History of the Batangas Town Guerrillas - Hunters ROTC - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

History of the Batangas Town Guerrillas - Hunters ROTC

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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 short history of one of these groups among the supplemental rosters, the Batangas Town Guerrillas.
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HUNTERS ROTC GUERRILLAS
2nd Bn. 49th Regt.
Batangas Unit

SUBJECT: History of the Batangas Town Guerrillas

TO:

1. Introduction.

The days which followed the subsequent release of our soldiers from the POW Concentration Camp at Capas, Tarlac were almost an endless speculation on the probable arrival of the thundering hordes of rightful might, the only unwavering hope of a people whose homes and lives laid prostrate beneath an atmosphere of bestial tyranny brought forth by the temporary authority of a foe, drunk with a handful of fake victories, set over these hopeless isles a reign of insensible brutality, forcing upon our people a principle of government directly opposite our long cherished ideals of democracy. Of course, we needed to dress our wounds and then conserve our feelings with utmost repression, for, early ex-enemy. We had shown us that the Japs were a ruthless people with notoriety for their methods of punishment. But then, at last, the surging steam of our hatred opened here and there the floodgates of defiance and resistance. Some, and then increasing numbers, chose to live in mountain fastnesses [?] as guerrillas whose only hope was America and whose single creed was death to the enemy, Japs, including spies and collaborators.

In Batangas, our people held councils to formulate a better plan for a concerted underground movement. By the early part of 1943, we thought we had waited too long, and by the middle of that year, Batangas was already a hotbed of guerrilla organizations.

We, a handful, knew that we needed much more than weapons which we did not even have enough [of], to fight a well-armed enemy. We believed in a better and able leadership. Our conscience at last gave us the answer when reports reached our small group that a big guerrilla organization composed together our country’s ROTC was spreading with sure step throughout the country. We were convinced, then, that such [an] organization was bound to

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succeed. We decided to join ourselves with the ROTC HUNTERS. We could not bear to falter then, for we had waited too long.

Our secret contact with agents of the ROTC Hunters organization brought rejoicing to our souls when a liaison officer from the 2nd Bn., 49th Regt. with Hqs. at Taal, Batangas, under the command of Lt. Col. Juanito Ferrer, made his appearance in Batangas in the early part of 1944. We, at once, contacted him secretly and our conference brought concrete understanding between us, paving the way to the consequent merging of our Batangas Town Unit with the ROTC HUNTERS.

2. Brief History.

Our meeting brought about a plan for the organization of our Batangas Town Unit. Engineer Carlos L. Castillo was chosen as our CO, while William Jaranilla, an Ex O. We started with a small staff and then we began the enlistment of our members. Our reports and contact with the Hqs. at Taal became more frequent and communication was properly maintained. We had runners to carry our reports which consisted of information about the Japanese military activities.

By the middle of December 1944, the Japs had laid a formidable network of defense in Batangas covering almost the whole municipality. They began fortifying their garrisons and hideouts. They began placing camouflage on everything they had. Tunnels of great size were built on sides of hills. Here, they stored their weapons, ammunition and food supplies. It was their only means of storing and saving them for emergency use for they knew well that the Allied forces would soon come their way.

We, the members of the Unit Staff, immediately began our intelligence work. We, at once, assigned our men to the task of getting all the reliable information necessary. We assigned men to report on troop movements, to concentrate on troop strength, location, branch of service, code names and numbers of commanders and officers, previous stations, number and type of mechanized units and artillery, and all defense installations (gun emplacements,

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underground shelters, trenches, dugouts and other hideouts). Each man was to make his report and submit to the CO or to the Ex. O, wherein these reports were consolidated and prepared to be sent to our Hqs. These reports were sent twice or three times a week so as not to delay forwarded them to the American forces with which our General Hqs under the overall command of Col. Terry Magtangol, had been in contact with Major Jay D. Vanderpool, the Liaison Officer of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

As the weeks and days passed by, the tense moment of liberation came nearer. When the Allied forces landed in Leyte, war planes with stars and bars visited our area commencing with the bombing of Lipa Airstrip. This brought rejoices from the people because they knew aid would soon come. They began to enforce (the Japs) strict military laws and rules which caused great confusion among the civilians living [in] the town and nearby barrios. We instructed them by all means to stay away as far as they could from the Japs. We desired to separate them from the Japs so that enemy food procurement could become limited if not totally cut off.

After having evacuated the majority of the civilians, we at once returned to town to our secret hideouts and continued our work to cripple the Japs. We began cutting off their installations. We did everything possible to disrupt them.

It was then in the month of December when the Allied fighting planes began to [wage] fierce raids which terrorized the Japs. Machine guns strafed the fleeing Japs. Bombs were dropped on their military objectives, which he had so, directed in our intelligence reports by drawings and by maps. We knew now that our intelligence reports had done their bit. We knew, then, that we had done our part of the work to destroy all Jap installations. For days and days, Allied planes continued strafing and bombing the Japs until they could no longer do anything. They, therefore, prepared to move out. Again, we were confronted with the big task of finding out where their next moves would be. We placed men at every corner of the town to watch out for troop movements.

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The exact time and date was also very essential in these reports so that when these reports were sent to our Hqs., they could quickly forward them to the American forces who needed the information badly.

Each day, the strength of [the] Jap Army lessened in the Municipality of Batangas. They were all moving out towards Lipa and Bauan, Batangas. The few Japs who were left in Batangas soon began their brutal work. They began holding up persons and looting them. They punished and even killed others for no reason whatsoever. Persons were wanted. Ex. O. William Jaranilla was wanted by the Jap Military Agency because some important message had leaked out. Luckily, [his] escape was well-planned and our intelligence work went on. Nothing could stop us now.

It was then on the 7th of March 1945 when the Jap garrison issued orders to set afire the town of Batangas. Other nearby towns had already been burned. Now had come the time to burn [the] town. [For] Three successive days, the town was set aflame. Nothing could stop the horrible acts of these terrifying Japs. They had become desperate. Suddenly, on the 3rd day, 10th March 1945, a blessing came. The Japs fled in vain as they thought there were thousands of them. They gave no opposition. Some of our men, together with other reliable men of other units, acted as guides for the reconnaissance troops. That same day, the troops returned [to] their bases. We, the Hunters, then were ever more on the alert. We knew that our liberators would soon be here to liberate us. Together with some of our men, we went from town to town and slept in one vacant house that was not burned. We waited and hardly slept waiting for the arrival of the American forces.

Daybreak found us all wide awake. We sensed the feeling of our coming liberators. No sooner said when all of a sudden, American forces of about one thousand strong came thundering through the town. We met and guided them to our town. Major, Mr., Roman Perez, who was then a member of our unit. We introduced ourselves to the Commanding Officer of the American forces, Major Day, who was more than glad to know what we had met then and

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to guide and help them drive out the Japs. We offered our services and helped at their call. Our unit, though being poorly armed and equipped, offered our help. We furnished drawings and maps of Jap locations and installations. We gave all information we could to aid them in the conquest. Our unit, a company’s strength, was then a part of Major [General] Walter Krueger’s 6th U.S. Army furnishing intelligence information and details. Information and details which we, the members of the ROTC HUNTERS, and always hoped would aid in a great way. Since their landing in the Philippines, we had done everything in our power and knowledge to aid them. An aid which we all had willingly and gladly offered. An honor which we so stand for because we feel we have rendered our services to our dearly beloved land.

CARLOS L. CASTILLO
Unit 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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