The Saga and Tragedy of the Pasig Guerrilla Unit of WWII
At the middle of Caruncho Avenue in Pasig City today is the Pasig City World War II Monument of Remembrance for the Pasig Guerilla Unit that fought during the Japanese Occupation up to the liberation of Pasig and adjacent towns from the Japanese.
Sad and neglected even during national days of commemoration with regards to heroes of the city and the country. Their deeds and exploits are never told in our city schools to the children of Pasig. The Monument used to stand at the center of the intersection between Jabson st., Caruncho Avenue and Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue today located between the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Plaza Rizal and the present 7/11. The Memorial was constructed under the aegis of Dr. Teofilo San Agustin of the Pasig Civil League. It was then transferred to its present location in the middle of Caruncho Avenue in front of the Pasig Elementary School.
The obelisk is topped by a Muse with her right hand raised holding a wreath of laurels. The Sun and Stars of the Republic are underneath her feet that represents the Filipino Nation. This is a symbol of the Mutya ng Pasig raising a victory tribute with the inscribed names of the Pasig Guerillas who participated in this grim struggle for the freedom of Pasig and the country.
This is a brief story of these men who sacrificed and died for Pasig and the country during those dark times.
After the surrender of Bataan, resistance was organized immediately by patriotic citizens all over the country. Guerilla Zones were established and Pasig came under the Rizal Zone under the famous Guerilla Commander Col. Marking Agustin thus, the famed Marking’s Guerillas.
Organized in the latter part of 1942, the Pasig Guerilla Unit was led by Captain Juan Antonio and was initially tasked with providing information about Japanese military dispositions around Fort McKinley (Fort Bonifacio and now BGC). Also, logistical support such as supplies for the Headquarters of Col. Marking was a primary mission for the guerrillas of Pasig.
At any given time, the Pasig Guerrilla Unit had an active strength of 2 platoons with 30 men in each platoon undertaking such missions. That is because most of the guerrillas were farmers or civilian employees or traders.
They conducted raids on Japanese armories, provided weapons to Markings Guerillas, managed to retrieve boxes of dynamite that were dumped from Bataan before the surrender, and even conducted the theft of trucks stolen by drivers from the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy in aid of guerilla operations.
These activities continued for 3 years until the Liberation of the Philippines commenced. By the time Battle of Manila was raging, the Americans were also pushing towards Pasig via Mandaluyong. The earliest accounts of the Pasig Unit’s participation was a report that elements of the Pasig Unit were meeting with the Americans at Wack Wack Country Club so as to provide accurate information of Japanese positions in Pasig.
As can be gleaned from official documents, around 100 armed Pasig Unit Guerillas participated in the Liberation of Pasig. What is notable is that around 500 unarmed guerillas fought with whatever they had during that liberation starting on February 19, 1945 up to February 20, 1945.
But the Pasig Guerilla Unit was not finished with the fight yet. They were attached to “E” Troop of the famed US 7th Cavalry and went on to fight in the liberation of Cainta, Taytay and Antipolo. The Pasig Guerillas suffered casualties not only in Pasig but also during the fighting in the adjoining towns.
Eventually, the Pasig Guerilla Unit was disbanded after the Liberation.
The Pasig Guerilla Unit suffered tragedy not from enemy hands. They were part of the Marking Fil-American Troops whose Headquarters were in Pasig. They expected Recognition for their services and sacrifices but their request for Recognition was denied with finality in 1947 by the US Armed Forces. A result of the Rescission Act of the US Congress. Because to give them Recognition is to give them their “Back-Pay” from 1942 to 1945.
Today, their Memorial Monument lies forlorn and mostly ignored along Caruncho Avenue. The names inscribed in the monument is hardly legible. Their exploits and sacrifices are fading and hardly any stories are being told. These are the Greatest Generation of Pasig. They must be celebrated and not only commemorated. Their stories are to inspire the future generations of Pasig. A city where freedom is cherished and the greatest sacrifices are part of the blood flowing in the veins of its citizens.
The Mutya ng Pasig will forever raise her hands in tribute to every Victory of the people of Pasig.
Let us Remember and Honor them.