MANILA, Philippines—Filipino guerrillas did much of the bloody fighting in liberating the country from the Japanese in World War II, but this fact remains obscure to many Filipinos even today.
Two websites placed online in honor of ‘‘Araw ng Kagitingan” highlight the Filipinos’ role in liberating their country from the brutal three-year occupation by the Imperial Japanese Army. The websites are ‘‘Victorious: the saga of the Philippines and her guerillas in the Second World War” and ‘‘The Filipino Nation-in-Arms and its defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II.”
Both were written and placed online by Art Villasanta, a Korean War historian.
The Victorious website is victoriousfilipinos.blogspot.com while that for The Filipino Nation-in-Arms is filipinonationinarms.blogspot.com.
Villasanta, in a press statement, said he hopes both websites would help further correct an erroneous but stubborn notion that the liberation of the Philippines was fought mainly by American soldiers with Filipinos playing a low-key supporting role.
‘‘That’s simply not true,” Villasanta said. ‘‘Filipinos did much of the fighting in the Battle of Mindanao, which saw some of the most vicious combats in 1945.”
The Battle of Bessang Pass in Ilocos Sur from Feb. to June 1945 was the greatest Filipino victory in World War II. It was won by the 20,000 men of the all-Filipino ‘‘Guerilla Division,” the United States Army Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon or USAFIP-NL.
This battle led to the defeat and eventual annihilation of the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army. The survivors of this army surrendered to the Guerilla Division at Kiangan, Ifugao, on Sept. 2, 1945, the day the Pacific War ended.