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December 30, 2017

Jorge Espina's Message to the People, October 1943

The Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) was a large guerrilla organization that operated in Luzon during the Japanese occupation during World War II up to the liberation of the Philippines. The organization was founded by the retired American Army officer Hugh Straughn and had units in many localities in Luzon, including Batangas. The GHQ Batangas Force, purportedly founded by one Jorge Espina, who was subsequently killed by the Japanese, was one of the units who sought recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the United States Armed Forces. In this document1, one guerrilla Lt. Col. Jorge Espina of the Batangas Guerrillas wrote to the public in Batangas to remain steadfast and strong in the face of the trials encountered during the Japanese occupation of the province.

FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
HQTRS, BATANGAS DIVISION

October 1, 1943

A MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE

“In this present state of world chaos and troubles, we of all people must be ready [to] feel and see the situation and try to do our best to show the world, especially the present reigning tyrants that we are also capable to preserve and fight for our principles of democracy and freedom.

“This is WAR ! ! ! The efficiency of a fighting force depends primarily upon the psychology and morale of the individuals who compose it. This means that no matter how well an army may be trained and equipped, if it is not inspired, by the basic love of country, if it lacks the will to victory, if it refuses to suffer sacrifices and privations, it is doomed to defeat. It must possess the ferocity of fighting purpose which carries a man to death for a principle. All other handicaps can be overcome, save that of defeatism.

“WE CAN’T ! ! ! — These words sum up the philosophy of defeatism, which has paralyzed the spirit of many a citizen. No one can deny that this philosophy of weakness, cowardice and despair has been abroad in the land. “It’s fantastic, this National Defense Program,” people will groan, “it can’t succeed. We can’t put up a scrap. An attempt at defense in the face of an invasion, will only invite ruin...” Tragic defeatism unworthy of a brave, patriotic people... Let us have more men and women with courage and do away with this distraught defeatism. No need to tell the people to have courage. They have it in full measure. True soldiers have no ear for the moan, “Let the conqueror come!”

“Col. Rafael Garcia declared, “Our rich agricultural lands and our rich natural resources, offer a tempting morsel to the greedy invader. A nation unprepared to face the onslaught of a warlike and aggressive nation will have to submit to their tyranny.” A nation in which the civilian population has succumbed to the “We can’t” philosophy, can have no chance in these days of Blitzkrieg Warfare. War is not fought by soldiers alone these days. The humblest citizen in the remotest barrio, as well as the soldier in the front line is involved. It is the contest of all the powers of the antagonists — military, intellectual, moral and industrial and a careful application of every ounce of potential strength on land, on sea, under the sea and in the air.

AN ARMY MUST HAVE THE WILL TO VICTORY... THAT GOES FOR THE CIVILIAN POPULATION TOO. LACK OF FINANCE NOT TOO MUCH OF A HANDICAP. To quote Gen. MacArthur: “MY MESSAGE IS COURAGE. YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE. GO ON AND YOU WILL NOT GO UNDER.”

If the individual citizen does not heed the call to be brave in this hour of nation-building and nation-destroying — he can sabotage the work of men fortified by faith and determination. Our men and women must be inspired by love of country, imbued with the vital spark — the all important WILL TO WIN — and ready to make sacrifices and suffer privations. Of this courage and patriotism, we ought not to be lacking. The good soldier is the pride of all nations. Certainly, sit-down-and-let-them-come-defeatism will not produce armaments and results.

Called upon to lead this country in its hour of greatest trial, Prime Minister Winston Churchill promised his countrymen “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” All the patriotic Filipino citizens must offer his homeland. And to these precious gifts, he mus add: COURAGE, DETERMINATION AND CONFIDENCE to his capabilities and prowess.

(NOTE: Condensed from PHILIPPINES FREE PRESS, dated 2-8-41. Article by Robert Welton Robb.)

(SGD) JORGE D. ESPINA, LT. COL.
Commanding



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Notes and references:

1 “GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT,” File No. 110-3, downloaded from PVAO.


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