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The Militant, 7 September 1946

Larissa Reed

Roxas Regime Launches War
on “Huk” Guerrilla Fighters

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 36, 7 September 1946, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A full-scale military campaign to crush peasant insurgency in the Philippines was launched on September 1 by the government headed by President Manuel A. Roxas, puppet of American imperialism. This action followed the August 24 ultimatum that Filipino guerillas give up their arms. The action is mainly directed against the Hukbalahaps in Central Luzon.

The government struck with the “implacable force” that Roxas threatened he would use. Military police and civil guards had orders to kill. They began using artillery against the Huks in several large-scale actions in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan provinces.

Eleven Huk leaders in Manila and its suburbs, including a nephew of Luis Taruc, chieftain of Luzon’s Huks, were arrested. Taruc himself was ordered arrested on an old “murder” charge. Alejandro Simpauco, member of the Philippine Congress and a leader in the Democratic Alliance, was arrested at Tarlac, north of Manila.

Made ‘Outlaws’

Military police stated that all leaders of the Alliance (a Huk federation), the National Peasants Union and the Committee for Labor Organization (a Philippine version of the CIO) would be treated as outlaws.

The situation is extremely tense. Manila newspapers banner stories that the Republic is in “the throes of civil war.”

The Huks, who fought against the Japanese occupation armies, declare they will not surrender their arms without resistance. They are bitterly opposed to the return of the landholders who exploited them unmercifully before the war.

They fear the Roxas government aims to restore prewar conditions when, in Central Luzon alone, under American rule, one per cent of the population held 99 per cent of the land. In some cases as many as 30,000 tenants farmed the land of one owner.

Roxas attempted to allay these fears and suspicions by appointing a commission to “investigate land tenure.” This commission recommended a “fundamental alteration of the crop-share distribution between landlords and tenants, changing it from 50–50 to 70–30 in favor of the tenants and adjustable on both sides according to soil conditions and other factors.” This legislation, now before the Philippine Congress, has “a high probability of passing.” Whether this “concession” will appease the armed Filipino share-croppers remains to be seen.

Perhaps one reason why the Huks refuse to surrender their arms, writes the July London Economist, is “because they fear that the official memory for promises may be defective unless refreshed from time to time with the admonition of machine guns.”

The threats of open warfare against the Huks followed attempts of the Roxas government to use “persuasion” to get the arms. “This plan did not work out,” admits the N.Y. Times.

Heroic Fighters

The Hukbalahaps, a peasant guerilla movement, were organized in 1942. They proved to be heroic fighters. They not only made it hot for the Japanese imperialists, but drove away the landlords in many sections.

No sooner was the war over than General MacArthur set out to suppress the movement. The Huks found warm support among the masses of exploited peasants because, their avowed program was to divide up the big estates of the landed aristocracy among the peasants. They represent a threat to the U.S. imperialist rulers as well as their native agents.

As early as July 1945, the U.S. Army used tank destroyers to break up Huk meetings. When “independence” was granted the Philippines on July 4, the U.S. imperialists presented Roxas with a “gift” of $50,000,000 worth of military equipment.

According to the Far Eastern Survey, “military operations to crush the Hukbalahaps and the organized peasant movement in Central Luzon have been undertaken by the Philippine Army as a first major policy of the newly-inaugurated Philippine Republic.”

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