A Chronological Report on the Guerrilla Activities of the Alitagtag Town Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

A Chronological Report on the Guerrilla Activities of the Alitagtag Town Unit

[TRANSCRIPTION]

The Hunters-ROTC was a large guerrilla organization founded in Rizal but which relocated its headquarters to the western Batangas town of Nasugbu as the liberation of Luzon neared. It had many units operating in many areas of Luzon and its 49th Regiment was based in Batangas. This regiment’s “Special District Troops” appear to be supplemental rosters of the guerrilla organization to those that had already been recognized by the United States Army. In this page is a transcription1 of a listing in chronological order of the activities of the Alitagtag Unit, apparently one of the so-called special troops.
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Alitagtag, Batangas
6 March 1946

Subject
TO
: Alitagtag Town Unit (HUNTERS-ROTC)
: The Chief
  HQ, AFWESPAC APO 707
  Thru Channels

I. The following is a chronological report and narration of the guerrilla activities of the Alitagtag Town Unit.

7 December 1941 – The Japanese declared war on the United States. Pearl Harbor was bombed. The Greater East Asia War had begun. I was third year in the College of Civil Engineering and at the same time I was taking ROTC training. I was ordered immediately to report to our assembly point in Intramuros. I, with the other ROTC cadets, were ordered to guard the Legislative Building. After one week, the ROTC was disbanded for the reason that we lacked ammunition. Some of my fellow cadets volunteered for service. I proceeded immediately to my hometown, Alitagtag, Batangas.

12 December 1941 – The US Army, under the supervision of Capt. Bradford, Lt. Evans, and Lt. White were in charge of the construction of a dummy airfield at San Felipe, Cuenca, Batangas. Engineer Pesigan was in charge of the construction. I, together with some of the men of our town, volunteered for services. Eight dummy planes were made and placed at different corners. After two weeks of construction, Capt. Bradford and his companions were ordered to report to their headquarters. After one week, the Japanese pilots wasted their bombs at the dummy airfield. We did not receive anything for our services rendered.

22 January 1942 – The Japanese forces entered the town of Alitagtag. I ordered general evacuation. The Japs were harsh and wicked in their dealings with the civilians. The Japanese Propaganda Corps tried every means to win the support of the trusted men of the town. I was one of the persons offered the job of establishing the so-called Peace Committee. Motivated by the strong desire and beliefs that it was only a temporary defeat and burning with hatred towards the invading forces since my boyhood, I tried to make alibis and excuses. News leaked everywhere that our brothers were fighting furiously in Bataan and Corregidor. Majority of the townspeople were talking of the reinforcements coming from the United States. [The] Acts of bravery of our brother Filipinos in Bataan and Corregidor were the secret conversations of every loyal citizen. I used different tactics in determining what was in the minds of some of the trusted men of the town. Some of the town officers accepted the position as member of the Peace Committee. Some of the ROTC boys in our town approached me and told me of forming a secret society to harass Japanese activities and to make propaganda and news of the arrival of help from the United States. I rejoiced over the idea and together we formed the Independent ROTC Guerrillas. We were all in all eight ROTC boys who began spreading news of the strength of the defense of Bataan and Corregidor.

9 April 1942 – News that deafened our ears and made us pale spread like disease in every part of the country. Bataan had fallen. But although Bataan had fallen, the spirit that made it stand – a beacon to all the liberty-loving peoples of the world – could not fall. This was why we kept fighting; this was why we continued to hope. We believed in Quezon and in the

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fighting spirit of the Philippines. We believed in MacArthur – and America. We heard from other sections and other islands of reports of fighting bands. These bands were stubbornly fighting and resisting the invasion of the Philippines. These men had no uniforms. But they were Filipinos fighting for the American flag. Leaderless and undirected, they were fighting on as [a] second front on their own. Inspired by this news, we continued to contact some more of our boys. We agreed to stay inside the town to detect the activities of the Japanese Imperial Forces.

7 May 1942 – The strong fort of Corregidor collapsed to the invading forces. The Japanese were celebrating their victories. Yet, we did not lose hope. We were still expecting that help was coming. We continued our sabotage and espionage work. For months, our society had been a secret. But, unaware of the situation, there were some who, without our knowledge, were able to detect our activities. We were summoned by the members of the Peace Committee. They promised us that they would not talk about this matter if we stopped our activities. The civilians were being threatened by the Jap soldiers. We had to lay down our plans.

15 May 1943 – An organization known as the Fil-American Guerrillas reached our town. It was headed by Major Dominador Reyes. They claimed to be connected with the guerrillas of Panay under Peralta. I shifted my men and together, we cooperated with each other. I was designated second-in-command of a company comprising the interior part of Alitagtag. Our work was securing arms and stopping down spies. We passed propaganda news that the Americans were on the way to the Philippines.

20 November 1943 – I went to Nueva Ecija to act as Liaison Officer. I met Lt. Rebeck Espiritu of the Central Luzon Guerrilla Army Forces. This unit was under the command of Lt. Col. McKenzie. We exchanged views and reports. I stayed in Nueva Ecija for a few months and sent my reports to our unit in Alitagtag.

2 May 1944 – I went back to Alitagtag and joined again the Reyes unit. Conferences were held. My unit was mainly assigned to punish Filipino opportunists and securing arms and ammunition. We continued our activities until unfortunately, Major Balita was captured by the Japanese Kempeis.

15 September 1944 – By the middle of September, a certain man named Rodriguez came to our town. He contacted Lt. Ernesto Kasala (USAFFE). The Hunters Intelligence Unit was beginning to take action in Alitagtag. I attached my men to Lt. Kasala and we were assigned mainly on intelligence work. We drew maps of different places where there were Japanese garrisons. We recorded their activities. On October 5, 1944, Major Reyes was captured by the Japanese Kempeis. On October 20, 1944, Lt. Kasala, with some of the prominent supporters of the resistance movement, were picked up by Kempeis. [A[ Succession of captures followed.

30 October 1944 – After the capture of Lt. Ernesto Kasala, his brother Simeon Kasala was designated as his successor. We held our first conference at the church convent. We formed the Town Intelligence and Combat Units. I was designated as the Town Commander of Alitagtag, and Julio Gutierrez for the town of Cuenca with commissions as first lieutenants. As chief of all the intelligence activities, I sent operatives to different places such as Cuenca, Dita, San Luis, Mainaga, Bauan and other strategical places.

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We drew maps of places where there were Japanese garrisons and putting these clearly on the maps. We submitted these reports to the Battalion Headquarters, Camp Kuomintang, San Nicolas, Taal. Besides mapping, I assigned road-spotters at different street junctions. The number of trucks, the load, the sign of the flag, the direction it was coming and going were recorded. These were known as periodic reports. We submitted these immediately to the Battalion S-2.

16 December 1944 – The Eighth US Army landed in San Jose, Mindoro. I was ordered by the Battalion Headquarters to recruit more men. I recruited men from Bauan, Cuenca and other places. I established a CP in Colet, two kilometers from the garrison. I trained the men the knowledge of combat principles, scouting, military courtesy and discipline. After two weeks of training, I moved my CP to Camp Balagbag to avoid detection. Intelligence activities were continued. Men volunteered for service to work in Mt. Macolot to watch and observe the enemy activities. To strengthen the knowledge of the men, I asked the Battalion Headquarters to send me officers of experience. Lt. Manuel Zagala and Lt. Alvarez of the former Philippine Scouts were sent to instruct scouting and patrolling, combat principles, military courtesy, discipline and rifle marksmanship.

6 January [probably meant February] 1945 – I received information that the 11th Airborne Division parachuted at Tagaytay. I hastened the intelligence reports and ordered full-time duty. I sent some of the men to the Battalion Headquarters for further training.

14 February 1945 – A squad under the leadership of Lt. A. Rodriguez was sent by the Regimental Headquarters to patrol the Alitagtag-Taal area. With the help of my men, I took charge of the feeding and I posted guards around the vicinity. At 7 o’clock, the squad placed themselves along the road camouflaged by the bamboo trees. At 8 o’clock PM, a Japanese jitney was observed coming from San Luis going to Cuenca. As the jitney passed, the boys fired. This ambush took place at Mozon, Alitagtag. The next morning, I received the reports that the Japanese soldiers inside the jitney were killed and some were mortally wounded. On the part of the squad, one was wounded, and one carbine was put out of order. At 12 o’clock noon, one hundred (100) Japanese soldiers stationed themselves at Mozon. They burned the town and killed some of the innocent civilians. I ordered mass evacuation. The Japs were very furious about the incident.

25 February 1945 – The Japs buried land mines in the middle of road from Mozon to Cuenca. I was able to get the measurement of the bombs and the depth they were buried. I reported this immediately to the battalion S-2.

7 March 1945 – I received notification that the 158 RCT was in Lemery and was moving towards Alitagtag. I ordered my men to destroy the telephone wires connecting different enemy stations. Lines of communication were destroyed by my men. The Japs were retreating slowly. At 4 o’clock PM, the 158 RCT entered the town. Together with my men, I met the advance patrol. The Commanding Officer was Major Conway D. Keeling. I attached my men to the unit and submitted all our maps and intelligence reports. We stayed with the advance patrol during the night. The next morning, more troops arrived. I contacted the Regimental Commander, Col. Shoemaker. At 10 o’clock, the troops advanced to Cuenca. I assigned different guides. I, with five of my men, guided Capt. Dwight and another five of my men guided Col. Shoemaker. This system avoided surprise attacks. At Pinagkurusan junction, we encountered twenty-four Japs. The fight lasted for an hour. After the encounter, we were able to kill six of them and wounded four. The others escaped to

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Mt. Macolot. We continued our advance. When we were about to reach Cuenca, we were detected by the Japs and they began to fire their artillery guns at us. We went back slowly and stayed for the night at Pinagkurusan.

8 March 1945 – I left my men at the command of Capt. Dwight in order to give instructions to the men I left behind. Early in the morning, we encountered fifty Japs. Together with Col. Pasia’s men, we fought the Japanese. Two Japs were killed, three wounded and on our part, two were killed and four were wounded.

10 March 1945 – I established my CP, the Counterintelligence Service Unit. I acted as Public Relations Officer. We ordered mass evacuation. The Japanese artillery fired at our town.

15 March 1945 – The 147th F.A. BN requested our services. I assigned men to get reports from Cuenca. This guided the artillery men in their calculations. As we were attached to the 147th F.A. Bn., we were also working with the 994th CIC Detachment.

5 April 1945 – The 158 RCT beach-landed at Legaspi. We were left unattached. I sent my men to the Battalion Headquarters at Taal. Intelligence activities were continued. Routes taken by the Japanese stragglers were noted. We were assigned to patrol the Alitagtag-Cuenca area. The battalion we were attached and was attached to [was] the 187th Paraglider Infantry, 11th Airborne Division. Some of the boys got sick and others were tired of the long arduous work as guerrilleros.

6 June 1945 – The battalion we were attached [to] was processed to the FA and some of my men were processed, but majority of the men were left behind. Although we were left behind, we did not stop our work. We continued our mopping [up] operations till to the last day the Japs gave themselves up to the US Army soldiers.

19 August 1945 – I submitted the roster of my men to Lt. Col. Juanito Ferrer and, in turn, he submitted it to the AFWESPAC for consideration.

[Sgd.] PATRICIO M. ABU
1st Lt Inf PA
ASN 0-47935
Town Commander

Notes and references:
1 “District Special Troops, 49th Regt., 47th Div., HUNTERS-ROTC,” File No. 307-38, online at the United States National Archives.

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