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samardeaths

samardeaths

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Published by bcouttie
The Samar campaign by the United States against Filipino independence forces in 1901-1902 was brutal, but are claims that American soldiers killed one in five of the island's population true? This chapter in Bob Couttie's Hang The Dogs: The true tragic history of Balangiga Massacre challenge a long-standing myth.
The Samar campaign by the United States against Filipino independence forces in 1901-1902 was brutal, but are claims that American soldiers killed one in five of the island's population true? This chapter in Bob Couttie's Hang The Dogs: The true tragic history of Balangiga Massacre challenge a long-standing myth.

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Published by: bcouttie on Dec 13, 2011
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Part Five – Searching For Death In Samar – Hang The Dogs 436
Searching For Deaths In Samar 
It was American historian, Kenneth Ray Young, who appears to have beenthe source for the claim that 50,000 people were killed by American forces inSamar. Rarely questioned, it has gained currency in history books, innewspaper articles and on the internet. Yet the figure is demonstrably wrong."The population of Samar dropped from 312,192 to 257,715, a drop of 54,477" wrote Young in 1977
364
. It is a remarkable figure for many reasonsand certainly worth examination.Filipino nationalist historian Teodore Agoncillo took the claim further,50,000 Balangiganons were killed according his book,
 A History of the FilipinoPeople
, now a standard school text in the Philippines.Agoncillo's claim is bunkum and can be nothing else since the figure is tentimes the population of the entire Balangiga municipality at the time. Up tosix post-Balangiga Attack deaths are known: Ana Nacionales, Geronima’smother is said to have been shot in head by American soldiers while trying toavoid a patrol near Tadan
365
. The soldiers are said to have taken gold nuggetsfrom her basket, leaving her to die three days later in the arms of herdaughter, Susanna
366
; Patricio Carilla is reported to have been captured,tortured, then killed; Two seven-year old cousins were surprised by anAmerican patrol to the east of Balangiga, one of the boys was shot dead,
364
Young, Kenneth Ray, Guerrilla Warfare Revisited, Leyte Samar Studies, XI:1(1977), 21-31
365
Tibe-Bonifacio
366
Duran, p119.
 
Part Five – Searching For Death In Samar – Hang The Dogs 437while the other was caught, tossed into the air several times, then left; andthree unidentified fisherman.Reprehensible, certainly, but not
mass
killings of Balangiganons. But whatof Samar itself?No mass graves have surfaced. There was no 'bodycount'. Even the oralhistory is devoid of massacres on a scale large enough to indicate that tensof thousands died
367
. The Historical Data Sheets for the province don'tsupport the claims either.One might suggest that the information was suppressed through somefear-induced conspiracy. Yet from the 1930s to the late 1950s Filipinoparticipants seem to be willing enough to talk to historians and journalistsand otherwise make a record of their attempts to kill Americans, so whyshould they keep silent on American attempts to kill them?Allegations of American brutality were made consistently from the middleperiod of the Philippine American War, Samar, in particular, came in forexamination. After independence large numbers of participants in the warwere only too keen to put pen to paper to claim their part in the conflict. There are someaccounts, but very few. Typical is one mentioned in theData Sheet for Guiuan which tells of a number of farmers, heading out to
367
Rosario Narbong-Cabardo cites an anonymous Filipino participant "Everyonethey found – even children, the old, were killed ". The claim is not supported ininterviews with participants in Arens, Loyola and Abletez, nor by oral tradition amongthis author's interviewees. Narbong-Cabardo, Rosario, A Revolution Unfolds in Samar– Victory in Balangiga, in Resistance and Revolution – Philippine Archipelago in Arms,Reyes Churchill, Bernadita (Ed),National Commission for Culture and the Arts,Committee on Historical Research, Manila, 2002, p100 et seq.
 
Part Five – Searching For Death In Samar – Hang The Dogs 438their fields who were seen by a heavily American patrol. Fearing aggressionfrom the soldiers, the farmers drew their bolos, whereupon the Americanpatrol started shooting. Such accounts are few and far between and,obviously, not on a scale to produce the figure of 50,000. The 50,000 figure usually quoted is remarkable in another way. If true, itwould indicate that each of the 300 US Marines killed an average of 167people, that 10,000people were killed each month, approximately 333 a day,come rain come shine. Common sense tells us that something may just beawry, even if one takes into account the additional numbers of soldiers andFilipino scouts. Young's footnotes reveal that his figure is derived from Blount's 'AmericanOccupation of the Philippines'
368
. Blount gives the 1903 census figure of 222,690
369
, however, not Young's figure.So where did Young get his numbers? They appear on page 383 of Blount's book, and are the population figures for Batangas in 1903. And the312,192 'Samar' figure is the 1899 figure for the same province, Batangas,according to Blount. Right figures, wrong island, in both cases. There was no bodycount in Samar by US authorities, and there are nocontemporary Filipino figures. Nor has there ever been an in-depth study.However, in 2002 a former USAF Officer, Bruce Gordon looked at crudecensus figures for the period from 1884 to 1939, with interesting results
370
.
368
Blount, James H., American Occupation of the Philippines 1898/1912, GPPutnam's & Sons, New York, 1913, also, Filipiniana Reprint Series, Solar Publishing,Manila, Philippines, 1986
369
ibid, page 228.
370
Gordon, Bruce,

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