From owner-seasia-l@LIST.MSU.EDU Wed Nov 14 06:19:29 2001
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 17:08:51 -1000
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: Vincent K Pollard <pollard@HAWAII.EDU>
Subject: PH: Another WWII Filipino military veteran dies without benefits

Veterans of the guerilla war against Japan

By Vincent K Pollard, 13 November 2001

On 8 December 1941, Japan attacked the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The Philippines was already slated for constitutional independence and administered the local government. Although President Manuel Quezon had sought neutrality at one point, the United States had control over foreign policy.

After Japan's attack, Filipino elites (including many of those elected in the November 1941) were not in discord. Some left with U.S. General MacArthur for Australia and then for Washington, D.C. there President Quezon died on 1 August 1944, just two and a half months before the U.S. reinvasion of 20 October 1944. Others worked within what became the Japan-Sponsored Second Republic of the Philippines duriing 1943-1944.

However, in the agricultrual and mountainous countryside, a variety of anti-Japan guerrilla movements sprung up. Some were led by the leftwing Hukbo ng Magpagpalaya ng Bayan sa Hapon (Anti-Japanese National Liberation Army or Huks for short). Others were members of the United States Forces in the Far East. Still others even took up a life of buy-and-sell rackets and banditry during the chaotic wartime conditions.

The Japanese may have expected a warmer reception for the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere than they received. However, estimated 20,000 or more Japanese soldiers were killed by Filipino guerrillas during three-plus years of fighting. By way of comparison, that is 20 times greater than the number of Japanese military and administrative personnel killed by Korean partisans during a period of colonialism more than ten times longer.

Since 1945, many Filipino veterans of the USAFFE and other anti-Japan guerrillas and their families waited for veterans benefits from the period when the Philippines was a colony of the United States. While some have received benefits, a dwindling number of survivors are still waiting emmpty-handed.