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Japanese occupation of the Philippines

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The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of
Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II.
The invasion of the Philippines started on December 8, 1941, ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As at Pearl
Harbor, American aircraft were severely damaged in the initial Japanese attack. Lacking air cover, the
American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941. General Douglas
MacArthur escaped Corregidor on the night of March 11, 1942 for Australia, 4,000 km away. The 76,000 starving
and sick American and Filipino defenders on Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942, and were forced to endure the
infamous Bataan Death March on which 7,00010,000 died or were murdered. The 13,000 survivors on Corregidor
surrendered on May 6.
Japan occupied the Philippines for over three years, until the surrender of Japan. A highly effective guerilla
campaign by Philippine resistance forces controlled sixty percent of the islands, mostly jungle and mountain areas.
MacArthur supplied them by submarine, and sent reinforcements and officers. Filipinos remained loyal to the United
States, partly because of the American guarantee of independence, and also because the Japanese had pressed
large numbers of Filipinos into work details and even put young Filipino women into brothels.
[1]

General MacArthur kept his promise to return to the Philippines on October 20, 1944. Thelandings on the island of
Leyte were accomplished by a force of 700 vessels and 174,000 men. Through December 1944, the islands
of Leyte and Mindoro were cleared of Japanese soldiers. During the campaign, the Imperial Japanese
Army conducted a suicidal defense of the islands. Cities such as Manila were reduced to rubble. Between 500,000
and 1,000,000 Filipinos died during the occupation.
Background
Japan launched an attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after their attack on Pearl
Harbor.
[2]
Initial aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops both north and south
of Manila.
[3]
The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas
MacArthur, who had been recalled to active duty in the United States Army earlier in the year and was designated
commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region.
[4]
The aircraft of his command were
destroyed; the naval forces were ordered to leave; and because of the circumstances in the Pacific region,
reinforcement and resupply of his ground forces were impossible.
[5]
Under the pressure of superior numbers, the
defending forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila
Bay.
[6]
Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction,
[7]
was occupied by the Japanese on January 2,
1942.
[8]

The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of U.S.-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April
1942 and on Corregidor in May.
[9]
Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Bataan were
forced to undertake the infamous "Bataan Death March" to a prison camp 105 kilometers to the north.
[9]
Thousands
of men, weakened by disease and malnutrition and treated harshly by their captors, died before reaching their
destination.
[10]
Quezon andOsmea had accompanied the troops to Corregidor and later left for the United States,
where they set up agovernment-in-exile.
[11]
MacArthur was ordered to Australia, where he started to plan for a return
to the Philippines.
[12]

The occupation
The Japanese military authorities immediately began organizing a new government structure in the Philippines.
Although the Japanese had promised independence for the islands after occupation, they initially organized
aCouncil of State through which they directed civil affairs until October 1943, when they declared the Philippines an
independent republic.
[13]
Most of the Philippine elite, with a few notable exceptions, served under the
Japanese.
[14]
The puppet republic was headed by President Jos P. Laurel.
[15]
Philippine collaboration in puppet
government began under Jorge B. Vargas, who was originally appointed by Quezon as the mayor of Greater
Manila before Quezon departed Manila.
[16]
The only political party allowed during the occupation was the Japanese-
organized KALIBAPI.
[17]
During the occupation, most Filipinos remained loyal to the United States,
[18]
and war
crimes committed by forces of the Empire of Japan against surrendered Allied forces,
[19]
and civilians were
documented.
[20][21]

Resistance
Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by active and successful underground and guerrilla activity
that increased over the years which eventually covered a large portion of the country. Opposing these guerrillas
were a Japanese-formed Bureau of Constabulary (later taking the name of the old Constabulary during theSecond
Republic),
[22][23]
Kempeitai,
[22]
and the Makapili.
[24]
Postwar investigations showed that about 260,000 people were in
guerrilla organizations and that members of the anti-Japanese underground were even more numerous. Such was
their effectiveness that by the end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces.
[25]

The Philippine guerrilla movement continued to grow, in spite of Japanese campaigns against them. Throughout
Luzon and the southern islands, Filipinos joined various groups and vowed to fight the Japanese. The commanders
of these groups made contact with one another, argued about who was in charge of what territory, and began to
formulate plans to assist the return of American forces to the islands. They gathered important intelligence
information and smuggled it out to the U.S. Army, a process that sometimes took months. General MacArthur
formed a clandestine operation to support the guerrillas. He had Lieutenant Commander Charles "Chick"
Parsons smuggle guns, radios and supplies to them by submarine. The guerrilla forces, in turn, built up their stashes
of arms and explosives and made plans to assist MacArthur's invasion by sabotaging Japanese communications
lines and attacking Japanese forces from the rear.
[26]

Various guerrilla forces formed throughout the archipelago, ranging from groups of U.S. Army Forces Far
East(USAFFE) forces who refused to surrender to local militia initially organized to combat banditry brought about
by disorder caused by the invasion.
[27]
Several islands in the Visayas region had guerrilla forces led by Filipino
officers, such as Colonel Macario Peralta in Panay,
[27][28]
Major Ismael Ingeniero in Bohol,
[27][29]
and CaptainSalvador
Abcede in Negros.
[27][30]
The island of Mindanao, being farthest from the center of Japanese occupation, had 38,000
guerrillas who were eventually consolidated under the command of American civil engineer Colonel Wendell
Fertig.
[27]

One resistance group in the Central Luzon area was known as the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon),
or the People's Anti-Japanese Army, organized in early 1942 under the leadership of Luis Taruc, a communist party
member since 1939. The Huks armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over portions
of Luzon.
[31]
However, guerrilla activities on Luzon were hampered due to the heavy Japanese presence and
infighting between the various groups,
[32]
including Hukbalahap troops attacking American-led guerrilla units.
[33][34]

Lack of equipment, difficult terrain and undeveloped infrastructure made coordination of these groups nearly
impossible, and for several months in 1942, all contact was lost with Philippine resistance forces. Communications
were restored in November 1942 when the reformed Philippine 61st Division on Panay island, led by Colonel
Macario Peralta, was able to establish radio contact with the USAFFE command in Australia. This enabled the
forwarding of intelligence regarding Japanese forces in the Philippines to SWPA command, as well as consolidating
the once sporadic guerrilla activities and allowing the guerrillas to help in the war effort.
[27]
Among the signal units of
Col Peralta were the 61 Signal Company manned by 2Lt Ludovico Arroyo Baas, which was attached to forces of
the 6th Military Division, stationed in Passi, Iloilo, under the command of Captain Eliseo Espia; and the 64th Signal
Company of the same Military Division, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Cesar Hechanova, to which 2nd
Lieutant Baas was given the responsibility sometime later.
[35][disputed discuss][undue weight? discuss]

Increasing amounts of supplies and radios were delivered by submarine to aid the guerrilla effort. By the time of the
Leyte invasion, four submarines were dedicated exclusively to the delivery of supplies.
[27]

Other guerrilla units were attached to the SWPA, and were active throughout the archipelago. Some of these units
were organized or directly connected to pre-surrender units ordered to mount guerrilla actions. An example of this
was Troop C,26th Cavalry.
[36][37][38]
Other guerrilla units were made up of former Philippine Army and Philippine
Scouts soldiers who had been released from POW camps by the Japanese.
[39][40]
Others were combined units of
Americans, military and civilian, who had never surrendered or had escaped after surrendering, and Filipinos,
Christians and Moros, who had initially formed their own small units. Colonel Wendell Fertig organized such a group
on Mindanao that not only effectively resisted the Japanese, but formed a complete government that often operated
in the open throughout the island. Some guerrilla units would later be assisted by American submarines which
delivered supplies,
[41]
evacuate refugees and injured,
[42]
as well as inserted individuals and whole units,
[43]
such as
the 5217th Reconnaissance Battalion,
[44]
andAlamo Scouts.
[44]

By the end of the war, some 277 separate guerrilla units, made up of some 260,715 individuals, fought in the
resistance movement.
[45]
Select units of the resistance would go on to be reorganized and equipped as units of the
Philippine Army and Constabulary.
[46]

The Moro Muslims of Mindanao and Sulu took up arms and fought hard against the Japanese invasion and helped
defeat the Japanese occupation.
[47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54]
Some of the Moros had been fighting the Americans just
weeks before the Japanese invaded and proceeded to direct their fight against the new invaders as
well.
[55][56]
Sultan Jainal Abirin II of Sulu opposed the Japanese invasion.
[57][58]

The Moro juramentados performed suicide attacks against Japanese troops.
[59]
The Japanese were among several
enemies the Moros juramentados launched suicide attacks against, the others being the Spanish, Americans and
Filipinos, while the Moros did not ever attack the Chinese since the Chinese were not considered enemies of the
Moro people.
[60][61][62][63][64]
The Japanese responded to these suicide attacks by massacring all the relatives of the
attacker.
[65]

An American POW Herbert Zincke recalled in his secret diary that the Japanese guarding him and other prisoners
were scared of the Moro warriors and tried to keep as far away from them as possible to avoid getting
attacked.
[66]
The American First Lieutenant Mel Amler recalled that some of the Moros would sometimes attack and
stab Japanese, Filipino, and Americans, fighting all of them at once.
[67][68][69]
Neither the Moros nor the Japanese
respected the Geneva Convention in regards to not attacking medics, the Moros out of ignorance and the Japanese
because they did not sign the treaty.
[70]
American General Robert L. Eichelberger saw a Japanese soldier who was
captured by the Moros and feared being tortured at their hands, and he wanted Eichelberger to kill him to stop it
from happening.
[71]
The American POW Victor L. Mapes saw Japanese troops getting ambushed and slaughtered
by Moro fighters with krisblades.
[72][73]
The Moros were skilled at melee combat, with some Moros deliberately
impaling their own shoulder on Japanese bayonets and grabbing it to make it stay in place while killing the
Japanese soldier using a bayonet or bolo with their other hand.
[74][75][76][77][78][79]

Anti-Japanese Moro units like the Maranao Militia were led by Salipada Pendatun,
[59]
another anti-Japanese Moro
unit, the Moro-Bolo Battalion was led by Datu Gumbay Piang, consisting of about 20,000 men.
[80][81][82]
Gumbay
Piang's Cotabato Moros used Bolo knives to fight the Japanese,
[83][84][85]
and swore that they would "fight to the
last".
[86][87]
An oath was sworn by Alonto, the Sultan of Ramain, and 10,000 other Moros in Lanao that they would
fight to drive the Japanese out, and sent in a message that said "We have prepared our bladed weapons because
we lack firearms, and with sharp kris, barong, campilan, tabas and spear we will attack or defend as
ordered,"
[88][89][90][91][92][93]
"and no mercy asked."
[94]
Alonto said "all fighting men of Lanao would like to sign their
names, but they are too many".
[95]
They promised to fight to the death against the Japanese and "swore upon the
Koran".
[96]
The Japanese demanded that all the natives in the Philippines hand over any implement which was a
weapon or could be utilized as a weapon, including Bolo knives, and the Japanese may have issued this order
because of the Moro pledge to fight the Japanese since the Moros were skilled with bladed weapons.
[97][98][99]
The
American Captain Edward Kraus recommended Moro fighters for a suggested plan to capture an airbase in Lake
Lanao for eventually driving the Japanese occupiers out of the Philippines.
[100]

Davao in Mindanao had a large population of Japanese immigrants who acted as a fifth column, welcoming the
Japanese invaders during World War II. These Japanese were hated by the Moros and disliked by the
Chinese.
[101][102]
The Moros were judged as "fully capable of dealing with Japanese fifth columnists and invaders
alike."
[103]
The Moros were to fight the Japanese invaders when they landed at Davao on
Mindanao.
[104][105][106][107][108][109]
The Japanese went back to their ships at night to sleep since the Moros struck so
much fear into them, even though the Moros were outnumbered by the Japanese.
[110][111][112][113][114][115][116]

It was reported that most of Mindanao was dominated by Moro, Filipino, and American guerilla forces during the
Japanese occupation.
[117]
The Moros had cleared the Japanese out from the Muslim areas of Mindanao six months
before America returned to liberate the Philippines at the Battle of Leyte.
[118][119]
The Moros then joined in on the
battle to liberate the rest of Mindanao from the Japanese in 1945.
[120][121][122]

According to Nur Misuari's Moro National Liberation Front faction's website, the Japanese "exhibited tyranny, cruelty
and inhumanity at its lowest level", and "had to suffer their worst defeat and highest death mortality at the hands of
the Bangsamoro freedom fighters".
[123]

A Muslim cleric from the Sulu in the Philippines, Imam Marajukim, helped supply Chinese and Suluk Muslim
guerillas under Albert Kwok on British Borneo who were fighting the Japanese.
[124][125][126][127][128]
Suluks were
described as "strongly disposed to be anti-Japanese".
[129][130]
Imam Marajukim helped the Chinese secure the
indigenous participation in the uprising by Panglima Ali's Suluks, Mantanni and Danawan (Dinawan) islands
Binadan inhabitants and Oudar Islanders under Orang Tuah Arshad.
[131]

The Imperial Japanese Navy medic Akira Makino revealed that while he was stationed
on Mindanao at Zamboanga from December 1944 to February 1945, he and other Japanese troops in his unit killed
Moro Muslim prisoners by beheading or performed vivisections on them, cutting them open while they were alive to
study their internal organs like their stomachs, and the Japanese also forced the Moros to dig their own
graves.
[132][133][134][135][136]

Some of the weapons used by the Moros against the Japanese were again used by them in the Moro insurgency in
the Philippines.
[137]


End of the occupation
When General MacArthur returned to the Philippines with his army in late 1944, he was well supplied with
information; it is said that by the time MacArthur returned, he knew what every Japanese lieutenant ate for breakfast
and where he had his hair cut. But the return was not easy. The Japanese Imperial General Staff decided to make
the Philippines their final line of defense, and to stop the American advance toward Japan. They sent every
available soldier, airplane, and naval vessel to the defense of the Philippines. The Kamikaze corps was created
specifically to defend the Philippines. The Battle of Leyte Gulf ended in disaster for the Japanese and was the
biggest naval battle of World War II. The campaign to re-take the Philippines was the bloodiest campaign of the
Pacific War. Intelligence information gathered by the guerrillas averted a disasterthey revealed the plans of
Japanese General Yamashita to trap MacArthur's army, and they led the liberating soldiers to the Japanese
fortifications.
[26]

MacArthur's Allied forces landed on the island of Leyte on October 20, 1944, accompanied by Osmea, who had
succeeded to the commonwealth presidency upon the death of Quezon on August 1, 1944. Landings then followed
on the island of Mindoro and around Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was
initiated. TheCommonwealth of the Philippines was restored. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of
northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance. The
Philippine Commonwealth troops and the recognized guerrilla fighter units rose up everywhere for the final
offensive.
[138]
Filipino guerrillas also played a large role during the liberation. One guerrilla unit came to substitute for
a regularly constituted American division, and other guerrilla forces ofbattalion and regimental size supplemented
the efforts of the U.S. Army units. Moreover, the loyal and willing Filipino population immeasurably eased the
problems of supply, construction and civil administration and furthermore eased the task of Allied forces in
recapturing the country.
[139][140]

Fighting continued until Japan's formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of
life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated one million Filipinos had been
killed from all causes; of these 131,028 were listed as killed in seventy-two war crimeevents.
[141]
U.S. casualties
were 10,380 dead and 36,550 wounded; Japanese dead were 255,795.
[141]




Japanese occupation and World War II (194145)
A few hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched air raids in
several cities and US military installations in the Philippines on December 8, and on December 10, the first
Japanese troops landed in Northern Luzon. Filipino pilot Captain Jess A. Villamor, leading a flight of three P-
26 "Peashooter" fighters of the 6th Pursuit Squadron, distinguished himself by attacking two enemy formations of 27
planes each and downing a much-superior Japanese Zero, for which he was awarded the U.S. Distinguished
Service Cross. The two other planes in that flight, flown by LieutenantsCsar Basa and Geronimo Aclan were shot
down.
[109]

General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), was forced
to retreat to Bataan. Manila was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. The fall of Bataan was on April 9,
1942 with Corregidor Island, at the mouth of Manila Bay, surrendering on May 6.
[110]

The Commonwealth government by then had exiled itself to Washington, DC, upon the invitation of President
Roosevelt; however many politicians stayed behind and collaborated with the occupying Japanese. The Philippine
Army continued to fight the Japanese in a guerrilla war and were considered auxiliary units of the United States
Army. Several Philippine military awards, such as the Philippine Defense Medal, Independence Medal,
and Liberation Medal, were awarded to both the United States and Philippine Armed Forces.
As the Japanese forces advanced, Manila was declared an open city to prevent it from destruction, meanwhile, the
government was moved to Corregidor. In March 1942, General MacArthur and President Quezon fled the country.
Guerrilla units harassed the Japanese when they could, and on Luzon native resistance was strong enough that the
Japanese never did get control of a large part of the island. It was mostly the Huks who were annihilating the
Japanese while the USAFFE forces were preserving themselves. Before MacArthur came back, the effectiveness of
the guerilla movement had decimated the control of Japan -limited to only 12 out of the 48 provinces. In October
1944, MacArthur had gathered enough additional troops and supplies to begin the retaking of the Philippines,
landing with Sergio Osmea who had assumed the Presidency after Quezon's death. The battles entailed long
fierce fighting; some of the Japanese continued to fight until the official surrender of the Empire of Japan on
September 2, 1945.
[111]

After their landing, Filipino and American forces also undertook measures to suppress the Huk movement, which
was originally founded to fight the Japanese Occupation. The Filipino and American forces removed local Huk
governments and imprisoned many high-ranking members of the Philippine Communist Party. While these incidents
happened, there was still fighting against the Japanese forces and, despite the American and Philippine measures
against the Huk, they still supported American and Filipino soldiers in the fight against the Japanese.
Over a million Filipinos had been killed in the war, and many towns and cities, including Manila, were left in ruins.
Independence (1946)[edit]
Philippine independence came on July 4, 1946, with the signing of the Treaty of Manila between the governments of
the United States and the Philippines. The treaty provided for the recognition of the independence of the Republic of
the Philippines and the relinquishment of American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands.
[112]
From 1946 to 1961,
Independence Day was observed on July 4. On 12 May 1962, President Macapagal issued Presidential
Proclamation No. 28, proclaiming Tuesday, June 12, 1962 as a special public holiday throughout the
Philippines.
[113][114]
In 1964, Republic Act No. 4166 changed the date of Independence Day from July 4 to June 12
and renamed the July 4 holiday as Philippine Republic Day.
[115]

World War II veteran benefits[edit]
During World War II, over 200,000 Filipinos fought in defense of the United States against the Japanese in the
Pacific theater of military operations, where more than half died. As a commonwealth of the United States before
and during the war, Filipinos were legally American nationals. With American nationality, Filipinos were promised all
the benefits afforded to those serving in the armed forces of the United States.
[116]
In 1946, Congress passed
the Rescission Act(38 U.S.C. 107) which stripped Filipinos of the benefits they were promised.
[116]

Since the passage of the Rescission Act, many Filipino veterans have traveled to the United States to lobby
Congress for the benefits promised to them for their service and sacrifice. Over 30,000 of such veterans live in the
United States today, with most being United States citizens. Sociologists introduced the phrase "Second Class
Veterans" to describe the plight of these Filipino Americans. Beginning in 1993, numerous bills titled Filipino
Veterans Fairness Act were introduced in Congress to return the benefits taken away from these veterans, only to
die in committee. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law on February 17, 2009,
included provisions to pay benefits to the 15,000 remaining veterans.
[117]

On January 6, 2011 Jackie Speier (D-CA), U.S. Representative for California's 12th congressional district, serving
since 2008, introduced a bill seeking to make Filipino WW-II veterans eligible for the same benefits available to U.S.
veterans. In a news conference to outline the bill, Speier estimated that approximately 50,000 Filipino veterans
survive.
[118][119]