Thursday, July 21, 2011

History of Mindanao, Part XVIII: Annual Report to the War Department (US), 1902/1903

While memoirs and other published materiel can offer one a deeper understanding, they should always be supplemented, and if possible corroborated, by other source materiel. This entry involves some excerpts from the Philippine Division of the American Military, and the Division's Annual Report to the powers that be in the War Department. Because Major General Davis relieved his predecessor, the Annual Report for 1902 was never filed. Because of summary documents furnished up until September of 1902 this report then covers the period between October of 1902 and July of 1903.

While I am excerpting summaries of a counterinsurgency nature, the report covers a myriad of disparate subjects; from the evolution of the "Native Scouts" programme, the struggles for opcon (operational control) of the PC, or Philippine Constabulary, and even Spanish reports on Filipino Muslim culture, of course post-translation into English, amongst other informative subjects.


pp5 through 7: On March 23rd, 1903, a chief named Concepcion, who was an escaped convict, at the head of a band of forty of his kind entered into Surigao (SURIGAO CITY), province of the same name, killed an American Constabulary officer , captured the remainder of the party of Constabulary and disarmed them, thus securing about 148 firearms, several thousand rounds of ammunition, all the Constabulary supplies, and the sum of about 7,000 Pesos. The inhabitants of the place were either neutral or favored the robbers. When the facts were known to the Civil Governor, he requested the Division Commander to take charge of the disaffected region and ordered the Constabulary serving there to act under order of the military officer in command, who was Brigadier General Jesse M.Lee, U.S.A. He at once sent troops to the scene and personaly organized and directed operations, until the arrival of Colonel Myer, of the Infantry, who carried on the work. Five Companies of white troops, two of Scouts, and about one hundred and sixty Constabulary took part in these operations.

The Civil Governor intimated that the Writ of Habeus Corpus might be suspended in this province if the necessity for doing so existed, but as criminal judicial proceedings could promptly be had in every case of those who were charged with participation in law breaking, it was not necessary to invoke the more summary methods of military law. Almost all the participants in the attacks were arrested and tried; four are under death sentence, twenty for life, most of the others received sentences reaching to twenty years of hard labor. The leader Concepcion has not been caught, but an unconfirmed report that says he was wounded and has died while his band are all in jail as are many of his confederates. The American troops were withdrawn in early July (1903), and peace and quiet in the province has been restored, but two Companies of native troops still remain for moral effect.

It is a noteworthy fact that since American occupation in March of 1900, there had been no trouble in the province, neither did the Filipino Republicans (INSURRECTOS) forces resist the American troops when they landed in Surigao in 1899 (THIS IS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT ON BOTH COUNTS).

On April 1st of 1903 there was an incident in Misamis under a leader named Flores, with a following of one or two hundred very ignorant people, armed with a few rifles and many bolos and spears, this outlaw was able to raid the pueblos (TOWNS) and rob the inhabitants of their property and set the province in a turmoil. The Provincial Governor, who is a Filipino, described the uprising as an insurrection, and Governor Taft, having given directions that all military operations in Misamis be under the orders of the military commander, General Lee, and afterwards General Wint, was placed in charge of the restoration of order.

About April 1st (1903), a Company of native troops was sent to Cagayan del Misamis (CAGAYAN DEL ORO CITY) and on the 13th of this same month the command encountered the insurgents at Agusan, causing them damage.

On May 11th there was an outbreak on the island of Camaguin (CAMAGUIN PROVINCE) which pertains to the province of Misamis when before this for four years there had been absolute peace. The Provincial Governor asked for help and a Company of native troops arrived at the scene of the trouble the next day. A sharp fight ensued and the trouble was ended immediately.

About May 1st, a troop of the 15th Calvary from Iligan (ILIGAN CITY) had been sent into Misamis Province. With the hope that the moral effect of its presence would be beneficial. On May 16th, the troop commander with a small detachment arrested and disarmed a number of Flores' adherants in Suclutan (UNKNOWN LOCATION). But in some manner the natives recovered their bolos, set upon the detachment and killed Captain Overton and one man of the 15th Calvary and wounded another soldier.

The uprisings in this province were ended by the 1st of July (1903), the chief Flores was a prisoner, and the white troops returned to their former stations.


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