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January 1, 2018

Memo of Emilio Macabuag to Guerrilla Affairs Section, US Army

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 Macabuag wrote to the Guerrilla Affairs Section of the United States Army to strongly express why he felt his unit deserved official recognition.



[p. 1]

MEMORANDUM FOR-
G-2, GUERRILLA AFFAIRS SECTION
PHILRYCOM

Impelled by a firm conviction that my unit deserves recognition, I am hereby filing the following memorandum:

My unit has been maintained in constant active operation since its organization on 13 June 1943 until the day of final liberation. A close study of the unit’s organizational history, achievements and other supporting papers of my unit will bear out the facts.

When I made contact with Major L. H. Phillips, he was convinced that I had a strong, well-organized and reliable guerrillas in the western part of the province of Batangas. He asked me to form a pick company out of my unit and work for him. We redoubled our efforts, elated by the fact that America was determined to save us. As a gesture of real gratitude and appreciation, we named the company “Major Phillips Unit.” When we served Major Phillips and his party, we did not serve Major Phillips’ individual self. We were aware that we were serving the United States and her allies as represented by the person of Major Phillips. Unlike other guerrillas, we were serving with a tangible thing as represented by an American, Major L. H. Phillips, who was a United States Army officer. Under this brave American, we established a secret radio station at Calatagan, Batangas and all missions assigned to us were faithfully accomplished. When the Japs raided Major Phillips’ HQ at Mindoro, I and some of my men fought the Japs at the CP at Mananao, Paluan, Mindoro. Harold Guentner, one of the Americans we had brought from Batangas to Mindoro, was captured by the Japs and brought back to Batangas. He was forced to show the location of my CP and the radio station. Scores of my men were subjected to inhuman tortures by the Japs and some of them will bear the marks as long as they live. I had spent four months in a Japanese garrison where two of my couriers were killed. The Japanese were unable to cow us or break the morale of the men. Instead, we were more determined than ever to serve the United States and made ready to sacrifice our lives. The unit continued in active operation.

When Lt. Commander George F. Rowe (alias Commander Nicholson) established his HQ at Abra de Ilog, Mindoro, to succeed Major L. H. Phillips, my unit continued to serve him. My unit shouldered the task of transporting to and from Mindoro and Batangas members of Commander Rowe’s party and operatives of other guerrilla organizations that had contact with Mindoro. We helped establish another secret radio station at Mt. Luya, Calatagan, Batangas using as CP the mountain house of one of my men, Cpl Francisco Barangas. We maintained also a clearing house in the western part of the town of Balayan where leaders and operatives of different guerrilla outfits as well as Rowe’s operatives used to stay in safety under the very noses of the Japanese. My men were deployed in different strategic places ever watching the Japanese and harassing them continuously. Weeks before the Americans landed at Nasugbu, Batangas, the telephone lines of the Japs were already destroyed and my men continued sabotaging and destroying Jap installations aided by [the] strong combat patrol of Col. Cabarrubia’s Rainbow Regiment. I delivered to Sgt Donald Ash at Cape San Pedrino, Calatagan, a detailed map of the western Batangas region indicating the Japs’ fortification, positions, deployment, supplies, number of men and description of the terrain. During this operation, Lt. Galvez, one of my platoon leaders, was killed by the Japanese. I and my men were able to capture a Japanese Q boat and a Japanese naval officer and I went to Mindoro and delivered both to Commander Rowe. The Jap later proved to be of immense value for the information he gave proved to be correct.

When the Americans finally landed at Nasugbu, Batangas on 31 January, 1945, my men were at their respective zones of operations. The Japs were caught off balance and about five thousand of the enemies were hemmed in in the region between Balayan and Calatagan and closed in the north by the American Army. It would be highly impractical to gather them all together and fight as one unit. Besides, the 11th Airborne Division could not supply us with sufficient arms and attention was given to bigger units that counted with battalions and regiments. I ordered my men to join the best combat unit in the region that by doing so, the purpose would be served just the same for no matter what unit you served, all were under the command of the United States Army and fighting for the same objective.



[p. 2]

I believe that my unit had achieved and accomplished the same as other guerrillas who were fortunately recognized. I wonder what other units during the dark days of the Japanese occupation had accomplished over and above us that merited recognition when those units like mine could not have fought and driven the Japanese? Being guerrillas, the best things that could be done were to harass the Japs, get vital military information for the United States and keep the morale of the people. On these points, we were never deficient. In combat, we had done our best and fought under the best combat unit in the region. The fact that we did not fight as a unit did not mean that we were idle. I believe that by joining any combat unit provided we fought would serve the purpose. It is a fact that all units, though with different names and leaders, were just parts of that big army, United States Army, and they fought under United States officers. The fact that we fought under one of these units showed that we fought for the United States when fighting was necessary.

I would like that Office to consider the following facts pertinent to my unit.

(a) That my unit was originally established on 13 June 1943 comprising of three hundred and sixty six (366) officers and men. Prior to my contact with Major Phillips, I had been going with men of Col. Macario Peralta Jr. in Mindoro, especially with Lt. Marcelino Mosquera.

(b) That when I was called from Calatagan to report to Mindoro, Major Phillips already knew that I had a well-organized unit in Batangas. He asked me to form a pick company out of my unit to work for him. On 8 December 1943, the company was formed and named “Major Phillips Unit” in honor of this brave American.

(c) That after the death of Major Phillips, my unit continued operation. We worked for Lt. Commander George F. Rowe and gave him vital military information and to a great extent, helped his operatives and other guerrilla units in Luzon that had contact with him. The existence of my unit was also known to Major Ramon Ruffy, the Island Commander of Mindoro.

(d) That during the fight for liberation, my men were active in combat action against the enemy by joining the combat battalion of Col. Mariano H. Cabarrubia and operating in mopping up operations under him. Col. Cabarrubia could attest to the fact.

(e) That the unit named “Major Phillips Unit” formed out of my original unit in western Batangas was the one I presented for recognition because in all honesty, I believed that this unit had done splendid work worthy of recognition, achievements we were so proud to have accomplished. However, the rest of my men continued in their work and supported us especially in [the] matter of provisions.

(f) That the roster I had presented, though objected to by one of the American officers as not conforming to the table of organization, was the real and original roster. I could not change it because when I presented it to AFPAC in 1945, there was no table of organization given and I was never ordered to make any change at all.

(g) That all facts presented in the unit’s history and other papers attached thereto are all true and correct.

I have always a strong faith in American sense of justice and fairness. I would like that in full justice to my men and myself, our organization history, records of achievements and other papers attached to the roster and the different certifications supporting my claim to be closely studied and considered. I hope that the Office will exercise a careful consideration before passing judgement on my case.

Very respectfully,



[Sgd.] EMILIO MACABUAG
Commanding Officer
Major Phillips Unit

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Notes and references:
1 “MAJOR PHILLIPPS UNIT,” File No. 83, downloaded from PVAO.

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