Sangil: The surrender of Taruc and its aftermath (3rd in the series)

LUIS Taruc, who in the latter years become the Huk supremo, together with some progressives, were elected to congressmen in their respective districts and opposed the proposed bill on Parity rights. President Roxas masterminded the unseating of the said lawmakers. Taruc and company went to the hills and their armies fought a battle of liberation where constant fighting and retaliatory actions between the Huks and government forces resulted to widespread destruction to property and loss of life. The government then outlawed the Huk organization by a Roxas proclamation in 1948.he died in Clark Field of heart attack in the same year.

The years between 1948 and 1952 saw Roxas’ successor, Elpidio Quirino conferring the Huk chieftain an offer of amnesty. Taruc’s resumption of his congressional seat. Soon the Huk politburo will be dismantled with the appointment of Zambales Congressman Ramon Magsaysay as Quirino,s defense secretary. The arrest and jailing of the top HMB leaders decimated their ranks, and Taruc on May 1954 ,with the young Benigno Aquino Jr. of Tarlac who was reporter for Daily Mirror as emissary surrendered to the government.

Ten years later, the HMB lost its last brain with the capture of Dr. Jesus Lava on Leoncio street in Sampaloc, Manila ending a glorious but bloody era in the insurgency movement. In the meantime, ragtag Huk bands asserted their ‘sovereignty’ over their respective territories, with Central Luzon as the prized realm and the principal battle operations. The backbone was broken but the organizational joints were still at work.

In the late sixties, Angeles City was tagged by the military as the nerve center of the Huk movement. An invisible government was formed and its mysterious leaders directed the affairs of local government as well as most police forces. The military took punitive actions against insurgents whose backbone refused to be broken for quite a time. The Philippine Congress conducted a series of but to no avail. The HMB under the leadership of Faustino Del Mundo alias Commander Sumulong and Pedro Taruc alias Commander Boyong had its pervasive tentacles all over Central Luzon region with a tighter and effective grip on the city.

The HMB was the offspring of the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap), a group formed from the merger of the Socialist Party of the Philippines of Pedro Abad Santos and the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) of Crisanto Evangelista.

After the surrender of Luis Taruc resulted in temporary peace, but in no time at all, the remnants reorganized once again. Slowly but surely they replenished human and battle resources and began hitting opponents-and making headlines. The late 50s to the early 60s was rife with social unrest and local history was soaked in the blood of those who perished in the confrontation.

The mantle of political leadership taken over by Luis uncle, Pedro Taruc, veteran commanders such as Del Mundo, Cesario Manarang and Benjamin Hizon rose to become dreaded names in dissident movement.

(The next part will feature the rise to power of Faustino Del Mundo alias Commander Sumulong)

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