NEWS: More space in country’s history for “Battle of Ising”, Davao del Norte execs ask

aug 31

Wrapped under a so scorching heat of an overcast sun at noon Sunday, Davao del Norte officials and the military, in celebrating the National Heroes Day, profusely gave tribute to a handful of still living World War II veterans of a 1,500 guerilla force that stood in a fierce seven-day “Battle of Ising” and exalted the “victorious battle in Mindanao” as worth of more space in our country’s history books.
Led by Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, officials laid a wreath at the Veterans’ Memorial Shrine with the flag in a half mast, at the junction of the national highway in Carmen town and respectively remembered and cited the “Battle of Ising” right in the place where it happened 64 years ago.
In that battle at Ising river, elements of the 130th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Military District, Mindanao, led by Maj. Saturnino R. Silva Sr., launched an attack on Japanese forces attempting to occupy Northern Davao and Agusan, and escaping to the seawaters of Agusan and Surigao.
The Filipino guerillas overran Japanese defensive positions from May 3-10, 1945 with hundreds of lives lost on both sides.
It was “a culminating and the last decisive battle in the liberation of Mindanao,” writes Marie Silva-Vallejo, author of a recently launched book, “Battle of Ising—The Untold Story of the 130th Infantry Regiment”. She is a daughter of 130th Infantry Regiment officer Lt. Col. Saturnino Silva Sr. of Pangasinan.
She distributed few copies of the book to the veterans and officials present during the occasion.

Gov. Del Rosario said the “Battle of Ising” reminded the “present and future generation to exercise vigilance to guard freedom or the blood of our heroes is wasted”.

Torcuato Cirpo, now 81 years old and the supply incharge of the regiment, spoke in behalf of the 14 other living veterans of the battle present in the occasion.

Cirpo thanked that he is alive long after the battle and is more thankful for having received last May $9,000 lump sum compensation from US government for the Filipino veterans’ services during World War II by virtue of the economic stimulus package approved by US President Barack Obama.

“For them (veterans) to enjoy… while already in the twilight days of our lives,” he added.

“It’s a ferocious but victorious battle in Mindanao… unlike the battles in Luzon where the Filipinos were defeated, but unfortunately our history books abundantly chronicled them,” said Carmen town mayor Marcelino Perandos.

On the other hand, Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, cited the bravery and heroism of the guerrilas and called that the battle ” be given a significant space in our history”.

In his foreword to the book, Prof. Ricardo Trota Jose of the University of the Philippines writes that “most of the histories of World War II in the Philippines have focused on Luzon. The battles fought on Luzon were of course, important … but there were significant battles fought in the Visayas and Mindanao, battles which may be known in their immediate locality but not in the national consciousness. Mindanao, in particular, has not received the attention it deserves.”
Provincial officials and historical and cultural buffs from nongovernmental and business sector in Davao City put up an exhibit on the “Battle of Ising” at Davao Museum last June in the bid of putting it in proper place in the country’s history. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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