

3. Various intelligence missions were assigned to us covering Batangas and Manila and I made my first report to him on 28 December 1943. The missions covered both military and naval intelligence.

4. That a radio station was assigned to my Unit and it was established at Cape Santiago, Calatagan, Batangas. This station was operated by two members of Major Phillips party from SWPA, M/Sgt Benjamin Harder and S/Sgt Ramon Vitorio. The maintenance and security of the station were under my unit.

5. A fast courier service between Mindoro and Batangas was maintained by my Unit to ferry across the men, supplies and other important matters. This was done under the very nose of the Japanese. Through this

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system, operatives both American and Filipino, men, arms and supplies and other equipment were transported to and from Mindoro. This service was maintained by my Unit until the Americans finally liberated the province of Batangas.

6. That we had helped and rescued four Americans from Batangas to Mindoro although one of them had the misfortune to be captured in Mindoro and was forced to reveal the location of our station at Calatagan and the CP and the mountain hideouts.

7. That I and some of my men had fought the Japanese at Manan-ao, Paluan, Mindoro when they raided our CP on February 1943, resulting in seventeen Japanese casualties and none on our side.

8. That my men were deployed in strategic places both in Batangas and Mindoro and the island of Talawtaw. These men remained in their posts and rendered services faithfully.

9. That I was captured by the Japs after the location of the station was revealed but I managed first to bring to safety the two operators. However, Sgt. Ramon Vitorio was captured by the Japs in Balayan. My men stationed at the station at Cape Santiago and at the secondary station at Mt. Hukay were captured and tortured. We were punished, tortured and every inhuman device of torment were applied to us but we never squealed. Two of my couriers were put to death.

10. That while I was in prison with some of my men, the rest continued the operation against the enemy under the able leadership of my ExO until I was released and took over the command again.

11. That, together with Sgt. Benjamin Harder and other members of the party of Major L. H. Phillips, I reported to Mindoro at the HQ of the new officer who succeeded Major Phillips, Lt. Commander George F. Rowe, known by his alias as Commander Nicholson. My men actively engaged in the maintenance of a new radio station at Mt. Luya near Balayan.

12. That all operatives, members of other units that conferred with the base at Mindoro passed at our HQ at Balayan or Calatagan and were transported by our courier service.

13. That we had made a thorough study of the Japanese positions, fortifications, armaments, supplies and other installations covering the region from Nasugbu to Lemery and indicated them in a detailed map that was delivered to Americans who landed by PT Boat at Cape San Pedrino on Balayan Bay. The American who received us was Sgt. Donald Ash. This was on 24 January 1945 and on 27 January 1945, our detail under Lt. Galvez encountered a Jap patrol at Talibayog and in the subsequent encounter, Lt. Galvez was killed.

14. That before the Americans landed, my men had already cut the telephone lines connecting the different garrisons of the Japs and, in some cases, had shot Japanese intelligence operatives.

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15. That when the Americans finally landed, my men who were deployed in the field joined the combat unit nearest them in fighting the Japanese in open warfare. Thus, my men at Balayan joined the Combat Battalino of Col. Cabarrubia that liberated Balayan and defended it against repeated Japanese attacks. I led my men at Calatagan in mopping up operations when that town was liberated by the ROTC HUNTERS. When these combat units were processed at Camp Murphy, my men stayed behind knowing that they belong to another unit.
In the light of these things which I know favorably compare if not surpass the real activities of other units favorably considered, I decided to appeal to your Excellency’s Office and I further reiterate that I am ready to face any investigation and prove all my statements.
3. Enclosed are true copies of certifications of Major Ricardo C. Galang, Ex O of [the] Major Phillips party, M/Sgt Benjamin Harder, one of the operators of the radio station and George F. Rowe, Lt. Commander, USNR, CO of the Base at Mindoro and successor of Major L. H. Phillips.
Captain, Commanding Officer
Major Phillips Unit
Notes and references:
1 “MAJOR PHILIPPS UNIT,” File No. 83, downloaded from PVAO.
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