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December 31, 2017

A Brief History of the Ibaan Regiment Batangas Guerrillas

The Ibaan Regiment was one of many units of the Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT), a large guerrilla group founded by the former US Army officer Hugh Straughn, that was operating in Batangas during the Japanese Occupation. It was commanded by one Sixto Guerra. In these document1 a short history of the Ibaan Regiment is provided as one of the requirements for the guerrilla units application for official recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States.

[p. 1]

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IBAAN REGIMENT
(Batangas Guerrillas)

The organization of the Ibaan unit dates back to January 25, 1943, when a group of patriotic members of the Fil-American Irregular Troops headed by Capt. Jorge D. Espina, was commissioned by Col. Hugh Straughn, USA #02515, to organize guerrilla units in the province of Batangas. To Captain Gregorio Aguado, now Transportation and Communications Officer of this regiment, is due the credit of being the first guerrilla in this town. (See attached enclosure #1). On March 10, 1943, Sixto M. Guerra, now Commanding Officer, because of his military experience, courage and devotion to duty was chosen to head this unit, then comprising the towns of IBAAN and ROSARIO, with the rank of Captain. The initial organization, although made under the most trying circumstances in view of the vigilance of the Japanese Military Police, was a source of great satisfaction because of the spontaneous response of the public in enlisting therein and giving aid and support thereto. The roster of that first organization in Ibaan will follow. This organization, like any other guerrilla organization, has had the fate of losing some of its members and supporters through the activities of spies and the JMP; (attached also is a list of the unfortunate members and supporters who were killed by the enemy, enclosure No. 2).

During the pacification campaign of November, 1943, the officers and men of this organization, in the interest of the townspeople, whose lives and properties were threatened if the guerrillas would not surrender, laid down their arms. It is noteworthy, however, that the moving spirit behind the organization, instead of dying out, became more fervent and determined to continue the heroic struggle. Col. Guerra reorganized a group of men (See enclosure No. 3) to carry on the work. The guerrilla units in Batangas still intact at that time suffered a great loss in March, 1944 when its head, Jorge Espina, was picked up by the JMP and has been unheard from since then. Deprived of a leader, the different sectors defined in the first organization, now became independent units; each sought attachment with some other guerrilla organization. In this connection, it may be safely stated that all guerrilla units in Batangas Province have their origin from this ill-fated organization. The Ibaan Unit, for a time, remained independent until a bigger organization, the PQOG, headed by Col. Galicano Luansing Jr. in Batangas, threatened to give us trouble if we would not join them. Again, in the interest of saving the town from further miseries and extortion of the latter unit, we were forced to make contact with them.

[p. 2]

At the same time, Col. Guerra, through I. R. Medrano, now Adjutant and Ex. Officer, made contact with the mother organization of the Fil-Americans, then having a branch office in Malacañan Palace, Manila.

Later in August, 1944, the break-up of the PQOG, after all the abuses it had committed, came and Col. Luansing contacted Col. Guerra to join hands with him and Col. I. Farol, Rosario Unit, and the Batangas Guerrillas came into being, the Ibaan Regiment being one of its component units. From then on, the Ibaan Regiment and the Rosario Regiment, the first components of the Batangas Guerrillas, worked as one organization until circumstances and the exigencies of the service forced them to work separately and independently as at present. Our letter of April 5, 1945 outlines in brief the activities of the Ibaan Regiment until the present.


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Notes and references:

1 “Ibaan Rgt Fil-Amer Batangas Guerrillas FAIT,” File No. 110-6, downloaded from PVAO.


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