The Hunters-ROTC was one of the largest guerrilla outfits that operated in Southern Luzon during the Japanese occupation and was also involved in the liberation with United States Army Forces. The Lipa Town Unit was one of its components operating in the Province of Batangas. The unit’s application for recognition by the United States Army was subsequently withdrawn by the organization’s higher command, but the documents from its application are nonetheless included for historical purposes. In this page is a transcription1
of a narrative written by an officer by the name of Pedro Aquino relative to his being a member of the Lipa Town Unit.
ACTIVITIES OF LIEUT. PEDRO G. AQUINO IN CONNECTION WITH THE
HISTORY OF THE LIPA HUNTERS OR ROTC GUERRILLAS
Under the leadership of Major Juanito Ferrer, Janet or Jacinto del Pilar as we called them, and now a Lt. Col. in the Philippine Army, the Hunters or ROTC organization was secretly organized in the Municipality of Lipa. Lieut. Pedro G. Aquino became a member of the organization in the early part of 1944, under the leadership of Capt. Ernesto B. Rosedo, now a 2nd Lt. at Camp Murphy. Lt. Pedro G. Aquino was then made to recruit men in Lipa, which later on was made or formed in one company commonly known as the Lipa Hunters Unit. These Hunters were under Lieut. Alfredo Politico, the Town Commander of the Unit. This unit was part of the 3rd Bn. 49th Regt. of the Hunters or ROTC Guerrillas. We established a temporary CP of the Lipa Hunters Unit at Barrio Balagbag on the eastern part of the Poblacion of Lipa, Batangas. Lieut. Pedro G. Aquino and some members of his staff selected Barrio Balagbag as the temporary CP of the Lipa Hunters, because it is near to Barrio Sulok, Lumbang, and Putho which were the center of Japanese military installations in the premises. Lieut. Pedro G. Aquino was made Adjutant and T-1 of the Lipa Hunters Unit. As Adjutant, he supervised our field personnel who were working in the intelligence activities in connection with the Hunters Batangas Intelligence Operatives in our sector. Since the Lipa Hunters unit had few arms, their resistance against Japanese military power was to detect movements of Japanese troops and their strength, to detect new military installations, ammunition dumps, communication lines, and shipments of war ammunition. Besides guiding the men of the Lipa Hunters in their underground work against the Japanese, Lt. Pedro G. Aquino had issued loan papers to some wealthy persons in Lipa, Batangas in support of the 3rd Bn. 49th Regt. These loan papers were given to us duly signed by the Hunters Headquarters in order to finance and carry the aims of the organization.
In the latter part of 1944, the Lipa Hunters Unit was transferred to Sitio Magape near Balete Lake in order to work efficiently with the 3rd Bn. 49th Regt. of the Hunters or ROTC Guerrillas. It was in this place that Lt. Pedro G. Aquino, together with the help of his staff, that they trained their men in the principles of guerrilla warfare and principles of combat. The Lipa Hunters who were already trained were assigned to perform intelligence works for the Headquarters.
[It was] Not long after the Lipa Hunters had established their CP at Magape when the extensive Japanese pressure began against the guerrilleros. Many civilians were killed who were suspected to be relatives or supporters of the guerrillas. It was during this critical period when life and death struggle began between the armless civilians and the bloodthirsty Japs. Lt. Pedro G. Aquino then ordered his men to attend to the evacuation of their families and those supporters and friends of the Hunters. It was during this period that the Lipa Hunters were deployed to various fronts.
In January 1945, when the American landing at Nasugbu was already imminent, Lt. Pedro G. Aquino made a temporary CP of the Lipa Hunters at Ibaan, Batangas. He contacted various guerrilla units to work in harmony in the premises. He established his CP and worked in coordination with other guerrilla units. Scouting patrols and road spotters were organized to a large extent to detect enemy movement and to protect civilians from surprise massacre by the Japs. Sabotage squads under his command were ordered to destroy communication lines and to detect new enemy military installations in our sector.
On March 18, 1945, Lt. Pedro G. Aquino and some of his men left their temporary CP at Ibaan and went to Lemery, Batangas, to contact the GHQ of the Hunters or ROTC Guerrillas. He and his men, with few arms, had to hike from Ibaan to Batangas in order to reach Lemery. Lt. Pedro G. Aquino and his men contacted the first American unit at Batangas, Batangas under Col. Mann, who was then the Ex. Officer of said American advance outfit that they found in the premises. Lt. Aquino furnished Col. Mann with the necessary military information with regards to the enemy military installation at [the] Lipa fronts.
Col. Mann was also informed of the enemy positions at [the] Lipa fronts. He was also further informed of the extent of the guerrilla patrols and the road between Lipa and Ibaan. It was during this period that the Lipa Hunters were diverted into [a] combat unit. Lt. Aquino left Batangas on this date. On the following morning, Lt. Aquino and his party reported again to Col. Mann and they were given military transportation to Lemery by Col. Mann. Lt. Aquino and his men reached the GHQ of the Hunters and gave them all military information with regards to the enemy positions at Lipa. It was during our arrival that Lt. Aquino and his men were attached to the 158 RCT. It was also during this risky trip of Lt. Aquino and his men to Lemery that they acquired arms and ammunition. After the party had secured arms and plenty of ammunition, they returned to their temporary CP at Ibaan under military mission. Not long after, Lt. Aquino and his [men] arrived in their temporary CP at Ibaan when the first American unit under Major Armstrong and Lt. Hyman arrived in their premises. Upon arrival in our sector, they were informed of the enemy positions at Lipa to give them precaution in their advance. It was during this advance spearhead of the American unit that the Lipa Hunters had played an important part in their guerrilla activities. Some of our Lipa Hunters aided the CIC Detachment and some acted as guides of the American spearhead to Lipa. Some of the Lipa Hunters not only acted as guides but some of them were in the firing line and had seen action with the American advance forces at [the] Lipa fronts. The two courageous Hunters of the Lipa Unit under the command of Lt. Pedro Aquino were Sergeants Severino Librea and Nicasio Aquino, who volunteered themselves to guide the 511th A/B Inf. Regiment near the enemy line at the foot of Mt. Malarayat at Lipa near Sulok. These two sergeants were under the care of [the] S-3 of the 511th A/B Inf. Regt. They located plenty of Japanese ammunition and supplies in Barrio Sapac. They burned these war ammunition and supplies and returned to Lipa through the barrio of Munting Pulo. It was in this place that they met resistance from the Japanese stronghold. They received continuous firing from the thick bushes at a certain distance under the coconut and coffee plantation. Instantly, the American trench mortar barked and the firing from the bushes was silent. This outfit, with their two guides returned to the CP without casualty. During this time, the First Hunters Combat Battalion was still fighting at Cuenca, Batangas. The members of the Lipa Hunters Unit served as the vanguards of the Hunters organization during the first American advance units in the Lipa fronts.
The Lipa Hunters were the first guerrilleros to establish Guerrilla Headquarters in the Municipality of Lipa, Batangas. The installation of the headquarters was made through the efforts and help of Lt. A. Silva, now in the HPA, and Lt. Perfecto Latorre. The Lipa Hunters were also attached to the 221st Medical Company A/B during their military installation in Lipa when there was still action going on at barrio Sulok. The Lipa Hunters Unit immediately established their headquarters at Lipa to aid and assist any American unit arriving in the premises and to protect civilian properties from further looting and destruction. When Lipa was liberated and [a] military government was established, some members of the staff of the Lipa Hunters assisted the Mayor in administration and the execution of peace and order within the municipality.
[Sgd.] PEDRO G. AQUINO
Notes and references:
Adjutant T-1 & Personnel
Lipa Hunters Unit
“Lipa Town Unit, 2nd
Div, Hunters-ROTC,” File No. 307-40, online at the United States National Archives.