Hukbalahap
Overview
 
The Hukbalahap was the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas; PKP for short), formed in 1942 to fight the Japanese Empire
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

's occupation of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It fought a second war from 1946 to 1954 against the pro-Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 leaders of their newly independent country. The term is a contraction of the Filipino term "Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon", which means "People's Army Against the Japanese." The group was commonly known as "Huks".

The Huks instigated the Hukbalahap Rebellion
Hukbalahap Rebellion
The Hukbalahap Rebellion was a Communist insurgency that began after World War II and fought against the Roxas Administration. When it became evident that Manuel Roxas, whom the Huks accused of having been a collaborator, would run for the presidency the Huks allied themselves with the Democratic...

, a communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 insurgency
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

 that lasted from 1946 to 1954, against the Philippine government.
Encyclopedia
The Hukbalahap was the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas; PKP for short), formed in 1942 to fight the Japanese Empire
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

's occupation of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It fought a second war from 1946 to 1954 against the pro-Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 leaders of their newly independent country. The term is a contraction of the Filipino term "Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon", which means "People's Army Against the Japanese." The group was commonly known as "Huks".

The Huks instigated the Hukbalahap Rebellion
Hukbalahap Rebellion
The Hukbalahap Rebellion was a Communist insurgency that began after World War II and fought against the Roxas Administration. When it became evident that Manuel Roxas, whom the Huks accused of having been a collaborator, would run for the presidency the Huks allied themselves with the Democratic...

, a communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 insurgency
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

 that lasted from 1946 to 1954, against the Philippine government. The insurgency was finally put down through a series of reforms and military victories by Filipino President Ramon Magsaysay
Ramon Magsaysay
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay was the third President of the Republic of the Philippines from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.-Early life:Ramon F...

.

Name

As originally constituted in 1942, the Hukbalahap was to be part of a broad united front
United front
The united front is a form of struggle that may be pursued by revolutionaries. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organisation created by revolutionaries in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.According to the theses of...

 resistance to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. This original intent is reflected in its name: "Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon", which means "People's Army Against the Japanese."

By 1950, the Communist Party of the Philippines PKP had resolved to reconstitute the organization as the armed wing of a revolutionary party, prompting a change in the official name to Hukbong Mapalaya ng Bayan, (HMB) or "Peoples' Liberation Army," likely in emulation of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

.

Notwithstanding this name change, the HMB continued to be popularly known as the Hukbalahap, and the English-speaking press continued to refer to it and its members, interchangeably, as "The Huks" during the whole period between 1945 and 1952.

History

The Hukbalahap movement has deep roots in the Spanish encomienda, a system of grants to reward soldiers who had conquered New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

, established about 1570. This developed into a system of exploitation. In the nineteenth century, Filipino landlordism, under the Spanish colonization, arose and, with it, further abuses. Only after the coming of the Americans were reforms initiated to lessen tensions between tenants and landlords. The reforms, however, did not solve the problems and, with growing political consciousness produced by education, peasants began to unite under educated but poor leaders. The most potent of these organizations was the Hukbalahap, which began as a resistance organization against the Japanese but ended as an anti-government resistance movement.

World War II

After the Japanese invasion, peasant leaders met on March 29, 1942 in a forest clearing located in Sitio Bawit, Barrio San Julian, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija
Cabiao, Nueva Ecija
Cabiao is a 1st class municipality in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 68,382 people in 11,655 households....

, at the junction of Tarlac
Tarlac
Tarlac is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Luzon Island. Its capital is Tarlac City. Tarlac borders Pampanga to the south, Nueva Ecija to the east, Pangasinan to the north, and Zambales to the west...

, Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

, and Nueva Ecija
Nueva Ecija
Nueva Ecija is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is Palayan City...

 provinces to form a united organization. "Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon" was chosen as the name of the organization. After the meeting, a military committee was formed with Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc was a Filipino political figure and communist insurgent. He was the leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group between 1942 and 1954. His involvement with the movement came after his initiation to the problems of agrarian Filipinos when he was a student in the early 1930s...

 (chairman), Castro Alejandrino (2nd in command), Bernardo Poblete ("Banal"), and Felepa Culala ("Dayang-Dayang" – an amazon
Woman warrior
The portrayal of women warriors in literature and popular culture is a subject of study in history, literary studies, film studies, folklore and mythology, gender studies, and cultural studies.-Archaeology:...

 whose unit had killed several Japanese soldiers) as members.

The strength of the Huk organization came from the mostly agrarian peasants of Central Luzon. The group's leaders, among them figurehead Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc was a Filipino political figure and communist insurgent. He was the leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group between 1942 and 1954. His involvement with the movement came after his initiation to the problems of agrarian Filipinos when he was a student in the early 1930s...

, communist party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 Secretary General Jose Lava, and Commander Hizon (Benjamin Cunanan), aimed to lead the Philippines toward Marxist ideals and communist revolution
Communist revolution
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage...

. The Hukbalahap Insurrection (1946–1954) was their attempt to take over the Philippines. The Hukhbalahap's methods were often portrayed by other guerrilla leaders as terrorist; for example, Ray C. Hunt, an American who led his own band of 3000 guerrillas, said of the Hukbalahap that

My experiences with the Huks were always unpleasant. Those I knew were much better assassins that soldiers. Tightly disciplined and led by fanatics, they murdered some Filipino landlords and drove others off to the comparative safety of Manila. They were not above plundering and torturing ordinary Filipinos, and they were treacherous enemies of all other guerrillas (on Luzon).


However, the Hukbalahap claimed that it extended its guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 campaign for over a decade merely in search of recognition as World War II freedom fighters and former American and Filipino allies who deserved a share of war reparations.

After its inception the group grew quickly and by late summer 1943 claimed to have 15,000 to 20,000 active men and women military fighters and 50,000 more in reserve. These fighters' weaponry was obtained primarily by stealing it from battlefields and downed planes left behind by the Japanese, Filipinos and Americans. They fought Japanese troops to rid the country of its imperialist occupation, worked to subvert the Japanese tax-collection service, intercepted food and supplies to the Japanese troops, and created a training school where they taught political theory and military tactics based on Marxist ideas. In areas that the group controlled, they set up local governments and instituted land reforms, dividing up the largest estates equally among the peasants and often killing the landlords.

When it became evident that Manuel Roxas
Manuel Roxas
Manuel Acuña Roxas was the first president of the independent Third Republic of the Philippines and fifth president overall. He served as president from the granting of independence in 1946 until his abrupt death in 1948...

, whom the Huks accused of having been a collaborator, would run for the presidency the Huks allied themselves with the Democratic Alliance, a new political party, and threw their support behind President Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...

. When Roxas won the Presidency, he instituted a campaign against the Huks. The Huks, however, succeeded in electing Taruc and other members of the Democratic Alliance to Congress. After Taruc was unseated by the Liberal Party, the Huks retreated to the jungle and began their open rebellion. Between 1946 and 1949 the indiscriminate counterinsurgency measures by President Roxas ("mailed fist" policies) strengthened Huk appeal. The Philippine Army, Philippine Constabulary
Philippine Constabulary
The Philippine Constabulary ' was the oldest of four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority replacing the Guardia Civil...

, and civilian guards attacked villages seeking out subversives.

Insurrection

In 1949, Hukbalahap members ambushed and murdered Aurora Quezon
Aurora Quezon
Aurora Antonia Aragón de Molina Vd.ª De Quezón , usually known simply as Aurora Quezón, and sometimes as Aurora Aragón-Quezón, was the wife of Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezón and the First Lady of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944...

, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross and widow of the Philippines' second president, Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

, as she was en route to her hometown for the dedication of the Quezon Memorial Hospital. Several others were also killed, including her eldest daughter and son-in-law. This attack brought worldwide condemnation of the Hukbalahaps, who claimed that the attack was done by "renegade" members. The continuing condemnation and new post-war causes of the movement prompted the Huk leaders to adopt a new name, the 'Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan' or the 'People's Liberation Army' in 1950.

Public sympathies for the movement had been waning due to their postwar attacks. The Huks carried out a campaign of raids, holdups, robbery, ambushes, murder, rape, massacre of small villages, kidnapping and intimidation. The Huks confiscated funds and property to sustain their movement and relied on small village organizers for political and material support. The Huk movement was mainly spread in the central provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, and in Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Laguna, Bataan and Quezon.

An important movement in the campaign against the Huks was the deployment of hunter-killer counter guerilla special units. The "Nenita" unit (1946–1949) was the first of such special forces whose main mission was to eliminate the Huks. The Nenita Force was commanded by Major Napoleon Valeriano. The Nenita terror tactics which were not only committed against dissidents but also towards law-abiding people sometimes helped the Huks gain supporters as a consequence.

In July 1950, Major Valeriano assumed command of the elite 7th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) in Bulacan. The 7th BCT would develop a reputation toward employing a more comprehensive, more unconventional counterinsurgency strategy and reduced the random brutality against the civilian population.

In June 1950, American alarm over the Huk rebellion during the cold war prompted President Truman to approve special military assistance that included military advice, sale at cost of military equipment to the Philippines and financial aid under the Joint United States Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG). In September 1950, former USAFFE guerilla, Ramon Magsaysay
Ramon Magsaysay
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay was the third President of the Republic of the Philippines from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.-Early life:Ramon F...

 was appointed as Minister of National Defense on American advice. With the Huk Rebellion growing in strength and the security situation in the Philippines becoming seriously threatened, Magsaysay urged President Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Rivera Quirino was a Filipino politician, and the sixth President of the Philippines.A lawyer by profession, Quirino entered politics when he became a representative of Ilocos Sur from 1919 to 1925. He was then elected as senator from 1925–1931...

 to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for the duration of the Huk campaign.

American assistance allowed Magsaysay to create more BCTs, bringing the total to twenty-six. By 1951, army strength had increased by 60 percent over the previous year with 1,047-man BCTs. Major military offensive campaigns against the Huks were carried out by the 7th, 16th, 17th, and 22nd BCTs.

Another major effort against the Huks was Operation "Knockout" of the Panay Task Force (composed of the 15th BCT, some elements of the 9th BCT and the Philippine Constabulary
Philippine Constabulary
The Philippine Constabulary ' was the oldest of four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority replacing the Guardia Civil...

 commands of Iloilo, Capiz and Antique) under the command of Colonel Alfredo M. Santos
Alfredo M. Santos
General Alfredo M. Santos was Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1962 to 1965, making him the first four-star general of the Philippines' armed forces....

. The Operation conducted a surprise attack on Guillermo Capadocia, commander of the Huk Regional Command in the Visayas, erstwhile Secretary General and one of the founders of the PKP. Santos' masterstroke was the enlistment of Pedro Valentin, a local mountain leader who knew the people and the terrain like the back of his hand. Capadocia died of battle wounds on September 20, 1952.

In 1954, Lt. Col. Laureño Maraña, the former head of Force X of the 16th PC Company, assumed command of the 7th BCT, which had become one of the most mobile striking forces of the Philippine ground forces against the Huks, from Valeriano who was now a colonel. Force X employed psychological warfare through combat intelligence and infiltration that relied on secrecy in planning, training, and execution of attack. The lessons learned from Force X and Nenita were combined in the 7th BCT.

With the all out anti-dissidence campaigns against the Huks, they numbered less than 2,000 by 1954 and without the protection and support of local supporters, active Huk resistance no longer presented a serious threat to Philippine security. From February to mid-September 1954, the largest anti-Huk operation, "Operation Thunder-Lightning" was conducted and resulted in the surrender of Luis Taruc on May 17. Further clean up operations of guerillas remaining lasted throughout 1955, diminishing its number to less than 1,000 by year's end.

The Hukbong Mapagpalya ng Bayan was again resurrected as Bagong Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan during the early 1960s, but the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas shifted from the use of armed struggle to parliamentary struggle. Guerrilla warfare against the government continued until its surrender along with the Party during Martial Law. The Agreement between the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas and the government lead to the recognition of the Huk Veterans with a share of war reparations and benefits.

After the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

, the Maoists in the older pro-USSR PKP left in 1968 to form the new Communist Party of the Philippines
Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines is a leading communist party in the Philippines. It remains an underground political organization since its founding on December 26, 1968 and has been operating in clandestine manner since its founding...

 (CPP). In 1969, the splinter CPP formed the New People's Army
New People's Army
The New People's Army is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was formed on March 29, 1969. The Maoist NPA conducts its armed guerrilla struggle based on the strategical line of 'protracted people's war'.The NPA exacts so called "revolutionary taxes" from business owners...

, with its tagalog name Bagong Hukbong Bayan with the faction involving members of the HMB under Bernabe "Dante" Buscayno, and launched a "protracted people's war" that lasts to this day. In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 cited this armed resistance movement as the reason for his imposition of martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

.
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