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The Live Or Die (LOD) Unit of the Mindanao Guerrillas

April 8, 2021

In time for the celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan, I would like to honor a group of patriots whose small but dangerous organization was credited to have contributed materially to the eventual defeat of  the enemy during World War II. The herioc story of these young men and women must be told. "That the organization was so effective in causing damage to the enemy is evidenced by the fact that, about 20 percent of the total membership were executed by the Japanese, " Col. Wendell Fertig,  Commanding Officer, 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines ( USFIP ). Col. Fertig was not talking about the 36,000 strong guerrilla combatants in Mindanao under his command but rather to a  small propaganda, intelligence and sabotage unit with a recognized strength of 74 members in Manila under his command.  Members of this group regularly took clandestine trips to Mindanao to the headquarters of the 10th Military District highly valuable intelligence materials like information on the location of American POW concentration camps, strength of Japanese garrisons, number of planes in Japanese airfields, troops movement as well as movements of Japanese ships, gun placement and the like. On their return trip to Manila, contraband cargoes of their two-masted inter-island bancas included demolition materials like hand grenades, blasting caps, plastic and incendiary time bombs, radio transmitters for distribution to select guerrilla groups in Luzon, medicines, money and propaganda materials like chocolates candy and cigarettes with I Shall Return markings, and magazines such as Readers Digest, Life, Victory, Look and Library. Aside from propaganda and information gathering, their operation also includes sabotage, liquidation of spies and collaborators. At one time an order was received to eliminate Japanese puppet Pres. Laurel, Gen. Francisco and General Kuruda of the Japanese Imperial Army. Due to the high risks inherent in the type of operations undertaken by the unit, 19 of their 93 members were executed by the Japanese. Several others were captured and tortured but miraculously released including 5 young women. Only 3 out 9 original members of the core group survived.  LOD Founders pay the price Among those executed by the Japanese was the founding leader Capt. Jose O. Flores, who was only 25 years old at the time of his execution. His 21 year old brother and two cousins were also executed. Fortunately, his two other brothers who were also members of his organization survived the war. Capt. Jose O. Flores, a 24 year old former officer of the Philippine Scouts from the municipality of Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental, was the organizer of Live or Die, popularly known in the underground movement as LOD. Their group specialized in information gathering, propaganda, sabotage and assassination.  "The members have unanimously approved of calling the organization LOD because it was something suicidal, something so sensitive that a destructive explosion was fearlessly being hinted anytime. In a more simple way, it was literally "Live or Die," reads the Report on LOD History submitted to Fertig by Capt.Julian L. Alvarez . Capt. Flores was a Bataan Death March survivor. When he was released from Capas concentration camp he wasted no time in organizing a Sabotage and Espionage underground group. On Dec 1, 1942, inspired by the promise of Gen MacArthur to return and provoked by the cruelty of the Japanese regime, Capt. Flores started organizing the Live or Die ( LOD ) while still recuperating from an illness he got in concentration camp. The core group was composed of close friends and relatives of Capt. Jose Flores . He was the Commanding Officer and also the head of Intelligence Detachment. His brother, 1st Lt Teodorico was the executive officer. The Sabotage Detachment was commanded by his cousin, Capt. Pedro Enerio with 1Lt Antonio Rivera as executive officer. Capt. Maximo Blas, a reserve officer before the war whose wife was a town mate of Capt. Flores, was the Commanding Officer of Propaganda Detachment. The EO was 1Lt Pulturico Tabanao. All these leaders were later executed by the Japanese. In Sept. 10, 1943, 1Lts Ricardo and Guillermo Flores, brothers of Capt. Flores were released from Capas concentration camp. 1Lt Ricardo Flores took over command of Intelligence Detachment from his older brother Jose. 2lt Guillermo Flores  and their cousin 2lt. Roberto Velasquez who were assigned to the Courier Detachment. All were similarly executed  by the Japanese. The LOD was composed of  unsurrendered soldiers who escaped from Bataan and those who were released from Japanese concentration camp at Capas, Tarlac. There were also women recruits, young but brave ànd courageous. The work of LOD Sabotage Detachment delivered the most devastating blows on the enemy in the history of the guerrilla.  The targeted facilities for demolitions were oil, ammunition dump and other military facilities.  For a starter, the tunnel in San Juan, Manila, that was used as an ammunition dump was completely destroyed  but the ammunition failed to detonate. Not long after,  their success rate was increasing from 75 to 100% in terms of damage to the enemy installations and war logistical resources, such as  the oil depot at the Manila Port Area that burned and took the whole day and night to put out with 75% of the facility destroyed. They also sabotaged a Japanese oil tanker whose blast so damaged a nearby destroyer that both sank as a result. The sabotage unit's  biggest sabotage  was the complete destruction of the former  Navy Yard in Cavite which so alarmed Caviteños who thought they were being bombed by the liberating US forces. It was considered by the U.S. and the Guerrilla Forces as the biggest Sabotage in Guerrilla History.  Their intelligence reports were accurate, reliable and of great value and were forward to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Australia by Col. Fertig. Through their Propaganda Detachment, they were successful in countering Japanese propaganda. Leaflets containing messages from President Manuel L. Quezon were also distributed along with the aforementioned "I Shall Return" marked collaterals and American magazines and other reading materials. Col. Bernard Anderson, CO of Anderson Guerrilla in Northern Luzon who often coordinated with LOD had nothing high praises to this group of young men and women.  "It was my opinion that the LOD unit  that operated in Luzon  was a unit of 15 to 20 very high caliber individuals." Col Anderson testified in an signed affidavit issued after the war.    To be continued. Source: World War 2 Declassified Documents, National Archives and Records Administration ( NARA )

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Heroes de Bataan: Death March Survivors fight again in Mindanao

April 7, 2021

Photos of Camp Casisang in Malaybalay,Bukidnon by {Pvt. Robert B. Heer, 30th Bomb. Sqdn, 19th Bomb. Gp. (H) when he was a POW.   United States Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) soldiers from Northern Mindanao who fought in Bataan and survived the Death March  managed to find their way back to Cagayan de Misamis and joined the guerrillas to continue the fight against the Imperial Japanese Army garrison troops. We feature some of their stories to commemorate our Araw ng Kagitingan and celebrate the memory of their valor and sacrifice for their beloved Philippines so that we may have the freedom we enjoy today.   The Tiano Brothers Perhaps the most remarkable Kagay-anon patriots were the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after. No less than six of the siblings, five males and one female, were involved in the war versus the Japanese occupiers in World War II. The eldest Ronaldo, was a 1st Lt. with the 7th School Squadron of the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC) Class 41-B, based at Maniquis Airfield in Cabanatuan under Lt. Benito Ebuen. They were equipped with the Stearman 76D-1 and 3 other aircraft. They also had an instructional airframe of an obsolete Martin B-10 Bomber (not in flying condition) also in Maniquis Air Field. He survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the POW Camp in Capas, Tarlac and instructed to report to the Japanese headquarters in Cagayan. He came home wearing his full PAAC uniform. Instead, he joined the 120th Infantry Regiment under Maj. Angeles Limena as one of his staff. After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL). He died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. The second eldest sibling Nestor  was killed in action at the young age of 24 while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942. Apollo became a 2nd Lt. and platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental. He died fighting with the 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8  at the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of  Korea on June 20,1952 while repelling a superior force of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. The Philippine Navy’s BRP Apollo Tiano (now decommissioned) was named in his honor. Uriel became a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as a medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital together with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse at the regimental hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental. As Cpl. Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of a Guerrilla: The Barefoot Army, “Lt. Fe Tiano and PFC Jaime Tiano were engrossed in their hospital work, tending to the sick of the regimental hospital. They were so busy that they forgot to apply for their vacation, and when they did, it would be disapproved.” “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano and two sisters Ruth and Emily were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,” Ilogon noted.    The Fighting Moreno Brothers Very few of the current generation are aware fifteen members of the Moreno clan of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, fought together under one guerrilla unit based in this town. All survived the war and went on to establish their own families and had children who are now prominent figures in their own right. Most prominent among the fifteen were four male offspring of the seven sons and three daughters of Jose Gonzales Moreno and Josefina Almendrala who served with the 110th Infantry Regiment, 110th Division (Guerrilla) of the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) during World War II, along with a son-in-law married to the eldest of their three daughters. The third son Rodolfo joined the USAFFE and fought in Bataan, captured by the Japanese and survived the death march after which he was held captive and tortured in Capas, Tarlac. He was later released after taking an oath of allegiance to Imperial Japan and found his way back to  Balingasag where he joined his siblings Redentor, Emeterio Sr. and Manuel in the guerrillas. (see related story on page 4) Their brother in law Papias Tiro, who married their eldest sister Humildad, also fought in the same guerrilla unit. The three other brothers were Metelo, Taurino and Jose, Jr., and the two younger sisters Purisima and Nieves.   Rodolfo A. Moreno The third oldest sibling 3rd Lt. Rodolfo A. Moreno, probably had the most colorful wartime career among the four sons of Jose Moreno who joined the guerrillas. Born on  05 June 1920 in Balingasag, Rodolfo was a college student and cadet officer at the Ateneo de Cagayan when World War II broke out and enlisted in the Philippine Army and subsequently absorbed into the USAFFE under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. “He was a cadet officer of Ateneo de Cagayan when  he was enlisted,” said his son, Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, S.J.  “It led him to the fall of Bataan and then to Capas, Tarlac.  He hardly spoke about his ordeal and torture in Capas.  My grandparents were told he had died.  They had a requiem Mass for him owing to an account of his friend.  My father was so furious, but happy to be reunited with his siblings and parents.” Notes on the Philippine Army of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Digitized Collection) show that before the war Rodolfo served as a clerk at the General Headquarters.  On January 1, 1941, in the opening salvo of the war, he was inducted under the Provisional Battalion, 31st Infantry, Philippine Army as Platoon Sergeant. The 31st Inf., PA under Brigadier General Clifford Bluemel was tasked with protecting the coast of Zambales but was pulled out to Bataan on 7 January 1942 to form the protective line along with the Abucay-Morong position under the I Philippine Corps defending the left flank of the USAFFE forces in Bataan and its coastal areas facing the sea.  The 31st Infantry led a counterattack on January 20 to relieve the 51st Infantry, Philippine Army of the II Philippine Corps protecting the right flank of the Bagac-Pilar line. During the lull, Vet. Moreno was transferred to the 3rd Battalion of the unit, composed of the I, K, L, and M companies. After the Fall of Bataan, Moreno became a prisoner-of-war and was released before Christmas of 1942.  After surviving the Bataan Death March, and incarceration at Capas, Rodolfo was released after taking an oath of allegiance to Imperial Japan and managed to slip back to Mindanao where he joined the guerrillas, serving with the Headquarters of the 110th Regiment. Before his passing on 28 January  1978, Rodolfo was active in the Cursillo Movement during the 1970s. “Refined. Reserved. Resolute. Reformed,” is how Antonio describes his father who would have turned 101 this year. “ Not a saint, but he tried to be good to others. Forever grateful in our hearts. On your birth centenary, pray for us and for the healing of our world.”   Angeles L. Limena While our third patriot did not fight in Bataan and did not suffer the Death March, he and his men were similarly force marched from his command at Cagayan to Camp Casisang, in Malaybalay Bukidnon, previously a training ground for the Philippine Constabulary, where American and Filipino prisoners-of-war (POWs) were incarcerated.   Soldier-Priest Angeles Labrador Limena was born October 2, 1899 in Sorsogon, Sorsogon. He was christened Angeles by his parents Angeles since his  birth date fell on the Feast of the Catholic festival of the Guardian Angels. He went to study in Sorsogon to be a priest, but before he was ordained he left to join the armed forces in Manila where he was accepted into the Philippine Constabulary. Limena was assigned to the School for Reserve Commission in Camp Keithley, Lanao (now the Philippine Army Officer Candidate School at Camp O’Donnel, Capas, Tarlac) where the American camp commander noticed his all around abilities and sent him for formal military training to the Philippine Constabulary Academy at Camp Henry T. Allen, which eventually became the Philippine Military Academy in 1936. However, before he was assigned to Baguio, Limena met and married Mary Figuro Kelley while he was at Camp Keithley. Mary was the daughter of Marion Lee Kelley from Grand Rapids, Michigan, a US Army veteran who fought in Cuba during Spanish-American War, and came to the Philippines to help educate the Filipinos. When World War II broke out, Limena was assigned as the Provincial Commander of  Camp 1Lt Vicente Garcia Alagar, Cagayan de Misamis, Misamis Oriental. Major General William F. Sharp, commander of the USAFFE Mindanao Force, on orders of Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright from Corregidor, ordered all American and Filipino soldiers under his command to surrender to the Japanese on May 9, 1942. Limena surrendered Camp Alagar to the Kawamura Detachment on May 10, 1942, and he and all his men were forced to walk from Cagayan to Camp Casisang, in Malaybalay Bukidnon, previously a training ground for the Philippine Constabulary.   Another Death March? Although Google maps says it usually takes a one hour and 54 minute ride to negotiate its 93 kilometers, the old Sayre Highway which the marchers took was a much longer route, and definitely as long as, if not more brutal than the Bataan Death March. It has an all uphill stretch at Carmen Hill in Upper Puerto and a particularly difficult stretch through the Mangima Canyon where it dips down gorges and up cliffs as deep and high as 420 meters. Older folks from Malayabalay used to say it took them around 5-6 hours to travel to Cagayan by motor vehicle over the old route. “I became a Prisoner of War of the Japanese Imperial Army on May 10, 1942 on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Archipelago. On that date all U.S. armed forces were ordered by our commanders to lay down their weapons and to surrender to the Japanese,” reads the personal account of Pvt. First Class Robert W. Phillips, an Aircraft and Engine Mechanic, Second Class, crew chief and flight engineer with the 28th Bombardment Squadron stationed at Del Monte Airfield. “Immediately after our surrender we were ordered to make our way to the Philippine Army cantonment called Camp Casisang, near Malaybalay, Bukidnon Province. I walked most of that distance before catching a ride in one of our trucks whose destination was the same as mine.” However, even before the Japanese evacuated all POWs from it on August and October 1942, Limena managed to escape, walking towards Misamis Oriental, avoiding Japanese soldiers, crossing rivers, forests and mountains. He reached Alubijid where he meet few of his trusted soldiers guarding his family.   Guerrillas Organized On September 22, 1942, Limena organized the Western Misamis Oriental Sector Guerrilla at Manticao, Misamis Oriental, around the core group of Ramon Legazpi, Sr. The covered the province from Lugait, Misamis Oriental to Ugyaban river, Cagayan. Unsurrendered soldiers from the USAFFE, Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Army and Philippine Scouts comprised the fighting core while fishermen, farmers, students from surrounding barrios also volunteered to serve as civilian volunteers. Among the ranking officers who reported to Major Limena upon the creation of his guerrilla were Major Juan Taduran, Capt. Laureto Talaroc, Capt. Carlos Subang, Capt. Porferio Pakingan, Capt. Ricardo Abellanosa, Capt. Magno, Capt. Vicente Austria, and Capt. Antonio Ognir. Major Juan Taduran, a Bicolano, inducted the new officers-Lt. Ramon Legaspi Sr., Lt. Salvador Legaspi, Lt. Paterno Padua, Lt. Elson Lagrosas, Lt. Paterno Lagrosas, Lt. Elegio Pacana, Lt. Jose Carlos, Lt. Alfonso Dadole, Lt. Ben Johnson Ratunil, Lt. Gang Wilkomm, Lt. George Wilkomm, Lt. Jose Gabe, Lt. Eutiquio Madriaga, Lt. Amado Ravidas, Lt. Monico Chaves, Lt. Herculano Babatido, Lt. Edipalo Lagrosas, Lt. Jesus Juario, Lt. Romeo Villaraza, and Lt. Elpedio Lagrosas. On November 28, 1942, Limena was designated Regimental Commander of the 109th Infantry Regiment. 109th Division by Col. Wendell W. Fertig. His assigned officers and their designated area of responsibility included Lt. (later Maj.) Fidencio Laplap’s 1st Battalion, covered Lumbia District to el Salvador, Cagayan; Capt. Carlos Subang’s 2nd Battalion, covered Alubijid to Initao, Misamis Oriental; and Capt. Vicente Austria’s 3rd Battalion, covered Naawan, Initao to Lugait, Misamis Oriental.  Perhaps it was only fitting that Limena returned to his Creator on April 9, 1976, appropriately enough the 34th Anniversary of the  Araw ng Kagitingan.     The zigzag road portion of the Sayre Highway in Mangima Canyon, Tankulan, dips and rises in gorges and cliffs as high as 420 meters. (NARA)

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The Guerrilla Navy in Northern Mindanao

April 7, 2021

Two of the Second World War’s largest naval battles were fought in the waters off the Philippines. These were the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19-20, 1944, considered the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history, involving 24 aircraft carriers, deploying roughly 1,350 carrier-based aircraft; and the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 23-26, 1944, considered to have been the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history, with over 200,000 naval personnel involved. However, long before these two titanic battles happened, a different type of war was already being fought off the coasts of the occupied Philippines and Japanese garrison forces. Though minute  in scope and scale compared to major naval engagements between the US and Imperial Japanese navies, it was a constant, running battle in the country’s inter-island waters, and considering the odds against them, deserves a story of their own for our guerrillas’ valor in daring to engage elements of the Japanese armed forces, albeit on a much smaller scale.   Business as usual During the “3 taong walang Diyos” of the Japanese Occupation, Mindanao was still able to share food with adjacent areas in the Visayas, like Leyte, Cebu and Bohol. Slow-moving bancas were used to ply between Agusan and the Visayas.  In Lanao, periodic trips were undertaken by traders from Bohol, Negros, Siquijor, Cebu and Camiguin, bringing in sugar, garments, dried and salted fish, medicines and others. On their return trip, they brought with them rice, corn, and other food which were lacking in their places. Very often, these trips were undertaken by the ubiquitous Barco Dos Velas (Dos Velas means Two Sails in Spanish) sailboats. “Barco Dos Velas was a 2-masted sailboat common between Visayas and Mindanao during colonial times,” said Antonio J. Montalvan II, a Europe-based Filipino public writer, social anthropologist, university professor and heritage activist. “These were the sailboats which many Visayan immigrants took when they moved to Mindanao.” The Dos Velas were relatively large vessels and could accommodate up to one hundred sacks of corn, one hundred fifty kerosene cans of salted fish sauce (guinamos), and twenty men. With their huge sails, they were fast sailboats and together with the smaller bancas,  revived the inter-island trade interrupted by the war. They traded in salt, corn, rice, guinamos, dried fish,, sugar and soap. Normal trade relations existed between Lanao and Misamis Occidental. This trade relation, however, between these two provinces and from other islands in the Visayas, were at times paralyzed due to active Japanese patrols, both by land and sea. The daring viajeros crossed the sea at night and hid in island coves during daytime to avoid Japanese sea patrols that prowled Macajalar and Iligan Bays searching for guerrillas going to and from Col. William  Fertig’s headquarters at Misamis, Misamis Occidental. Fertig was the recognized overall guerrilla leader of the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. It was the usual practice of guerrillas going to Misamis to commandeer a sailboat, cross Iligan Bay at night to avoid Japanese motor launches based in Iligan, and arrive in Jimenez in the morning. When a banca was commandeered, its skipper was given a “Jefe de Viaje”(Safe Passage Pass) by the area guerrilla commander which guaranteed him safe passage through territories controlled by the guerrillas. However, savvy traders were also known to obtain similar safe passage passes from the Japanese (written in kana-hiragana) which they flashed when hailed by Japanese patrols. Of course, these were usually kept under wraps from the guerrillas. The Japanese often intercepted the sailboats at sea, confiscating their cargo, and took the crew prisoner. Because of this, business declined and later, markets and retail stores were closed. The sudden rise of commodity prices inevitably followed. (pages 47-49, Memoirs of the Guerrillas: The Barefoot Army, by Jesus B. Ilogon)   Beginnings : The 110th Regiment ‘Navy’ It was evident at the very beginning that in order to organize all the small guerrilla bands in the eastern portion of Mindanao a fast and efficient means of water transportation was called for.  One of the guerrilla units which was most active in the littoral waters and the rivers and other waterways of Northern Mindanao was the  110th Infantry Regiment, charged with the area  from the Tagoloan River, Misamis Oriental to the Eastern border of the province. Activated early in November, 1942, it was composed mostly of various guerrilla bands which sprung  up in  Eastern Misamis Oriental during early September 1942: Balingasag and the surrounding towns led by Lt Pedro Collado; PFC (later 1st Lt), Clyde M. Abbot, Vicente Mercado and Sgt (later Lt.) Entique Carpio; Claveria under M/Sgt James McIntyre, U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC); Malitbog under M/Sgt. Alfred Fernandez, USAAC; and Talisayan led by PFC Fausto Omandang. The first commanding officer of this regiment was Capt. Pedro D. Collado who was designated on Nov. 1942, relieved by Capt. Francisco N. Luz on Feb. 1943, and succeeded by Maj. Rosauro P. Dongallo in June, 1943. (Memoirs of the Guerrillas: The Barefoot Army, by Jesus B. Ilogon) The regiment found two launches on the seacoast of Misamis Oriental: the “Rosalia”,  a light two masted banca powered by a 50HP diesel engine, and the “Treasure Island”, an inter-island passenger launch with a high superstructure and a 75 HP diesel engine. These launches were commissioned in February, 1943. With launches in operation, it was necessary to locate an oil supply to provide fuel.  Captain Cruz Ranario, Division Quartermaster, solved this problem by building a kilometer long pipeline from the oil storage tank of the Surigao Consolidated Mine at Siana, Surigao to Tubay, where the oil was placed in oil drums which were floated down the creek to Tubay River, carried by baroto down the river to Tubay, where the oil was picked up and carried to fueling stations.  It was estimated that this oil storage tank, which was never touched by the Japs, contained over 200 tons of diesel fuel which was more than sufficient to operate the 110th Division’s launches for two years.  An additional 60 tons of bunker fuel was siphoned out of the hulk of the SS Mayon sunk at Nasipit Harbor, but 52 tons of it was dumped by an American who thought bunker fuel was worthless. (Source: History of the 110th Division page 4, NARA, 110th Division, 10th Military District (MD) (PVAO Digitized Collection) )   Ammo Mission to Bohol During the last day of the Siege of Butuan (March 3-10, 1943) when it was evident that the guerrillas’ ammunition was running low, Captain William Knortz took the launch “Rosalia” and went to Bohol, where a reliable source had reported that a certain individual had collected a large amount of ammunition after the surrender, but was holding it in secret for the Bohol Force, because there was some kind of agreement between the two parties. Knortz contacted this individual and was able to obtain 8,000 rounds of ammunition and brought back the individual who knew the source. This ammunition was taken back and distributed to the troops. As Knortz was pressed for time, he was not able to get all the hidden ammunition from Bohol. Major Clyde Childress and Knortz decided to return to Bohol to get the remainder. In the meantime, the guerrillas had captured the “ Nara Maru” a 60-foot Japanese-made diesel motor launch which was converted to run on coconut oil. It was armed with a .50 caliber machine gun that was taken from a damaged B-17 bomber from the 19th Bombardment Squadron and had an improvised recoil mechanism made from rubber tubing. Upon arriving in Jagna, Bohol, Childress in the launch “Treasure Island” and Knortz in the “Nara”, it was discovered that the commanding officer of the Bohol Force had learned of the ammunition raid and was very angry about it, and determined not to lose anymore to the interlopers from Mindanao.  However, while a conference was held with the officers of the Bohol Force, men were sent up into the hills and managed to get another 2,000 rounds. The decorum of the Bohol guerrillas was such as to indicate that they could start shooting anytime, so the party from the 110th Division boarded their launches and departed post haste to Mindanao. The party stopped over at Mambajao, Camiguin, and heard from civilians that a submarine had landed at Misamis Occidental (actually in Lanao del Norte). Sending the “Treasure Island” on to Mindanao, Knortz and Childress took the motor launch “Nara” to Misamis Occidental where they met Commander Charles “Chick” Parsons, who had just arrived from Australia at the headquarters of Col. Fertig in Oroquieta. Parsons told them MacArthur had instructed the guerrillas to focus on intelligence gathering rather than attacking the Japanese garrisons. (Source: History of the 110th Division, page 5, 110th Division, 10th Military District (MD) (PVAO Digitized Collection) )   Athena Perhaps the most famous member of the guerrilla “navy” was the Athena, a two-masted Barco Dos Velas with outriggers, commonly used as commercial traders by Visayan traders from Panay, Negros, Siquijor and Bohol. She was skippered by Major Vicente Zapanta, the  legendary Butuanon of the Agusan River. Thought to be a US. Navy veteran of World War 1, he volunteered not only his service, but also his large sailing vessel with an auxiliary one cylinder diesel engine to the 110th Division in November 1942, turning his banca over to the army although he had been making a huge profit from it in the commercial trade.  Zapanta was commissioned as a 2nd  Lieutenant but rapidly rose to the rank of Major in the USFIP and proved to be a valuable man to the organization.  His banca was originally armed with a homemade muzzle loading cannon fashioned from a four-inch pipe which fired balls cast from melted fishing weights, but was later equipped with a 20mm cannon and .50-cal. machine guns, but never saw action on its many trips distributing supplies about the Visayan Islands and other coastal points in Mindanao. In addition, its 20 men crew were armed with Browning Automatic Rifles (BARs).  Athena’s major role during the war was to transport rice and other supplies to the various guerrilla-controlled towns, It also transported troops from one point of Mindanao to another. Zapanta was particularly helpful in delivering radio equipment to some of the coast watcher stations, Another mission was to bring evacuees to the next expected rendezvous with submarines such as the USS Narwhal.(page 110, Wendell Fertig and His Guerrilla Forces in the Philippines, Kent Holmes). On one of these trips on January 1943, it picked up a large amount of USAFFE supplies from a beach at Manapa, Agusan, sequestered from Talacogon by Captain Knortz and Lt. Money left by Capt. Chastaine at the time of the surrender. This included the radio transmitter of the Anakan Lumber Company, which consisted of the transmitter itself, a steel cabinet two feet square and six feet high, a generator and many other pieces of personal equipment such as packs, canteens, bayonets, etc. (Source; History of the 110th Division, page 3, 110th Division, 10th Military District (MD) (PVAO Digitized Collection)  On her seventh war patrol and ninth Spyron mission, Narwhal skippered by Lt. Cmdr. Frank D. Latta, entered Butuan Bay submerged at 0508 hrs on November 15, 1943. At 1605 hours, she sighted a launch flying the proper security signal. She surfaced and Colonel Wendell W. Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) and head of the organized resistance in Mindanao, came aboard. Narwhal then proceeded to Nasipit Harbor. On her way in she ran aground on hard sand in the channel’s west bank, but managed to free herself quickly. At 1746 hours, Narwhal moored starboard side at the Nasipit dock as a Filipino band played “Anchors Away.” At 2330 hours, she completed offloading 46 tons of supplies. Early the next day, she embarked 32 evacuees, including POW escapees Shofner, Hawkins and Dobervich, women, two children, and one baby, and got underway. As Spyron Operations Chief, Lt. Cmdr. Chick Parsons left Narwhal with the harbor pilot. Remarks the Narwhal’s patrol report: “The very real need for any kind of stores in guerrilla occupied areas led us to transfer considerably more stores than were actually consigned as cargo. Additional arms and ammunition as well as foodstuffs were transferred to Col. [Wendell] Fertig. These supplies were distributed to the western portion of Mindanao and to others in the Visayan Islands on Zapanta’s “Athena”.   Albert McCarthy A machine shop was set up at Fort Lamon, Surigao, in the old Port Lamon Lumber Company’s yard, which was destroyed by the 1942 typhoon. At this shop were 2nd Lt. Richard B. Lang and Waldo Neveling. The purpose of this shop was the construction and repair of launches and bancas.  The first launch to be constructed in this shop was the “Albert McCarthy” named after the brother of Lt. Joe McCarthy, who was killed in an ambush near Surigao City while on patrol against the Japs. Capt. Knortz sailed this launch to the Division Headquarters at Linogus, Misamis Oriental (now Magsaysay), to get submarine supplies from Col. Fertig.  The supplies were received and the party returned, stopping at Balingasag, while Knortz in the launch, continued on up the coast.  A telephone call informed the Japanese had just landed at Gingoog and had taken control of the town. That same afternoon, Capt. Dobervich, USMC, arrived at Balingasag with a truck. A platoon of soldiers from the 110th Regiment Combat Company were sent immediately by truck to Gingoog to engage the Japs.  At Talisayan the M/L “Albert McCarthy” was found anchored and it was learned that Capt. Knortz and his armed party had proceeded to Gingoog on foot. The launch was unloaded and hidden, and the supplies loaded on the truck and sent to Medina where the Combat Co. troops unloaded and marched towards Gingoog.  It was learned that Knortz had entered Gingoog and killed eight Japs at close range with his tommy gun, and then had retired through the mountains. The troops arrived late and set up an outpost at Lunao crossing. During the night a large Japanese patrol attacked the outpost and broke through it. Lt. Fritz was killed when the truck with the supplies he was driving was ambushed by the Japs.    Sea Mishap The first Spyron operation in Northern Mindanao and seventh Spyron mission overall,  involved the Bowfin (SS-287) under Cmdr. J. H. Willingham on Sept. 3, 1943 when it embarked nine persons and  delivered seven tons of radio equipment and supplies at Iligan Bay, 1 ¼ mile east of Binuni Point (off present day Bacolod, Lanao del Norte). Four weeks later on Sept. 29, 1943, at the same location, Bowfin evacuated nine guerrillas, selected by their superior officers, to be transported to Australia. Capt. Knortz returned to Liangan, Lanao, arriving just after the Bowfin’s second shipment was unloaded and was able to get the largest shipment yet allocated to the 110th Division.  However, his small launch was overloaded with the 13 people in addition to the weapons, packs and supplies and sank midway between Camiguin and Punta Diwata. Knortz downed and only six Filipinos survived.   So What Waldo Neveling was a German national who was a  former mining engineer at the Mindanao Mother Lode mine in Surigao province. Initially interned and then released by the Japanese because of his German nationality, he became a “soldier of fortune” and joined Fertig’s guerrilla organization, where he was commissioned a Captain in the 114th Regiment. He had been out of Germany for over 20 yrs and was not affiliated with the Nazi Party. He hated the Japanese but said he would not care to fight Germans. At the Port Lamen machine shop, Neveling built a  50-foot two masted banca christened the “So What”, powered by a 25 HP diesel engine and mounting a 20mm cannon. It was fitted with circular saw blades on its gunnels that formed a sort of  “armor” for the boat. Its primary mission was to transport supplies to the guerrillas, raid Japanese shipping and protect the mouth of the Agusan River. With the 20mm cannon Neveling shot down a Japanese Betty Bomber, which crashed a few kilometers distant near Hinatuan. (page 110, Wendell Fertig and His Guerrilla Forces in the Philippines. Kent Holmes)   Captain Knortz When the Japs occupied Gingoog and Anakan, on the 1st of September  1943 they evacuated Butuan. Guerrillas found the Japs left a good river launch, a barge, and a 200-ton wooden lighter formerly owned by the Luzon Stevedoring Company.  The launch was easily repaired and christened “Captain Knortz” and patrolled Agusan River. The barge was also repaired and pressed into service. The lighter was used on December 3, 1943  and 4th of March, 1944 to unload a hundred tons of submarine supplies. For the December 3rd mission, the US Navy submarine Narwhal embarked seven evacuees – two soldiers, three civilian men, one woman, and one eight-year-old girl. She unloaded 92 tons of supplies, 300 gallons of lube oil, a small amount of hand tools, received three messages regarding the next phase of her mission, and used the portable radio station on the barge to send three messages. At 2205 hours, she got underway with Parsons aboard.     Bastard Another vessel in the Mindanao naval fleet, albeit not from the 110th Division, but  was the Bastard, a 26-foot whaleboat. Its skipper was Robert Kerr “Jock” McLaren, a captain in the Royal Australian army who was part of a group of POWs that escaped from a Japanese concentration camp in Sandakan, Borneo, made its way to Mindanao and served in the Tenth Military District in various capacities until the end of the war.  Australian military involvement in the liberation of the Philippines began in June 1943, when eight Australian Servicemen who had escaped from Sandakan in Sabah joined the Filipino guerrillas fighting on Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines. Two of the men were killed during fighting and three others returned to Australia in early 1944, while the three remaining soldiers were transferred to Special Operations Australia and continued to fight on Mindanao until the island was liberated in 1945. As part of ‘E’ Force, McLaren was among five hundred British and five hundred Australian prisoners transferred to Borneo in March 1943. The Australians were taken to a camp on Berhala Island, at the entrance to Sandakan harbour in British North Borneo. McLaren and Lieutenant Rex Blow made contact with Filipino guerrillas who helped them and five others to escape in June. Another Australian, already at large, joined the group which then sailed to the island of Tawitawi in the Philippines.  Attaching themselves to an American-led guerrilla force, the men sailed for Mindanao in October. McLaren had been promoted sergeant in July. He was to serve with distinction in the Philippines, receiving a field commission (January 1944) and the rank of temporary captain (April 1945) with the 125th Infantry Regiment and later with the 108th Division in Lanao. From September 1944 McLaren skippered an armed whaleboat off Mindanao. He attacked Japanese small craft and coastal installations with dash and aggression, qualities he also displayed when commanding combat patrols on land.  McLaren’s boat had a 20-millimeter cannon mounted in the bow, twin 30-inch guns amidships and a .50 caliber gun in the after part of the craft. Another unique feature was an 82-millimeter mortar in the craft’s stern. The boat would sail into Japanese-controlled ports in daylight hours, direct its automatic fire at the piers and fire its mortar at Japanese boats. It is said that its crew would even challenge the Japanese by sending them invitations. This craft was also effective against Japanese aircraft.  A last addition to the guerrilla navy was a group of small, fast sailboats and escort launches that had machine guns or 20- or 30-millimeter cannons. These small craft would protect the delivery of supplies that had been brought in by submarine. (page 110, Wendell Fertig and his guerrilla forces in the Philippines, Kent Holmes) On 2 April 1945 he and Blow headed elements of the guerrilla force’s 108th Division in an assault on the last Japanese stronghold in Lanao province. Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Hedges, the American divisional commander, recorded that the fighting ended with the capture of the garrison and the destruction of about 450 enemy troops.  For his efforts at sea and on land, McLaren won the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches. His M.C. citation read: ‘throughout the whole of his service with the Guerilla Forces, Captain McLaren displayed outstanding leadership in battle and had no regard for his personal safety. His cheerful imperturbability was an inspiration to all with whom he came into contact’. The Americans awarded him the Philippines Liberation ribbon.

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The Mindanao Death March

April 5, 2021

During World War II, there were two (2) death marches in the Philippines that were presented at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials as evidence of the inhuman treatment of prisoners of war (POWs). These were the “Bataan Death March” and the “Iligan Death March”, also referred to as the “Mindanao Death March” or the “Dansalan Death March” in some accounts. While the commemoration of the Bataan Death March is commemorated annually with the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) national highway every April 9th, very few people know about the Iligan Death March. On the 4th of July 1942, surrendered Filipino and American soldiers in Mindanao were made to march on a rocky dirt road and under the blazing tropical sun, from Camp Keithley in Dansalan to Iligan in Lanao – a distance of about thirty-six (36) kilometer (25 miles) prior to their transfer with the rest of the Mindanao POWs to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Transport trucks, although available, were denied the POWs. Without food and water, one by one the soldiers fell down due to exhaustion. Those who fell were shot in the forehead to prevent them from joining the guerrillas in the event they recover. But the story did not end there. The Tokyo War Trials On January 19, 1946, the victorious Allied powers—France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America— established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo, Japan. The IMTFE had the jurisdiction to try individuals for Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity that were committed during the World War II. The subsequent trials held were collectively known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. The Tokyo War Crimes Trials were held between May 1946 to November 1948. The Philippine Prosecution Team presented and proved before the IMTFE at least sixteen (16) incidents of indignities, torture and barbarities committed against the Filipino and Foreign Prisoners of Wars (POWs) and civilians. Each of these incidents is a bundle of gruesome stories and tales of human suffering. The Bataan Death March, notorious as it was, overshadowed all the other incidents in history books. In fact, of the 16 incidents, only the Bataan Death March appeared in history textbooks. All the others remained unknown. Because the evidence against the accused were overwhelmingly strong, the Iligan Death March, along with others, were only summarily presented and proven during Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Guests of the Emperor The Japanese landed in the Southern part of Mindanao, in Parang, Maguindanao. From there, they began advancing northwards to the Province of Lanao. The Philippine Troops and Moros formed the Bolo Battalion under 81st Division commander Brigadier General Guy O. Fort. The plan was to defend Ganassi, Bacolod Grande on the southern end of Lake Lanao and stop the advancing Japanese troops. Gen. Fort planned for guerrilla warfare. However, on May 6, 1942, Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright IV, the Allied commander in the Philippines, surrendered the Filipino and American Forces on Bataan and Corregidor. Gen. Homma threatened to kill the American surrenderers from Bataan and Corregidor unless all American and Filipino forces surrendered. Subsequently, on May 10, 1942, Gen. Wainwright ordered Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp to surrender all his US and Filipino troops in Mindanao. He complied. At Bubong, Lanao del Sur, a large number of Filipino troops escaped to the hills. The Americans were ordered not to desert or face court martial. On May 26, 1942, soldiers walked 6 miles from Bubong to Dansalan, where they surrendered their arms. The Japanese Commanding Officer declared them to be “guests of the emperor” and not “prisoners of war.” There were 46 Americans and some 300 Filipinos under General Fort who surrendered. While awaiting instructions from Lt. Masaharu Homma, the POWs were billeted in an abandoned building once used as a mint for producing provincial money. Soon, the Japanese soldiers guarding the POWs were replaced with extremely young men who slapped them if they failed to count in Japanese. Beginning in June 10, 1942, the young Japanese guards invaded the POW sleeping quarters. During these nightly invasions, the Japanese looted the POWs of their belongings, beat and abused them physically. These incidents resulted in hushed talks about escaping. To avert possible escape, the Japanese guards adapted the Honor System, that is, for every soldier who escaped, their officers would be executed. On July 1, 1942, Cpl. William Knortz, Pvt. Robert Ball, Seamen Jas S. Smith and William Johnson escaped. Under the Honor System, Col. Robert Hale Vesey, Captain A.H. Price and Sgt. John L. Chandler paid the price. When asked about the whereabouts of the abovementioned officers, the Japanese interpreter only remarked: “They died like soldiers.” The Japanese were very angry with the escape. As punishment, all POWs were required to walk instead of riding to Iligan. The Iligan Death March At 8:00 A.M., July 4, 1942, the POWs lined up for the march at Dansalan (now Marawi), Lanao. The Americans were arranged four abreast and strung together in columns by a gauge wire through their belts. The Filipino POWs, though unwired, were to walk barefooted. As it was the fourth of July, the march was mockingly dubbed the “Independence Day March.” A truckload of Japanese soldiers with a mounted machine gun followed the prisoners, ready to shoot anybody who tried to escape. As the day progressed, the midday tropical sun became unbearable. Without food and water, one by one the soldiers fell down due to exhaustion. Those who fell were left behind after they were first shot at the forehead to prevent them from joining the guerrillas in case they recover. Among the more prominent deaths recorded during the march were those of Mr. Childress ( or in other documents – Kildritch) was an American civilian who owned a coconut plantation in Mindanao, shot by a Japanese guard for failing to keep up with the other marchers; Major Jay J. Navin, Commanding Officer, 84th Regiment, also shot for the same reason; Lt. Robert Pratt, Finance Officer, 81st Division, who died of exhaustion in Iligan after the march;   The Filipino soldiers, being resilient people, started the march at a lively pace. They weren’t tied together. But unlike their American counterparts who wore military shoes, they walked barefooted. A few hours into the walk, the hot rocky dirt road started to burn their feet, which was so unbearable that some of them started crawling. One was left behind. The Japanese guard, tired of prodding him to walk, bayoneted him to death. As the march continued, the Japanese killed four more Filipinos, including a Medical Officer with a Red Cross band on his arm. By the end of the day, Fullerton, Jr. estimated some ten or twelve Filipino soldiers were killed by bayoneting or shooting. At St. Michael’s Academy, Iligan By mid-afternoon, when the throng was about 3 kilometers from Iligan, the gauge tie was removed. They arrived in Iligan at around 7:00 P.M. in the evening. All were tired, thirsty, hungry and were at the point of complete exhaustion. The POWs, both Filipinos and Americans, were housed in a rickety two-story school building of St. Michael’s Academy, located across the St. Michael’s Church in Iligan. The Filipino POWs occupied the first floor while the Americans were locked at the second floor. Off to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon The POWs stayed in Iligan for two (2) days before they were ferried away to Cagayan de Misamis. The Japanese, every now and then, confiscated the POWs’ money, valuables, gold rings, wristwatches, etc. on the pretext that the POWs had to purchase their own food or transportation. Afraid of another dreaded march, the POWs gave whatever they had of value to the Japanese. On July 6, 1942, the POWs boarded a canon boat and sailed a hundred miles east along the shore of Mindanao to Cagayan de Misamis, the capital town in Northern Mindanao. From there, trucks took them to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon where they joined other POWs from Mindanao. Conclusion The story of the Mindanao Death March, through all these years, has remained relatively unknown. This speck of Philippine History was neither available nor accessible to the Filipino reading public until online primary sources became available. Triangulating and verifying these online primary sources with other available printed and non-print sources made possible the admissibility of these sources as historical records to be used as evidence for the writing of this historic fact - the Mindanao Death March. As shown, it was a tragic story of how the American and Filipino POWs experienced undue brutalities and indignities during the WWII in Mindanao. They surrendered and thus, under the existing laws of war, they expected civil treatment from the Japanese victors. It is now time to rewrite the Philippine History textbooks and create more space for the participation of Mindanao in WWII. Aftermath On the Fourth of July, 1942, Lt. Col. Wendell W. Fertig sat on a high hill near Dansalan looking down on the National Road. Below him the Japanese paraded a long line of ragtag and malaria ridden POWs, in hopes of impressing the citizens of Mindanao. At the head of the column they placed Brigadier General Guy Fort in an open truck. The POWs shambled forward tied together foot and hand with telephone wire. Whenever they lagged, Japanese guards beat them or jabbed them with bayonets fixed on their long rifles. When they fell they were stabbed. Watching from above, Fertig decided he would never surrender. He would fight. (from They Fought Alone, by John Keats, pp 82-83) By late 1944, Fertig commanded the 10th Military District of the US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) a guerrilla force estimated at 36,000—the equivalent of an Army Corps—with 16,500 of them armed. Fertig also created and helped administer the civilian government of Mindanao while at the same time conducting the guerrilla war against the Japanese. The USFIP killed at least 7,000 Japanese soldiers and, while a constant drain on Japanese resources, they also prevented the Japanese from fully utilizing Mindanao's resources in support of its war efforts. At one time, the Japanese committed approximately 60,000 troops in an attempt to crush guerrilla resistance on Mindanao, troops that were desperately needed elsewhere. Throughout the entire Philippines, the guerrillas managed to tie down a Japanese army of 288,000 troops, of which approximately 43,000–60,000 were on Mindanao, depending on the time period. (From PBS. 2009. MacArthur: The Guerrilla War. Retrieved March 30, 2021; and  Schmidt, Larry. (1982). American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1945   -30-   While the Bataan Death March is a widely known indignity to WWII POWs, there seemed to be only scanty accounts of the Iligan Death March. It is fortunate that at least four (4) of the American POWs who participated in the said death march eventually survived the gruesome war and narrated their ordeals before they died. They were: Victor L. Mapes, Herbert L. Zincke, Richard P. Beck and Frederick M. Fullerton, Jr. These narratives, however, can only be found online. After validating these sources, it is now possible to retell the story of the Mindanao Death March for present and future generations.

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2021 Philippine Veterans Week | Araw ng Kagitingan Remembered

April 5, 2021

The Philippines commemorates the 79th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the Bataan Death March on April 9, 2021, now known as the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).   This day, also known as Bataan Day, commemorates the fall of Bataan, a pivotal event in Philippine history.   At dawn on 9 April 1942, against the orders of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, the commander of the Luzon Force, Bataan, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., surrendered over 76,000 starving and disease-ridden soldiers (64,000 Filipinos, Chinese and 12,000 Americans) to Japanese troops.   Unprepared for the number of prisoners, the Japanese decided to walk the prisoners 150 kilometers to a prison camp in San Fernando. Over 20,000 prisoners died on this march from dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton executions at the hands of the Japanese. The trek became infamous as the 'Bataan Death March'. Only some 54,000 of the 76,000 prisoners reached their destination; the exact death toll is difficult to assess because thousands of captives were able to escape. Approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners-of-war died before they could reach Camp O'Donnell.   While the holiday marks an event which was a victory for the opposing forces, the heroic defense of Bataan by those soldiers was seen as a key event in the war, as it allowed the Allies time to prepare for later battles which stalled the Japanese conquest  of the Pacific, and eventually led to an Allied victory. The Bataan peninsula was eventually retaken by American and Filipino forces on February 8th 1945. In the Philippines, Araw ng Kagitingan is a nationwide holiday, commemorated through parades, featuring veterans of the Second World War. The most well-known celebration takes place at Mt. Samat Shrine, where the president gives a speech recognizing the bravery of those who fought.   In the United States, memorials are held across the country to commemorate the soldiers, but the day is celebrated in September rather than April. There is a special memorial in Maywood, Illinois, as many young soldiers from this village served at Bataan.  With Araw ng Kagitingan, we honor all Filipino heroes of the past and the present. In a special way, we honor our brave front liners who courageously fight for us in our battle against COVID-19. We also honor the countless Filipinos who have stepped up to help our brothers and sisters during these difficult times so that together, we heal as one nation.   Philippine Veterans Week By virtue of Proclamation No. 466 signed by former President Corazon Aquino in September 1989, Philippine Veterans Week is commemorated every April 5 to 11. The event is aimed at promoting, preserving and memorializing the principles, ideals and deeds of Filipino war veterans. This weeklong observance honors not only the Filipino war veterans who fought during World War II but also those who rendered honorable military service. This year's observance, anchored on the theme, Kagitingan ay Gawing Gabay, Pandemya ay Mapagtatagumpayan, is commemorated through a series of commemorative events virtually from April 5 to April 11, 2021. Metro Cagayan de Oro Times joins the nation in commemorating these two events in Northern Mindanao with this special 79th Araw ng Kagitingan & Philippine Veterans Week 2021 issue featuring stories celebrating the heroism of our patriots, as well as others which celebrate the valor and sacrifice of those who rose from the ashes of defeat to continue the fight against their imperial oppressors.   The Mindanao Death March The untold story of the Death March in Mindanao – one of the only two death marches recognized in the Tokyo war crime trials as evidence of the inhuman treatment of Filipino and American Prisoners of War (POWs) during World War II. On July 4, 1942, surrendered Filipino and American soldiers in Mindanao were forced to march on a rocky dirt road under the blazing tropical sun from Camp Keithley in Dansalan (Marawi) to Iligan in Lanao – a distance of about thirty-six (36) kilometers, for the purpose of joining them with the rest of the Mindanao POWs at Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Based on online research conducted by Robert John A. Donesa, Saint Louis University, Baguio City.   Heroes de Bataan: Death March Survivors fight again in Mindanao USAFFE soldiers from Northern Mindanao who fought in Bataan and survived the Death March  managed to find their way back to Cagayan de Misamis and joined the guerrillas to continue the fight against the Imperial Japanese Army garrison troops.   Quinine from Bukidnon Farm help Allies win the War in the Pacific Still unknown to many, cinchona bark from a secret farm in Bukidnon helped prolong the defense of Bataan and Corregidor, delaying the Imperial Japanese Empire’s timetable to conquer Asia and the Pacific, buying precious time for the Allies to organize their defenses and eventually counter attack  and defeat the enemy. By Carlos Policarpio Bagonoc (with additional research by Mike Baños).   The Live or Die (LOD) Unit of the Mindanao Guerrillas  Philippine Scouts from Oroquieta organized this small but deadly intelligence, sabotage, assassination, and propaganda unit from the 10th Military District of Mindanao which hit hard at prime targets of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in Manila itself and paid for it with the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in the service of their beloved country. By Raul B. Ilogon    The History & Legacy of the Fighting Moreno Brothers: Guerrillas of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental  The Moreno clan of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental sent no less than 15 of its finest young men to fight with the 110th Division of the US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), the organized resistance against the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Here are the stories and legacies of four of seven brothers of one of those families who later became prominent citizens as well as their children and grandchildren who continue their tradition of valor in battle and integrity in public service.   Defending Dipolog April 1945: A Young Guerrilla’s Eyewitness Account A first-hand account of the final phase of this battle by a young guerrilla who was dispatched with the 108th Expeditionary Company in early 1945 to reinforce the guerrilla forces defending Dipolog Airfield early April, 1945. By Mike Baños & Raul B. Ilogon.   We hope and pray these stories are remembered and treasured by those who read it, to remind themselves and the those still to come after us, that there was a steep price to pay for the freedom we enjoy today, and the least we can do is pay it forward by passing on these tales to our children and grandchildren.   We must tell their stories.  

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CEB ANNOUNCES LISTING OF CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED SHARES

March 29, 2021

On the back of the successful completion of its convertible preferred shares stock rights offering (the “Offer”), leading low-cost-carrier Cebu Air, Inc. (“CEB”, “Cebu Pacific”, or the “Company”) announces that 328,947,368 of convertible preferred shares with a par value of PHP 1.00 per share were listed and ready to be traded on the Main Board of the Philippine Stock Exchange . “The success of this activity is a testament to Cebu Pacific’s fortitude and its steadfast commitment as the Philippine national flag carrier which reminded me of something that my father once said, ‘Success is not necessarily about connections, or cutting corners, or chamba. Success can be achieved through hard work, frugality, integrity, responsiveness to change, and most of all, boldness to dream.’ We would like to recognize and convey our gratitude to our shareholders for supporting us in this endeavor," said CEB President and CEO Lance Gokongwei. "The hard work our team puts in every day – despite all challenges, the strategies we have put into play long before this pandemic started, and the changes we have implemented in our company, will enable us to continue our dream – for everyJuan to fly.” Despite the numerous challenges that airlines are currently facing, Cebu Pacific was able to raise approximately PHP 12.49 billion (USD 256 million) from existing shareholders reflective of the belief that shareholders have, not only in the long-term prospects of Cebu Pacific, but also its vital role in the economic recovery of the Philippines. The funds raised from the Offer will go towards strengthening the balance sheet of the Company and ensuring it has sufficient runway to thrive in the new normal. Cebu Pacific was in a unique situation among its airline peers in that it entered into the COVID pandemic with a historically strong ability to generate free cash flow. It achieved a strong liquidity position as of 31 December 2019 having ended 2019 with a conservative net debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26x. While it sustained severe revenue decline and losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its net debt-to-equity ratio was still at a strong 2.34x as of 30 September 2020. The strong balance sheet and liquidity, with which the company entered 2020, has supported it in this challenging environment. BPI Capital Corporation acted as the Sole Global Arranger, Bookrunner and Underwriter for the Offer.   ### About Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB) Cebu Air Inc. is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline. CEB and subsidiary Cebgo fly to 36 domestic and 25 international destinations, with over 100 routes. The CEB network operates flights out of seven strategically placed hubs in the Philippines: Clark, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Kalibo, Cebu, Iloilo and Manila. The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised 73 aircraft— 7 A321NEOs, 7 A321CEOs, 5 A320NEOs, 25 A320CEOs, 7 A330CEOs, 6 ATR 72-500s, 13 ATR 72-600s, 2 ATR freighters, 1 A330 freighter. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five (5) years. A member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Cebu Pacific has achieved full compliance with IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)—considered as the benchmark of the highest standards for safety in the airline industry, joining a roster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the most stringent of international standards governing aviation safety.  For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit www.cebupacificair.com or call the reservation hotlines (+632)7020-888 or (+6332)230-8888. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages. Guests may also download the Cebu Pacific official mobile app on the App Store and Google Play.

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