OUR topic today is on people’s participation in historical social change in the Philippines. Hence, we have chosen to reprint selected excerpts on the crucial role of the civilian population in the historic resistance movement of the Negrenses against the Japanese occupation during World War II, as written by Josefina Dalupan Hofileña, a history professor of the Ateneo University in Manila, taken from her article in the publication of the Negros Occidental Historical Council entitled “From Up the Mountains: The Many Faces of World War II in Negros” printed in Bacolod City, 2002. The following are the excerpts selected from the article of Hofileña:

Even prior to the organization of the Civil Government, civilians were already providing the guerillas with food, ammunition, and other much needed supplies... Once the Free Negros Civil Government was established, civilian assistance to the war effort became more organized. Assistance here did not simply mean supplying the soldiers with adequate food, although this was concededly the most important service rendered by the civilians. Women pounded rice, made bandages from rags, rolled cigarettes and operated air warning stations...Young men also volunteered as guerillas, guards, messengers and coast watchers... They reported directions and flight of aircraft, and the number and type of (Japanese) planes and ships.

Special mention must be made of the Volunteer Guards. Though not officially members of guerilla units, they performed functions that were indispensable to the (Negrense) Army. They built guerilla quarters, hauled supplies, made oil from coconut meat, carried messages, and guarded the passes to the evacuation centers and Army headquarters... Civilians also destroyed enemy water systems and telephone lines, and sabotaged railways.

Support to the resistance movement was not only limited to civilians living in the “free areas.” In spite of the many dangers that those in the occupied areas faced, many civilians there provided supplies and information to the resistance movement including, (among others) funds, food, clothing, even arms and ammunition, medicines, stationeries and fuel for radios. Some farmers also placed their produce at the disposal of the guerillas.

Through their actions, the civilian population showed their loyalty to the (Pres. Quezon – led) Commonwealth Government (in exile in the US) and the Free Negrense Resistance Civil Government. (Presidential Staff official), Col. Jesus A. Villamor, himself recognized the heroism of the civilians. In his report to Pres. Quezon, Villamor said, “The things that the people had done, the sacrifices they had endured and the contributions that they had made will undoubtedly go down in Philippine history as one of the most compelling chapters in the story of Filipino participation in this war.”

March 29, 2017 marked the 62nd landing anniversary of the US liberation forces at Green Beach, Pulupandan. The Japanese forces steadily retreated to their last stand in the Silaymountains until they finally surrendered to the US forces in Sta. Rosa, Murcia, on August 30, 1945.

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