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    Rufus files bill to declare May 12 as Cagayan Liberation Day

    Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) has filed a bill in the House of Representatives seeking to declare May 12 of every year as Cagayan de Oro City Liberation Day.

    “We have to always remember the struggles of Kagay-anons in the past, remember their sacrifices and  consider their bravery against all odds and challenges so that us in the present shall emulate them in order to uphold  and strengthen the rich heritage they left us and for us to become good, brave and helpful Kagay-anons!” Rodriguez said.

    According to Section 2 of House Bill No.  08677 filed last  February 11, 2021 in the Lower House, May 12 of every year is hereby declared a special non-working public holiday in Cagayan de Oro City to be known as Cagayan de Oro City Liberation Day.

    Cagayan de Oro, previously known as Cagayan, Misamis Oriental during the Commonwealth Period or Cagayan de Misamis during the Spanish Period, was liberated by Filipino Guerrillas from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II on May 12, 1945. (see related story on the front page of this issue).

    This Act shall take effect immediately upon its approval by Congress, or deemed approved, lapsed into law on (date) without the President’s signature, in accordance with Article VI, Section 27(1) of the Constitution.

    The full text of the House Bill No. 08677 follows.

    EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS         )
    REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES    )
    First Regular Session            )

    HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
    Introduced by Representative Rufus B. Rodriguez
    House Bill No.  08677

    EXPLANATORY NOTE

     May 12, 1945, is cited in history as the liberation of what was then known as Cagayan, Misamis or Cagayan de Misamis. This later became the Charter City of Cagayan de Oro on June 15, 1950.

    This occasion has never been recognized nor celebrated by the local government.

    According to the account documented in “The History of the Mindanao Guerrillas” by the American Guerrillas of Mindanao (AGOM) Cagayan, Misamis  was wrested from the Japanese by Filipino guerrillas under the 10th Military District, US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) on May 12, 1945 with American close air and naval support.
     
    The three regiments of all-Filipino guerrillas involved in the general offensive included three battalions of the 109th Regiment, 109th Division, with headquarters in Talakag, Bukidnon, charged with the frontal attack. 

    These were led by Capt. Andres Bacal, 1st Battalion; Capt. Alberto Chaves, 2nd Battalion; and Capt. Marcelino Maagad, 3rd Battalion.

    Three battalions from 111th Regiment, 109th Division covered the right flank. These were led by Capt. Purito Rubio, 1st Battalion; Capt. Felix Arcaña, 2nd Battalion; and Capt. Ramon Onahon, 3rd Battalion.

    Capt. Leopold Blanco was the Commanding Officer of 120th regiment, 108th Division based in Iligan, which supported the left flank with 300 enlisted men.

    Major Pedro Aquino was the Liaison Officer between the 108th and 109th Divisions, while Capt. Eugenio S. Vaquero, G-3, of 108th Division served as supervisor of the operation and representative of the Division Headquarters.

    The battle started with the Dipnoan-Cagayan Operation on 9 May 1945.

    Units participating in the operation were the 109th Infantry Regiment, composed of 39 officers and 350 enlisted men, and 120th Infantry Regiment, 108th Division, composed of one officer and 350 enlisted men. The 111th Infantry Regiment, 109th Division joined the operation on 10 May 1945. The attack began 9 May 1945 as planned and ended 12 May 1945.

    The guerrillas started attacking Dipnoan at 0906 Hrs on the morning of May 9, 1945. They encountered slight resistance except at Iponan bridge where some 100 Japanese soldiers, possibly coming from Carmen or Calinogan, arrived around 10:00 in the morning and vigorously opposed the advance.

    Around 11:00 of the same day, the 1st Battalion of the109th Regiment under Capt. Bacal captured the strip at Patag and the enemy was reported to have withdrawn to Carmen Hills.

    Fighting continued at the Iponan River from early morning of 10 May 1945 till 10:00 AM. At 2:00 PM of the same day, the entire 120th Infantry Regiment was moved out West of Iponan River, per instruction of higher headquarters, leaving the three battalions of the 109th Inf Regt across the river without support from the left rear of the enemy. CO of the 109th Inf Regt was ordered to pull out his troops west of Iponan River and fighting continued.

    By this time, guerrillas of the 120th Regiment started pushing forward to areas held by the enemy in Bulua, Patag, Carmen, Bayabas and Bonbon. The fighting continued up to the next day. 

    On 11 May 1945, the 109th Inf Regt was ordered to push toward west side of Cagayan road. Route of approach was made at three points: 2nd Battalion from beach to highway, 3rd Battalion and Combat Co. in National Highway, and 1st Battalion from the highway to Patag.

    Movements started at 8:00 AM in coordination with the 120th Regt with the initial point at Iponan River. At 10:00 AM, the entire Regiment was at its objective – Cagayan River. The west side of the Cagayan Riverbank was occupied by this Regt without opposition.

    May 11, the 109th regiment met up with the 111th regiment in Carmen while the 120th regiment held Kauswagan. The Japanese numbered 300 at the west bank of the Cagayan River, stationed at Balulang, Carmen Hill, Carmen, Patag, Bulua, and Iponan. 200 of them immediately moved east of Cagayan River. They withdrew passing Balulang, Indahag, Kili-og, Libona and proceeding to Santa Fe. (moved here from above)

    On the morning of the 4th day, 12 May, the 109th regiment was ordered to occupy Cagayan. At 9:00 in the morning, three battalions crossed Cagayan river at three points: 2nd Battalion at Julao-Julao (present-day Consolacion, present-day Maharlika Bridge), 3rd Battalion at the Japanese wooden bridge (linking Yacapin street to Lirio Street in Carmen), and the 1st Battalion at the vicinity of the steel bridge (present-day Ysalina Bridge at Carmen) which was earlier destroyed by retreating USAFEE forces in 1942.
    By 9:30 AM the whole town was occupied by guerrilla forces.

    Defensive points in strategic areas of the town were established to prevent any Japanese counterattack.

    The 2nd Battalion was stationed from Macabalan to Old Provincial Building to Ateneo; while the 1st Battalion with the Combat Co attached was charged with the area from Ateneo de Cagayan to Macasandig to the east bank of Cagayan River.

    Mopping up operations were ordered and after the search, Cagayan was declared clear from enemy occupants.
    The Japanese suffered 21 killed in action, one wounded, with another 80 probable casualties (killed or wounded), while one Corporal Bonifacio Jabonan from the guerrilla forces was wounded.  

    In view thereof, immediate approval of this Bill is sought.
                                                                                                               RUFUS B. RODRIGUEZ
    EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS         )
    REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES    )

    First Regular Session            )

    HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

    Introduced by Representative Rufus B. Rodriguez

    House Bill No. 08677

    AN ACT DECLARING MAY 12 OF EVERY YEAR AS A SPECIAL NONWORKING PUBLIC HOLIDAY IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY TO BE KNOWN AS CAGAYAN DE ORO LIBERATION DAY

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

    SECTION 1. Cagayan de Oro, previously known as Cagayan, Misamis during the Commonwealth Period and Cagayan de Misamis during the Spanish Period was liberated by Filipino Guerrillas from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II on May 12, 1945.

    SEC. 2. May twelve of every year is hereby declared a special non-working public holiday in Cagayan de Oro City to be known as Cagayan de Oro City Liberation Day.
    SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect immediately upon its approval.

    Approved, Lapsed into law on (date) without the President’s signature in accordance with Article VI, Section 27(1) of the Constitution.

    Historical References:
     

    1.History of the Mindanao Guerrillas, 10th Military District, US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) page 91, Retrieved May 19, 2020.
    2.Report of the Commanding General Eight Army on the Mindanao Operation (Victor V).
    3.Reports of General MacArthur, The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume 1, Prepared by his General Staff, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-60005.
    4.Macajalar Bay Action Report-10 May 1945, Commander Task Group 78.3 (Cmdr. Amphibious Group Nine), File A16-3 Serial #00680 dated 31 May 1945.
    5.Philippines Archives Collection, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO)
    National Archives and Records Administration ( NARA ).
    6.Memoirs of the Guerrillas: The Barefoot Army, unpublished manuscript of Cpl Jesus B Ilogon. 
    7.Roster of Troops, Combat Co., HQ Bn, 110th Infantry Regiment, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental as of midnight 30 August 1945. (NARA).
    8.Roster of Officers, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental as of midnight 30 April 1945. (NARA).

     

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