Issue of September 8, 2019
Mt. Province
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PVAO to correct ‘erroneous’ Yamashita surrender story
by PNA release

The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) wants erroneous entries on the supposed “surrender” of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita corrected, using an original document from soldiers during World War II.

“Yamashita did not surrender, he was captured by the operatives from the USAFIP-NL (United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon),” retired Maj. Gen. Restituto Aguilar, chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division of the PVAO, said.

He said the PVAO has copies of the original document from the United States National Archives and Records Administration in Virginia.

A PVAO team obtained the copies of the document submitted by the veterans to the Americans, for their recognition, Aguilar said.

“The forces of Yamashita were really cornered,” Aguilar said.

He said out of the 80,000 Japanese troops who retreated to Northern Luzon, about 50,000 were killed mostly by Filipino guerillas.

Mga 30,000 na lang ang nag-surrender. This is a fact that was never written really by our historians,” Aguilar said, adding that this fact was part of the document obtained from the U.S. library.

Aguilar said after the war, the documents of the guerillas were taken by the Americans for purposes of their recognition.

“The Filipino guerillas in the country surrendered all their documents to prove their services during the war – forms, roster of troops, after battle reports, everything including diaries. If there are photographs, they surrendered everything,” Aguilar said.

After the war, Aguilar said it was the Americans that wrote the history and selected information which they wanted from the document.

On the other hand, the Filipinos only have stories from memory to tell but have no reference until more than 70 years after, he said.

“Fortunately, after 70 years, PVAO sent a team to the U.S. national archives and records administration in Virginia and we were able to scan the original document and it is already available in the internet, in our server for the reference of any Filipino who wants to write the history based on facts,” Aguilar said.

“The rectification of erroneous entries in our history can be done by ordinary Filipinos now that the document is already available to any writer who would interpret for us the events that were documented during the war by the guerillas,” he added.

A story published by the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera in September 2018 quoted: “Pedro Indunan who was then part of the Land Communications Company detail said ‘It was Company A of the 11th Infantry attached to 121 who surrounded Yamashita in a hill in Mt. Napulawan which locals call Nabigihan Hill.”

This is a place in Hungduan, Ifugao which, according to accounts, was the exact place where Filipino guerillas captured Yamashita. He was then turned over to the Americans on the way to Kiangan, Ifugao, where the Yamashita surrender shrine stands at present.

On Sept. 2, 1945, the World War II ended as Yamashita was captured and then ferried to Bagabag airport in Nueva Vizcaya, about one hour and 30 minutes away by vehicle from the shrine. From there, he was flown to Baguio for the Sept. 3 signing of the “Instrument of Surrender.”

Ifugao province had been celebrating Victory Day for several years to remember the gallantry of the Filipino veterans who fought for the country’s liberation from the Japanese.

“We are laying the foundation for the Victory week. This is our stepping stone that will lead us to the national commemoration,” Aguilar said.

He said they are looking for a legislator who would sponsor their draft bill making Sept. 2 and 3 a special or a regular holiday to remind Filipinos of the events that happened in Ifugao and Baguio, which ended World War II.

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