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75th Cagayan Liberation Anniversary Feature: Maj. Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan, 1st Camp Commander of the ‘Kampo’

May 18, 2020

Few Kagay-anons today are aware that the first camp commander of the Philippine Army’s biggest military camp in Mindanao was a Lumad (native Kagay-anon).     Major Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan was initially assigned as Cadre Commander of the 2nd Misamis Oriental (Machine Gun) Cadre at Camp Bulua (present day Camp Edilberto Evangelista) in Cagayan, a post he served in from January 1-Dec. 31, 1939.      When the camp was renamed Camp Evangelista, then 1st Lt. Montalvan was appointed its Camp Commander and Mobilization Center Officer on January 1, 1940, a post he served up to the outbreak of World War II.      Dr. Montalvan, who was also known as Ñor Peping, was born on March 17, 1903 in present day Cagayan de Oro (then known as Cagayan de Misamis, capital town of the Segundo Distrito de Misamis, and later as Misamis, Cagayan under the American regime) to Jose Gabriel Montalvan, a retired Spanish soldier from Belmonte, Cuenca, Spain who was assigned by the Spanish government to the Philippines and Concepcion Corrales y Roa of Cagayan de Misamis.      In 1927, he was graduated with honors (3rd highest) from the Philippine Dental College, Manila with a degree of Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS).     Upon his return to his hometown in 1928, he practiced dentistry and became one of the first teachers of the Ateneo de Cagayan (present day Xavier University) and was its Commandant of the Corps of Cadets. Dr. Montalvan was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1928, was trained and successfully completed the U.S. Army Extension Courses. From 1933 to 1937 he was the instructor for Military Science and Tactics at the Ateneo de Cagayan. However, the lure of a full-time career in the newly formed Philippine Army proved irresistible and he resigned from the U.S. Army Reserve and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, Infantry Reserve, of the Philippine Army on July 16, 1936. He was called to active duty training at Camp Murphy Training School for Reserve Officers (Infantry), assigned as Company Commander of the training officers company, and graduated No. 5 with a general average of 90.7% in 1938. While assigned as the first camp commander of Camp Evangelista, he graduated from the School of Military Law and Courts-Martial Procedure, Camp Keithley, Lanao in 1940. Upon his induction into the U.S. Army Forces – Far East (USAFFE) on September 6, 1941, he was appointed Division Finance Officer and Division Quartermaster of the USAFEE’s 102nd Division. Later, he was appointed Division Inspector General, 102nd Division, USAFFE, with Headquarters at Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon then promoted to Captain, Infantry, in April, 1942. Following the surrender of the USAFFE forces in Mindanao under Gen. William Sharp to the Japanese Imperial Army on May 10, 1942, Dr. Montalvan was taken as a prisoner-of-war (POW) by the Japanese and detained at the Ateneo de Cagayan campus which had been converted into a POW Camp. “During his captivity he developed polyneuritis, which caused his leg to become shorter, as a result of the hard labor he underwent in prison when he and others would carry sacks of potatoes and coffee under the rain, soaking their only clothing in their bodies,” recalls his daughter Annabel Montalvan Corrales. “One night after such experience his whole body became numb and his leg started to give him extreme pain. The doctors at that time did not know what it was but was later diagnosed as polyneuritis.” However, he successfully escaped and joined his family in Talakag, Bukidnon. He walked for days to Talakag, away from the road, because the Japanese were looking for him. Again, the rains came and soaked his clothes. When he got to Talakag he had very high fever and the polyneuritis he contracted became worse. He then proceeded to Misamis Occidental to join the guerrillas of Col. Wendell Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) in Mindanao, which was made up of escaped prisoners-of-war and Filipino and American soldiers and civilians who refused to surrender to the Japanese. Between 1942 and 1944, USFIP forces raided Japanese occupation forces in Mindanao and provided valuable intelligence to the Allied forces. For his military service before and during World War II, Dr. Montalvan received the following awards and decorations: Philippine Defense Medal; American Defense Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal; Philippine Republic Unit Citation Badge and the U.S. Distinguished Unit Badge. Following his polyneuritis, Dr. Montalvan reverted to inactive status on July 11, 1946 and was promoted to the rank of Major, Infantry Reserve in January 20, 1950.  “He suffered so much under the hands of the Japanese and often got slapped for no reason,” Ms. Montalvan said. “Many years later, that Japanese that put him under hard labor came back to Cagayan de Oro to apologize to him and to others he tortured. And my dad readily accepted his apology!” He resumed his duties as a professor of Spanish at the Ateneo in 1949 and took up law at the Cagayan Law School of the Ateneo, graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1953, passed the Bar exams and was admitted to the Bar in June 1954 and established a law practice. He married the former Mercedes Acero Roa of Cagayan de Oro City and with whom he had six children: Marrieta, Daisy, Annabel, Eduardo, Consuelo and Antonio. Dr. Montalvan passed away on September 21, 1978, his patriotism and service to the country and military apparently forgotten by the new generation of Kagay-anons. To rectify this situation, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Rep. Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr. (Abante Mindanao- Party List) filed House Bill 4735 with the 15th Congress during its first regular session seeking to rename Camp Edilberto Evangelista to “Camp Jose Montalvan in honor of a Kagay-anon and Mindanaoan war hero who fought against the Japanese to protect the freedom of the Philippines.”  Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, is the largest military camp in Mindanao with an area of 129 hectares. It is the home base to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division and covers the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions. The explanatory note to the HB 4735 reads in part: “It is readily apparent that Major Montalvan is a war hero who fought against the Japanese in order to ensure that the Philippines retain its independence. He gave up the best years of his life to fight for our country. It is therefore appropriate that he be honored by renaming Camp Evangelista into Camp Jose Montalvan, in honor of a Kagay-anon who risked his life for our country.”

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Antonio Julian Montalvan: The Forgotten World War II Martyr of Cagayan

May 18, 2020

One of the perpendicular streets which links Burgos to Don Apolinar Velez streets in Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines is named  Montalvan  but few of those traversing it or even living along it have any idea whom it is named after.     Antonio Julian Montalván y Corrales (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team working for the 10th  Military District under Col. Wendell W.  Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.      “He was a medical doctor, first assigned at the Misamis Provincial Hospital (now the Northern Mindanao Medical Center), then to Cebu, then Palompon in Leyte,” said his namesake and nephew local historian and columnist Antonio J. “Nono” Montalvan II. He later served as public health doctor in Iligan.     When the war began, he was the personal medic of Col. Wendell W. Fertig, head of the organized guerrilla resistance in Mindanao under the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines. He was recruited to serve as a spy by their cousin and brother-in-law Senator José Ozámiz, Nono added.     “He did intelligence work for Col Fertig,” said Nono’s brother Eduardo, who now serves as Board Chairman of the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD). “Because of his familiarity with the UST Hospital, and as a Doctor, he was able to get information from patients on the movements of Japanese troops in Mindanao. The information he passed on to Col. Fertig was so vital in the guerrilla operations in  Mindanao.”     “He commuted to Manila from Mindanao by banca, going from one island to another. In one of his trips he was accompanied by Roque Ablan, Vicente Raval and Ferdinand Marcos (who was the most junior in the group) who were trying to get the assistance of the Mindanao Guerrilla Movement, “ Ed noted.     The group helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. Later, he became part of a Manila spy network.[1]     “His role was first to serve as courier between Manila and Mindanao. The boat would land in Pagbilao, Quezon which is just near Tayabas. Then he would proceed to Manila to get in touch with the Manila spy network (Spyron),” Nono relates.     “ He made 3 boat trips. He was about to make a 4th boat trip to Mindanao when he was captured in Tayabas. A carpenter who was doing work in the house squealed to the Japanese. He was brought to Fort Santiago, then to Bilibid,” he added.     Then newly married to Rosario Llamas, a cousin of Virginia Llamas Romulo, -- the first Mrs. Carlos P. Romulo—he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai in Tayabas town, in the house of his mother in-law Doña Tecla Capistrano Llamas. He was about to pack his bags for another clandestine boat trip to Mindanao.      The Japanese later detained and tortured him in Fort Santiago and at the Old Bilibid Prisons[1] in Manila.     On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles “Chick” Parsons.     The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery.     “They were executed together by decapitation. It was a large group -- about 40 of them,” Nono said. “There’s a war memorial for them at Manila North Cemetery.”     Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo describes Montalván as a “World War II hero of Mindanao”.  (compiled by Mike Baños)

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RITM okays COVId-19 testing laboratory for Northern Mindanao Medical Center

May 18, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 15 May) — The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has given the green light to the Northern Mindanao Medical  Center (NMMC) to start testing their medical laboratory for COVID-19.     Dr. Bernard Rocha, NMMC spokesperson, said  experts from RITM will arrive next week to evaluate the performance of their laboratory staff. “We secured our license just now and we are only waiting for the cartridges for the machine,” Rocha said, referring to the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machine, the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.     Rocha said their laboratory can operate for 12 hours and can process results up to 36 swab samples per day.     He said the results can be known in 30 to 45 minutes.     Rocha said there will be two medical equipment available to process the COVID-19 tests once the Department of Health regional office will finish the conversion of their tuberculosis testing laboratory.     The city government of Cagayan de Oro had also purchased three RT-PCR machines to augment the laboratory at the NMMC.     Once operational, the NMMC laboratory will be the first medical facility to process COVID-19 swab tests in Northern Mindanao.     At present, only the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City has the capability to process the swab specimens from Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities. (Froilan Gallaro / MindaNews)

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THE CAGAYAN DE ORO FILIPINO-CHINESE COMMUNITY

May 18, 2020

THE CAGAYAN DE ORO FILIPINO-CHINESE COMMUNITY turned over 500 sets COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits; 1,400 sets 4-layer Face Masks KN95; 2,500 sets 3-ply Non-woven Face Masks; and 200 bags of rice valued at P750, 000 to Mayor Oscar Moreno on May 16 as support for frontliners of the  Cagayan de Oro J R Borja General Hospital. (photo courtesy of Jeffrey Ang)

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75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Cagayan de Misamis

May 18, 2020

Today, quarter of a century ago, our esteemed veterans from the 10th Military District led and cleared the way for the returning Allied Liberation forces to put an end to the cruel Japanese occupation of the country, particularly in Cagayan de Misamis, now Cagayan de Oro City.     Armed only with basic infantry weapons from the defunct USAFFE forces and captured enemy firearms and a handful modern armaments supplied by American submarines, but their raw courage, patriotism and iron determination to be emancipated from the brutalities and barbarisms of the occupation forces that earlier promised benevolent independence from Western colonization, made all these a reality.     Their Filipino and American aggressive defense in Bataan and Corregidor has upset the timetable of Japan in their conquest of the entire Pacific, to include Australia and New Zealand, and the resistance activities during the occupation period made the return of the allied forces much easier and tremendously reduced their expected casualties in their most parts of the country as compared to other occupied countries of Asia.       Unfortunately, seventy-five years later, there is still a dearth in written stories about the Second World War in Mindanao from a Filipino perspective that needs to be known especially by today’s generation.      We, however, are privileged that a non-government organization is vigorously pursuing the thankless job documenting the selfless sacrifices of our heroes that has earned for us the freedom we fondly enjoy today. They are the movers of a commemoration activity that should have transpired today had it not been for the pandemic that is also producing heroes of our time.     To our heroes of the Second World War in Cagayan de Oro City and Mindanao, thank you for your service to our country and people. Likewise, I would like to extend my salute to Mr. Raul Ilogon and Mr. Mike Baños for your perpetuating the memories of our heroes.  

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Pia, Gazini and Catriona headline the country’s first online AIDS Candlelight Memorial

May 18, 2020

MANDALUYONG CITY (May 14, 2020) – Advocacy queens Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray will be leading side by side the first-ever online concert ceremony of the Philippine International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) on Sunday, May 17, at 4PM.     Dubbed as “Light Up,” the online concert ceremony has two parts: Commemoration and Celebration.     UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will head the Light Up’s commemoration part alongside community movers, government officials, and private institutions. One of the highlights of the commemorative event is a ceremonial candle lighting to be led by Miss Universe - Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados.   Staunch HIV advocate, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, will top bill Light Up’s celebration part, showcasing a free online concert. Performing at the show are exceptional Filipino artists: Katrina Velarde, Nina, 4th Impact, Jed Madela, The Company, Ice Seguerra, Zeus Collins, Anna Ramsey, Phi Palmos, Adrian Lindayag, Addlib Divas, Nicole Asensio, Arman Ferrer, Globe Voices@Work, and drag queen performers and with special participation from Lea Salonga, Morissette Amon, Jed Madela, Radha, and many more.   Hosted by Tim Yap and Patrixia Santos, the Philippine IACM online concert ceremony will be live on Facebook at bit.ly/LightUpPH2020. The country’s 2020 IACM shift to an online concert ceremony was in response to the government’s imposition of social distancing protocols as the nation grapples with the COVID19 pandemic.   This year’s celebration also includes a photo essay contest featuring the HIV story of any Filipino who is part of the advocacy. Interested participants may still join until May 15, at 6PM. Visit this link: bit.ly/LightUpMyHIVStory for the mechanics and win as much as PhP25,000.00. It will also benefit the Duyan Program of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation (TRR) that aims to provide care and support to children living with HIV in the Philippines.   The Department of Health (DOH) reported that since 1984, 3,730 Filipinos have died of HIV-related complications and 74,807 have contracted the virus. In the same DOH report, 3,029 newly diagnosed people living with HIV were recorded for the last quarter of 2019. It has to be noted that HIV testing and effective HIV treatment therapy are given by the government and community-based organizations for free. Light Up is presented by the DOH, TRR, and The LoveYourself, Inc.; sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Camber Pharmaceutical Inc. by Hetero, Champion Community Centers, Frontrow Cares, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Premiere Condoms, Teleperformance Philippines, and Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA); and supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, EON Foundation, the National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), PhilHealth, Positibong Marino Philippines, Inc., The Red Whistle, Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines, and UNAIDS. The IACM happens every third Sunday of May to commemorate the courage of the people who succumbed to AIDS. It also celebrates the continuing battle by the people living with HIV and the progress the community has made through the years.

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