US Army Report on the Pagamutan ng Maralita (Poor Man’s Hospital) - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

US Army Report on the Pagamutan ng Maralita (Poor Man’s Hospital)

[TRANSCRIPTION]

The Pagamutan ng Maralita or the Poor Man’s Hospital was a hospital set up in Batangas Town (presently the City of Batangas) and served clandestinely as a hospital for various guerrrilla organizations operating in the province of Batangas. In this page is a transcription1 of an investigatory report filed by one Lt. Rollie E. Allen of the United States Army on the Pagamutan ng Maralita.

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[p. 1]

18 June 46

Report on “PAGAMUTAN NG MARALITA”
(Poor Man’s Hospital)

In accordance with verbal instructions from Chief of Section, Guerrilla Affairs, G-3, AFWESPAC, Lieutenant Rollie Allen met in this office with the members of the Pagamutan ng Maralita, 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 “Pagamutan ng Maralita” was organized by Dr. Domingo Tolentino on 11 March 1943. Dr. Tolentino and many of his friends were members of the USAFFE on Corregidor and Bataan. After that surrender on 10 May 1942, they were imprisoned by the Japanese until 23 January 1943, at which time they were released. Dr. Tolentino was approached by several guerrilla leaders upon the subject of organizing a guerrilla hospital in Batangas City, Batangas.

Such an organization was effected, being composed of ten people. The organization was called Pagamutan ng Maralita, or Poor Man’s Hospital. This hospital had fifteen beds and medical supplies furnished by the doctors themselves.

Japanese espionage soon found them out and they were forced to disperse on 28 August 1943, and render aid individually. In Manila, the members rendered private and professional services to American internees several times.

The hospital was reopened in Batangas City on 10 October 1944 after reorganizing the staff and personnel. Now, the membership had grown to 21 stretcher bearers and helpers were furnished by the individual guerrilla units.

When the American units arrived at Batangas City, the excitement had scattered the personnel of this unit so that there were only seven members remaining. The unit then dissolved and members helped casualties through their own private practices. On 1 April 1945, the commanding officer and several members reported to the Philippine Army control as recovered military personnel.

FINDINGS

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

1. Domingo T. Tolentino - Major, CO of said unit
2. Juan A. Pastor - Major, Physician
3. Irenda Gawat - Maid, ward helper of said unit.
4. Terry Adeovoso - Col., CO Hunters Guerrillas
5. Restituto Sanvictores - 1st Lt., registered nurse
6. Yolanda Ungson - First aider
7. Domingo Burog - Police Sgt. of Batangas
8. 1 civilian - Name withheld.

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Upon investigating the Pagamutan ng Maralita, it was found out that this unit was a family that gave first aid to sick people around Batangas City. All the members are related to each other and have at one time or the other been doctors or first aiders. The hospital was located in [the] back of their house so they were able to have the comforts of home and live as they pleased.

The commanding officer of this unit stated that he was not going to submit a request for recognition but, since he had two casualties, [unreadable] to their families should receive benefits of his recognition. Therefore, it is believed that the CO was not supporting the unit.

The commanding officer, Tolentino, stated that all the patients they treated were non-combatants and suffered mostly from malaria and dysentery. The hospital consisted of 15 beds with room for more. However, most of the patients were treated at home where they could be cared for by the members of the families. It was stated by officers of this unit that there were many more civilians treated than guerrillas. In other words, it was a charity hospital that treated all needy people.

There was never any control or organization of the unit. This is indicated by the fact that the members came and went as they pleased. From 28 August 1943 to 21 September 1944, the unit had no functions as substantiated in that the unit dwindled from 22 members to 7 members on the day of the American arrival at Batangas. It is believed that the organization would have been of greatest assistance at this time. Instead, a few members were present to administer first aid to those who needed it.

The Pagamutan ng Maralita was never attached to an American unit, mainly because they were not strong enough in strength to give much aid. Two members of this unit were recognized as being medical officers of the 34th Guerrilla Division.

The problem of food for the hospital was not difficult because of the families the sick and injured brought their food and other necessities. One doctor of the staff, Juan Pastor, owns a large tract of land and the income of this property was enough to keep the whole family.

It is possible that such a hospital did exist, but as a charity organization that gave aid to civilians and guerrillas alike. A few civilians had knowledge of the place but some of the guerrilla leaders in Batangas had never heard of it or had ever sent any men to such a place.

Terry Adevoso and Marcos Agustin both stated that they had never heard of the unit.

POLITICAL ASPECTS

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

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 the two men previously recognized, the Pagamutan ng Maralita be not favorably considered for recognition.

[Sgd.] ROLLIE E. ALLEN
2nd Lt. Inf., 0-1339745
Contact Team #1

Notes and references:
1 “Pagamutan ng Maralita,” online at the United States National Archives.

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