Honors set for Hukbalahap Supremo’s 100th birth anniv

SAN LUIS, Pampanga -- Local officials here along with the Center for Kapampangan Studies will mark the 100 birth anniversary of patriot Luis Taruc, the head of the Japanese resistance movement Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap) on June 21.

The Center for Kapampangan Studies, in its Facebook page, said even President Benigno Aquino III “joins the Filipino people in honoring Kapampangan patriot.”

The President's wreath will be presented by officers of the National Historical Commission at the Luis Taruc Freedom Park here and will be followed by ceremonies around 8:30 a.m.

Taruc is a native of San Luis town. He figured prominently during the agrarian unrest of the 1930s and the acknowledged leader of the Hukbalahap or Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon.

During World War II, Taruc led the Hukbalahap in guerrilla operations against the Japanese occupiers of the Philippines.

He was also a political figure having been elected to the Philippine House of Representatives in 1946 as a member of the Democratic Alliance.

They were barred from office and eventually went underground in 1946 following failed negotiations with President Manuel Roxas. Failed negotiations with succeeding administrations led to the re-establishment of the Huk movement.

Taruc surrendered unconditionally to the government on May 17, 1954, after four months of negotiations with then news reporter Benigno Aquino, Jr., and was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment. He was pardoned on September 11, 1968 by President Ferdinand Marcos.

After his release he continued his “struggle on behalf of the poor farmers, encouraged local and national leaders to push for changes in relations between landlord and farm workers and the equitable distribution of farm lands.”

Taruc died on May 4, 2005 of a heart attack at St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City at the age of 91.

Taruc was said to have written “Born of the People,” which was said to be Nelson Mandela's reference on guerrilla warfare when he was the commander in chief of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

“Luis Taruc fought to regain freedom from the invading Japanese during World War II and then fought for the emancipation of farmers and tenants from a centuries-old feudal system that kept them overworked and underpaid. He spent his remaining years fighting for the benefits of war veterans. He was a true patriot and revolutionary,” the Center for Kapampangan Studies added.
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