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December 31, 2017

Lt. George Bond's Report on the Ibaan Regiment FAIT, June 1946

The Ibaan Regiment was one of many units of the Fil-American Irregular Troops, 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 this June 1946 document1 one Lt. George Bond filed a report after investigating the Ibaan Regiment of the FAIT. This report would be the basis for the non-recognition by the US Army of the Ibaan-based guerrilla outfit.

[p. 1]

C O N F I D E N T I A L

HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES WESTERN PACIFIC
G-3 Guerrilla Affairs Branch

APO 707
June 1946

REPORT ON THE “IBAAN REGIMENT”

In accordance with instructions from Chief of Section, Guerrilla Affairs, G-3, AFWESPAC, Lieutenant George R. Bond proceeded to Ibaan, Batangas to contact the “Ibaan Regiment,” in order to determine whether or not this organization should be recognized by the United States Army. The following report is a summary of the investigation and basis for the recommendation.

HISTORY

THE “Ibaan Regiment” was organized in early 1943 by Captain Jorge D. Espina after he had contacted Colonel Hugh Straughn at Bo. Malaya, Pililla, Rizal. He enlisted the help of Sixto M. Guerra in organizing a unit in Ibaan, Batangas. After several months of organization, Jap spies learned of the activities of the guerrillas of Ibaan and in the pacification campaign of Jap collaborators, the leaders and their followers were prevailed upon to surrender and laid down their arms. In March 1944, Espina was captured by the Japs and since then, nothing more was learned of him. Then, Sixto M. Guerra established his own regiment at Ibaan with Iluminado Medrano as his executive officer. By the end of 1944, the unit consisted of two battalions, totalling eight companies, its total enlistment being between seven and eight hundred men.

Prior to the American landing in Batangas, the activities of the organization were limited to small scale patrolling, sabotage, and intelligence activities. Lt. Col. Guerra reported to Major C. N. Schommer of the 187th Paraglider Infantry at Tagaytay in February 1945 about his organization. When the 158 RCT arrived in Ibaan, this unit acted as guides, and assisted in mopping up operations. The unit also served with the 188th Paraglider Infantry in the same capacity for a period of a month. This unit also furnished laborers to build bypasses and repair roads. After the American units left, this unit continued its patrol work into July 1945 in order to round up any Japanese stragglers that might have infiltrated their town from Mt. Macolud. The unit was disbanded in September 1945. The unit has had 101of its members recognized by the using units.

[p. 2]

FINDINGS

The following named persons are those interviewed by the contact team and their statements are the basis for the findings:

1. Sixto M. Guerra – Lt Col., commanding officer of the subject unit.
2. Iluminado Medrano – Major, executive officer of the subject unit.
3. Rufino Montalbo – Captain, S-2 of the subject unit.
4. Alejandro Perez – Captain, Commanding Officer of the “A” Co, 1st Bn, subject unit.
5. Mercario Medrano – Captain, Surgeonof the subject unit.
6. Pedro Reyes – 1st Lt Surgeon of the subject unit.
7. Leandro Macatangay – 1st Lt of the subject unit.
8. Anastacio P. Chavez – S/Sgt in the subject unit.
9. Rafael Rivera – Sgt, Co. “C,” 1st Bn of the subject unit.
10. Vicente Perez – 1st Sgt, “A” Co., 2nd Bn of the subject unit.
11. Crisanto Macatangay – 1st Lt, “A” Co. 2nd Bn of subject unit.
12. Luis Ilagan – 1st Lt of subject unit.
13. Gerardo Reyes – 1st Lt of the subject unit.
14. Daniel Torralba – 1st Lt in subject unit.
15. Manases G. Reyes – Capt of the subject unit.
16. Miguel Mercado – Mayor of the town of Ibaan, Batangas.
17. David Reyes – Civilian.
18. Quintin Gellidon – Guerrilla leader.
19. Eligio P. Yabyabin – Major, Bn Commander of the subject unit.

Upon investigation of the subject unit, it was found that the roster showed the total enlistment to be 1362 officers and men. Upon interviewing the executive officer of the unit in question, it was found that the unit initially consisted of between seven and eight hundred men. It was stated that six hundred names were added. The reason for this was that the names added were men who were formerly members of the FAIT in Batangas, but when Espina died, their organizations broke up and no one put them on their rosters, so the commanding officer of the “Ibaan Regiment” placed them on his roster, although he stated that these men never served with the “Ibaan Regiment.” From this, it appears that those six hundred men have no basis for recognition in this organization

Lack of control of the subject unit also appeared when it was learned that thirty of its members had joined the “Blue Eagle.”

It was stated that, before the Americans landed, only 350 members of this organization were active, the rest were held in reserve. It was also stated that those who were active, were so by rotation; that is, for one week, they trained, the next week, they went on patrol, and in the interim, they visited

[p. 3]

their families whenever they could. It was stated by a civilian that many civilians, and those who claim to be guerrillas, lived in the Camp because of necessity rather than because of the organization. It was stated that in addition to their duties as Guerrillas, those men on active status were able to support their families. Prior to the American landing, no guerrillas in this unit were killed or wounded in encounters with the Japanese, although those killed were, numbering 30, taken from their “homes.”

The medical officers of the unit lived in their homes, maintained their private practice, and rendered medical assistance to civilians and guerrillas alike, the same appeared to be true of the nurses corps that was established after the Americans landed in Batangas.

When the Americans landed, the unit took over the town of Ibaan, Batangas which the Japanese had left unmolested, and when the 158 RCT arrived, they acted as guides in the mopping up operations. The 158 RCT left six days later and their place was taken over by the 188th Paraglider Infantry. The 188th used this unit as guides and on their patrols; they were also used in the construction of by passes and the reconstruction of roads. It was stated by the unit that approximately 450-500 of their men served actively with the 188th, and there are certifications to the effect that the unit did in some capacity. But it was stated that the unit served by rotation. Not being able to determine the numberf men that actually served with the American unit, because of the claimed rotation system, plus the incoherent stories told by those interviewed, it is believed that the using forces recognized the number that actually rendered service to them.

Under separate cover, the regimental S-1 submitted a company roster, from which had been shifted names from the whole regiment, for recognition. This was done without the knowledge of the commanding officer of the subject unit. The commanding officer of the unit in question states that the reason they submitted this roster was to hasten recognition. Upon scutiny of this roster, it was found that all the officers had been previously recognized, but in lower grades, so it appears that they were attempting to gain their original ranks through the submission of a new roster. From this, it appears that the commanding officer of the subject unit does not have good control over his unit. Documentary evidence furnished by this unit was of little value. (See complaint letter filed on “Ibaan Regiment.”)

POLITICAL ASPECT

This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.

[p. 4]

RECOMMENDATIONS

After careful consideration of the statements made by the present members and an analysis of the documents presented, it is recommended that with the exception of those members previously recognized, the “Ibaan Regiment,” be not favorably considered for recognition.

[Sgd.] GEORGE R. BOND 0-1339838
2nd Lt., Inf
Contact Team #1.


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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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