Philippine Daily Inquirer

FIL-AMS HELPED FREE PH DURING WORLD WAR II, SAYS NEW BOOK

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Absolute secrecy was ordered for PRS (Philippine Regional Section) activities. The entire operation was labeled “Top Secret,” and all related memos were stamped as such.

The missions, men, the training camps in Australia and everything related to them were to be wrapped in strict security.

“These missions were devoted exclusivel­y to coordinati­ng the scores of scattered bands of guerrillas and supplying them with field radios and a systematic basis for collecting intelligen­ce,” Vallejo wrote, citing a report.

According to her, the regiments were regarded as “advance echelon” in MacArthur’s campaign of liberation, being also called the “eyes and ears” of the general.

“The men were not to go into combat but to set up radio networks and gather intelligen­ce on enemy dispositio­ns to be used in the planning of the return. The personal arms and ammunition of the men were for defending the radio stations,” she said.

The initial decision was to land in Sarangani Bay in Mindanao and do a strong offensive on Leyte and Samar in December. The landing date was changed to October 1944 in Leyte, increasing the “pressure to produce qualified men at a faster rate.”

“Much of the location and activities of the Japanese forces were already known and destroyed by the guerrillas before landing. By the time our forces hit the beaches at Leyte, we had 134 radio stations—46 on Mindanao, 23 on Panay, 21 on Luzon, 13 in Negros, 11 on Leyte, six on Mindoro,

five on Palawan, three each on Cebu and Samar, and one each on Bohol, Masbate and Tawi-Tawi,” an officer reported.

Vallejo said the “successful liberation of the Philippine Islands was significan­tly affected by the secret submarine missions of the 1st Reconnaiss­ance Battalion (Special) for over two years until the Leyte and Luzon landings. They worked with the guerrillas to be the “eyes and ears” of the general headquarte­rs [of the Southwest Pacific Area].

From January 1943 to January 1945, Filipino-Americans operated 20 submarines for 41 missions that delivered 1,627 tons of men, radio, weapons, supplies and propaganda, with the return trips evacuating 500 people. More than 14,000 radio messages were sent to the KAZ (King Able Zebra), MacArthur’s radio, in Australia.

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