Thursday, September 5, 2013

Japanese Occupation in the Philippines


The ten-year preparatory period known as the Commonwealth Government was rudely interrupted when the Japanese, looking for territories to accommodate not only their excess population but also their manufacturing goods, started the war in the Pacific.

In 1939, the European war expanded to Second World War. Hence, as early 1940, Japan as the rising power in the Pacific, occupied rich Dutch and British possessions in Southeast Asia. Their preparation for the war, particularly the attack of the Philippines, was planned carefully. On the other hand, the Philippine reserve and regular forces was incorporated into the US Army under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. This combined force was the so called United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE).


                As the crisis mounted in the Pacific, the Philippines girded for war. The military training of the youth was intensified. First aid courses were given in all schools and social clubs. Evacuation centers were established and air raid drills were conducted in Manila and other cities.

                On July 26, 1941, Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Military Adviser to the Commonwealth Government, was called back to active service by President Roosevelt and took command of the newly formed United States Armed Forces in Far East (USAFFE). There were 100,000 Filipino soldiers were inducted into this command whom he had trained in modern warfare.

                At last, the war, which the Filipinos dreaded, had come. The Pacific became an arena of a global war. The people were shock by the news of war.

*December 8, 1941: Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, mightiest US naval base in Hawaii at exactly at 2:30 AM
(American time, 7:55 AM of December 7, 1941)
Japanese air squadrons swept Philippine skies. First point was Davao City at 6:30 AM. Tuguegarao, Baguio, Iba, Tarlac and Clark Field were subsequently raided. The enemy air attacks were most destructive at Clark Field, where the American Air Force was blasted on the ground. Before sunrise of December 9, the city of Manila experienced wartime air raid.


* December 10, 1941: Landed at Aparri and Vigan in Northern Luzon
* December 11, 1941: Legazpi in Southern Luzon
* December 20, 1941: Landed in Davao
* December 22, 1941: Main Japanese Force landed in Lingayen under Lt. Masaharu Homma
* December 26, 1941: Bombed Iloilo City

                Gen. Douglas MacArthur could not stop the enemy landings because his Air Force had been destroyed on the first day of the war and he lacked naval support after the withdrawal of Admiral Thomas Hart’s fleet to the south. The enemy dominated both air and sea.
                While the invading Japanese were landing at various points at the archipelago, their planes were busy bombing the military objectives and the civilian evacuation centers. The war situation began to loom ominously hopeless for the USAFFE. General Homma’s forces were closing in on Manila in a pincer movement from the north and south. Realizing the futility of defending Manila, MacArthur ordered the transfer of valuable military supplies to Corregidor and Bataan and those that could not be moved were destroyed.

*December 23, 1941: General MacArthur put into effect the secret military plan, WPO-3 (War Plan Orange-3) which provided the withdrawal of all USAFFE forces to Bataan peninsula, last stand against the enemy. Hence, Northern USAFFE army under Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright and Southern army under Gen. Albert M. Jones began to retreat to Bataan.

*December 24, 1941: Quezon, accompanied by his family and War Cabinet, moved to Corregidor, where the Commonwealth Government was transferred. He left Secretary Jorge B. Vargas, Justice Jose P. Laurel and other top officials to look after the people’s welfare.

*December 26, 1941: General MacArthur proclaimed Manila as an “Open City” in order to save it and its inhabitants from the ravages of the war.

* December 30, 1941: 2nd inaugural ceremonies of the Commonwealth were held. Outside the tunnel of Corregidor, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos administered the oath of office to President Quezon and Vice-President OsmeƱa.

* January 2, 1942: Japanese invaders entered Manila.

* February 20, 1942: Quezon and company left Corregidor by submarine. Successfully slipped through the Japanese blockade and reached Panay, he and his party went to Negros, then to Mindanao and reached Australia by plane. After a brief rest, he reached San Francisco on May 8, 1942 to Washington.


*Europe-First Policy: agreed by the United States and Great Britain but had demoralization effect on Bataan defenders, for without arms, ammunition and food USAFE was about to disintegrate under the pressure of continued enemy attacks

*March 11, 1942: MacArthur, his family, military staff and two naval officers left Corregidor and escaped to Australia. On March 17, 1942, immediately after landing at Bachelor Field, he told the world “I came through and I shall return.

*Gen. Jonathan Wainwright: succeeded MacArthur as commander of USAFFE to USIP (United States Forces in the Philippines) in Corregidor

*April 3, 1942: General Homma unleashed the full fury of an all-out Japanese offensive in Bataan

*April 9, 1942: Gen. Edward King, commander of Bataan forces surrendered (76,000 USAFFE forces including 6,600 Filipino forces)

*April 10, 1942 (“Infamous Death March”): Surrendered Filipino-American troops were forced to march for five days from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, and transported by railway to concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac (56,000 survivors, 27,000 died in camp)

*May 6, 1942: the full complete fall of the Philippines to Japanese command as Corregidor fell. Nearly 12,000 Fil-American soldiers were taken prisoner.

          On January 3, 1942, Gen. Homma created the Military Administration for the purpose of supervising the political, economic and cultural affairs of the conquered land, headed by a Director General. Later, they brought a plan for the puppet government to be composed of prominent Filipinos. Hence, on January 8, 1942, they order Jorge B. Vargas, then Mayor of City of Greater Manila to “organize the Administrative Constitution as soon as possible.”

          On the same day, the Philippine Executive Commission was established by the Japanese High Command, composed of Mr. Vargas as Chairman with other 6 Filipino department secretaries, namely Benigno S. Aquino (Commissioner of the Interior), Antonio de las Alas (Finance), Jose P. Laurel (Justice), Rafael Alunan (Agriculture and Commerce), Claro M. Recto (Education, Health and Public Welfare) and QuintinParedes (Public Works and Communication).

* January 21, 1941: Premier Hideki Tojyo addressed before the Japanese Imperial Diet said “Japan will gladly grant the Philippines its independence so long as it cooperates and recognizes Japan’s program of establishing a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”


* June 19, 1943:KALIBAPI, only political party that time, held a convention and “elected” 20 members of Preparatory Commission for Philippine Independence (PCPI, Please Cancel Philippine Independence)as in-charge of framing a constitution for the forthcoming “Republic”

* September 4, 1943: Constitution was brought to the public

* September 7, 1943: Ratification of the Japanese-sponsored Constitution (Preamble and twelve articles)

* October 14, 1943: the inauguration of the Second Philippine republic, however, this “Puppet Republic” was not taken seriously by the people as well as the international community. (Laurel and the rest of Filipino leaders served as puppet of the Japanese authorities’ for real executive and legislative powers lay on the hands of the Japanese military leaders.)


*KALIBAPI meant KapisananngPaglilingkodsaBagongPilipinas, chief organ of Japanese propaganda. It was officially created by Chairman Vargas on December 4, 1942. Its aims were to:
1.       Unify the Filipinos in order to extend positive cooperation to the Japanese military Administration in the reconstruction of the country.
2.       To invigorate in the people Oriental values such as faith, self-reliance, self-sacrifice and hardwork.
3.       All Filipinos 18 years old above were encouraged to join the organization while government employees were required to be part of it.

A despicable phenomenon during the Japanese occupation in the country was the existence of renegade Filipinos who collaborated with the Japanese invaders and aided them in oppressing their own compatriots and fighting for Japanese against the guerillas and Allied forces.

1.       Ganaps: formerly pro-Japanese Sakdalistas headed by Benigno Ramos, founder of Sakdal Party
2.       Palaaks: members of so-called Bamboo Army organized in 1943 by Japanese army
3.       U.N.:  United Nippon was a military organization drawn from the Ganap party
4.       Pampars: Notorious band of Filipino collaborators named PambansangPag-asangmgaAnakni Rizal in Pililla, Rizal in 1943 under Colonel CristinoPendon
5.       MAKAPILI meant Makabayan:KatiounanngmgaPilipino which was formally organized on 8 December 1944 with Sakdal leader Benigno Ramos, Pio Duran and ArtemioRicarte as founding leaders. The organization was a last ditch attempt to fulfill the obligations of the Philippines in the pact of alliance with Japan by collaborating unreservedly the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy.

*Means of production were under the control of the Japanese
*Few banks were allowed to operate
*Buying and selling became the source of income by the Filipinos
*Mickey Mouse Money was circulated that provoked inflation in such alarming situation
*Food shortage was alarming
*Outbreak of epidemics were prevalent such as dysentery, malaria and TB causind death of many people
* People live in constant fear and apprehension
* Five mortal enemies of Filipinos: Japanese militaries, diseases, guerillas, hunger and Japanese-paid Filipinos
* “Kura” most feared word (inward wave of hand meant “come here!” signified disaster and outward wave of hand meant “dismiss” or “scram”)
* Japanese encouraged the development of Tagalog and gave it an impetus never before witnessed.
* Education Re-orientation: as embodied in Japanese education policy, its basic points were:
                1. Propagation of Filipino culture
                2. Dissemination of the principle of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
                3. Spiritual rejuvenation of the Filipinos
                4. Teaching and propagation of Niponggo
                5. Diffusion of vocational and elementary education
                6. Promotion of love of labor

The period of the Japanese occupation lasting three years (1942-1945) was of the darkest interludes in the history of the Philippines. Under the guise of emancipating the Philippines from the bondage to Western imperialism, Japan brought her within the orbit of its so-called “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, but instead the rich Philippine natural resources were plundered, innumerable atrocities were inflicted on the Filipinos and their education and culture were extremely regimented.  

1 comment:

  1. What happened to the collaborators after the U.S. liberated the Philippines from the Japanese occupation. What happened to Benigno Aquino Sr.?


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