BALITANG BETERANO: HISTORY OF FIL-AM VETERANS OF WORLD WAR 2

CEBU CITY, January 3, 2005 (STAR) By Col(Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary, Veterans and Military Pension, Associate, PMA ‘44  -  In order to set the records straight, especially for the young generation (son and daughters) and those who have now joined our crusade for full equity settlement of our 60 years of struggle – I am herewith sharing my records (as former Senate Committee Secretary on Veterans and Military Pension Committee) with them (and my fellow cavaliers of the PMA) so they will not fall prey to the present hoard of imposters misrepresenting the crusade for justice and fairness from the U.S. government.

World War II in RP

The defense of the Philippine Commonwealth and American imperial interests in the Philippines – was under the United States’approved provision to defend the Philippines in case of any invasion.

As a matter of fact, as of December 31, 1937 – Joseph Ralston Hayden, who headed the Philippine Study on National Development, there were originally 36 officers, of whom were (Old) Philippine Scouts and 281 enlisted men, out of them were 22 Americans, on duty as military advisers.

Fore-Runners

Take note that the reference to the Philippine Scouts here were the original scouts which was dubbed as Old Philippine Scouts.

“The Commanding General of the Philippine Department was authorized to make available a certain number of officers and men, but may go beyond this number of he thinks circumstances may justify it.” said Hayden.

Commonwealth Act No. 1

The program for carrying out the national defense policy of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was embodied in its National Defense Act otherwise known as Commonwealth Act No. 1 It provided for an army of to elements ,namely :as a regular force of approximately 10,000 men, which included the existing Philippine Constabulary then with a strength of 7,000, and a reserve force that would be augmented each year by approximately 40,000 men who have received 5 and a half months of intensive military training .

Phil. Commonwealth Army

By the end of 1937, two semi-annual classes of trainees approximately 36,601 had been trained and transferred to the national reserve. By 1938, there were 33,247 additional reserves available.

The original military organization included the staff and line units that were essential to the defense-oriented Commonwealth Army of the Philippines. It composed of competently trained officers corps, and provided for a development of the former Philippine Constabulary Academy (PCA) into the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) which turned out approximately 100 officers each year.

Reserve Officers Training Corps

In another approach, there was a compulsory military training of all colleges and university cadets into the Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC) that had advanced courses for selective trainees conducted by the army.

The defense plan called for an Off Shore Patrol unit composed of fast motor torpedo boats for coast defense and Army Air Corps for air defense.

By the Spring of 1941, only two of the Q-boats were reported having been furnished by the United States. And from 40 to 60 bi-planes that had been acquired, most of which were training planes.

Defense Forces

In January 1941, there were already 466 officers and 3,666 enlisted men (EMs) in the regular army and 132,000 men organized into approximately 13 Divisions in the reserves.

The Philippine Constabulary (PC) was consolidated into the Philippine Army (PA) in 1936, had an authorized strength of 350 officers, and 4,500 men.

Invasion of the Philippines

When World War II broke out in December 8, 1941, in the Philippines – following the Japanese Navy sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii – the Philippine’s 10-year defense program was on its 6th year and its military forces then was considered meager and grossly unprepared for a shooting war.

Citizen’s Army

At any rate, the Philippine Commonwealth defense plan was patterned after a “citizen’s soldier system of conscription, under a divided national military districts. Each of which was to train 4,000 men annually, starting with the birth of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935.

Reserve Officers Service Corps

There was a small professional force charged with development of the national army. In remember vividly the existence of a corps of professors, etc., of which my late father, Capt. Roman N. Quesada (PA), was a member of the Reserve Officers Service Staff (ROSS) along with selected professionals (engineers, teachers doctors, lawyers, etc.) that provided such professional services.

Regional Military Cadres

There were 128 military cadres (camps) constructed and trainees were assigned to those nearest to their homes that built up considerable forces.

When war clouds hovered heavily over the Pacific in early 1941, The United States and the Philippine Commonwealth began its eleventh hour struggle to complete enough military defense force.

McArthur’s Master Plan

It was necessary to cut the existing the 10-year basic plan into half. The US. realizing the danger only then started shipping men and equipment to the Philippines. (See: the book, McArthur, paasim pp.103-120)

Gen. Douglas McArthur, who retired in 1935 from his last position as U.S. Chief-of-Staff with the rank of full General accepted an appointment from Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, as Field Marshal and Military Adviser to the Commonwealth Army with U.S. congressional authority as Chief of Military Mission of the U.S. Army Officers to the Philippine Commonwealth.

Sino-Japanese War

In 1941, the Sino-Japanese war raged openly for a year and the Japanese Imperial Army occupied cities and interior towns of China as well as coastal regions.

In July, Japanese troops moved on French Indo-China, President F. D. Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the U.S. likewise cut off Tokyo’s oil supplies. Japanese-American relations sagged to a breaking point. Japan parleyed for a free hand in the Far East.

With the tension increasing, Pres. F. D. Roosevelt, on July 26, 1941 conscripted all able bodied Filipinos under an unnumbered Military Order. Followed by their induction into the United Army in the Far East (USAFFE) and all organized Commonwealth Army Forces were incorporated into the USAFFE, as the single U.S. military defense force or the U.S. flag.

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World War II in the Philippines

World War II broke out in December 8, 1941, and the rest is history.

(See sequel, World War II – epic of the Philippine Defense Bataan and Corregidor. 1941-42.

(Fall of Bataan ad Corregidor April 9, 1942 and May 6, 1942 respectively)

( The Japanese Occupation. and Resistance Movement 1942 t 1945)

(The Liberation of the Philippines 1945 to 1946)

(The Philippine Independence July 4, 1946)

( Post War Years, the Rehabilitation 1946 to the Present)

(Struggle by Fil-Am U.S. Army war veterans in collecting from the U.S. their denied unpaid wartime compensation that would last for over 60 years from 1946 to the present)

Footnote: Articles culled by this author were printed in various Philippine-American publications both in the Philippines and in the Unites States. And also in the internet under the title “Balitang Beterano” for the past 20 years.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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