Chapter 7 The American Rule War of PhilippineIndependence from the United States
• President Aguinaldo regarded the United States an ally in the Philippines‟ road towards independence. Filipino-American relations deteriorated as the American military authorities took over Manila in August 1898.
There was a popular belief among thesupporters of Manifest Destiny that theUnited States had the God-given rightto help oppressed countries and builddemocratic nations. When USPresident William McKinley issued hisso-called Benevolent AssimilationProclamation on December 21,1898,he expressly indicated American policyregarding the Philippines, that the USshall exercise sovereignty over theentire archipelago.
• January 5, 1899, Aguinaldo issued a counter-proclamation and specified his forces were prepared to fight any American attempt to take over the country.• January 20, 1899, Pres. McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission to make recommendations in the administration of the country. This commission headed by Dr. Jacob Schurman, issued a proclamation on April 4, 1899, declaring the establishment of American sovereignty in the Philippines in the midst of the Philippine-American war, which broke out months ago.
Hostilities began on the night of February4, 1899 at about 9p.m. An Americansoldier named Private Robert WillieGrayson of the 1st Nebraska volunteerswith two other members of the U.S.sentry shot and killed a man whohappens to be a Filipino soldiers. Theman together with 3 other Filipino soldierswere already entering into American lineson their way home. The Americansoldiers tried to stop them and shouted.“halt!” twice. Unfamiliar with the word haltthe Filipino shouted “halto!”.
The site of the 1st shot of the Philippine-American war, called PhilippineInsurrection by the Americans, is inSilencio corner Sociego Street in Sta.Mesa, Manila. (This is pursuant toNational Historical Institute BoardResolution 07 s. 2003, „Authorizing theTransfer of the Historical Marker for thesite of the First Shot of the Philippine-American War from San Juan Bridge toSilencio corner Sociego St., Sta. Mesa,Manila‟ after a thorough deliberation onthe position of Dr. Benito Legarda).
The next day, Sunday, Gen. ArthurMacArthur issued his order to advanceagainst the Filipino troops withoutinvestigating the shooting incident.Aguinaldo tried to avoid war. He sent anemissary to inform Governor Gen. ElwellOtis that the firing on their side had beenagainst his order. Gov. Gen. Otisanswered that since the fighting hadbegun, it must go on to the grim end. Onthe same day, Aguinaldo issued adeclaration informing the Filipino peoplethat they were now at war. This turnedout to be the seven-year Philippine-American War (1899-1906).
Gen. John C. Bates tried to win thefriendship of the Muslims by negotiating withthem on the basis of equality. On August 20,1899, John Bates and Sultan Jamalul KiramII of Sulu with three datus signed the BatesTreaty. This treaty provided that the rightsand dignities of the Sultan and his datusshall be respected.The Muslim province remained underAmerican military rule until 1914. schoolsthat taught non-Muslim curriculum wereestablished.Panglima Hasan led a rebellion against theAmerican authorities. His fight for freedomended on March 4, 1904.
• In the suburbs of manila, the American fleet started bombarding the Filipino fort north of San Juan del Monte on February 5, 1899. in the afternoon of that day, a fierce battle in La Loma, near the Chinese cemetery ensued. Major Jose Torres Bugallon, one of General Antonio Luna‟s gallant officers, fell mortally wounded. After capturing La Loma, General MacArthur headed for Caloocan.• In Caloocan, a fierce battle followed, with the Americans once again victorious. Undismayed by his defeat, Gen. Antonio Luna (younger brother of Juan Luna) prepared for a plan for the recapture of Manila by burning American occupied houses in Tondo and Binondo.
The Filipinos fought with fierce valornear Malinta. Colonel Harry O. Egbert ofthe 22nd U.S.March 30, the American army wasalready in Malolos. By this time, theAguinaldo government had evacuatedMalolos and Established itsheadquarters in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija.Gen. MacArthur wanted to pursueAguinaldo but Gov. Gen. Elwell Otisordered him to rest in Malolos.March 31, Gen. MacArthur capturedMalolos.
The Filipino troops, althoughinsufficiently armed and inadequatelyfed continued fighting. In Quingua (now Plaridel), on April 23, theAmerican cavalry under Major Bellsuffered heavy losses under Gen.Gregorio del Pilar. In this battle,Colonel John Stotsenberg was killed.
April 25, Calumpit fell into Americanhands. Gen. Gregorio del Pilar andhis troops were fell into Americanhands. Gen. Gregorio del Pilar andhis men, had already left to defendthe Filipino lines since Gen.Luna andhis men, had already left forPampanga at the height of the battleto see what had happened to thereinforcement troops being askedfrom Gen. Tomas Mascardo.
March 6, 1899, Apolinario Mabini, inhis capacity as head of the cabinetand minister of foreign affairs metwith the Schurman Commission andrequested for a temporary cease-firebut was refused. He issued amanifesto dated April 15, 1899 inSan Isidro, Nueva Ecija urging hiscountrymen to continue the strugglefor independence.
When Mabini resigned from his poston May 7, 1899, Pres. Aguinaldonamed Pedro Paterno the head ofthe new Cabinet.The Paterno Cabinet, known as the“Peace Cabinet” created aCommittee headed by FelipeBuencamino to negotiate peace withthe Americans. When Gen. AntonioLuna heard this, he blocked the tripof the committee to Manila andarrested the members.
General Luna met his tragic end in the hands of his fellow patriots.• June 1899, he received a telegram from Aguinaldo asking him to go to Cabanatuan. He left his command in Bayambang, Pangasinan.• June 5, he went to a convent in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, which served as Aguinaldo‟s headquarters.
Severino de las Alas, the Secretary of the Interior in his circular informed the provincial chiefs of Luna‟s death and said that it was caused by Luna‟s insulting and assaulting of the President‟s bodyguards and the plan of Luna to take over the presidency from Aguinaldo. After Luna‟s death, some demoralization set in. November 12, 1899, the regular army was dissolved by Aguinaldo. He formed guerilla units instead, to carry on the war.The capture of Aguinaldo was one of the priorities of the Americans. They mounted a full-scale offensive on October 12, 1899.
In order to elude the American forces,Aguinaldo and his forces proceeded to theCordillera mountain range. In Candon, IlocosSur, Aguinaldo and his troops went east andcrossed the Ilocos range. This passageway tothe Cordillera was Tirad Pass. Del Pilar sawthe advantageous terrain of the Tirad Pass.From atop Mt. Tirad, which could provide viewof pursuing Americans, Del Pilar and with 60riflemen were given the mission of defendingthe pass.
In the morning of December 2, 1899, Major Peyton G. March and about 300 American troopers stormed the Pass, but were repulsed by Del Pilar‟s men.• Tirad was 4,500 feet high.• Through Januario Galut, an Igorot guide of the Americans, the secret trail to the top from the rear was known. In the midst of the combat, General del Pilar, was hit with a bullet that passed through his neck. Only eight men escaped alive to relate the tragic news to Aguinaldo.
After the Battle of Tirad Pass, which tooksix hours, the American authorities losttrack of Aguinaldo until CecilioSegismundo, Aguinaldo‟s messenger fellinto the hands of Gen. Frederick Funston,stationed in Nueva Ecija. He was carryingimportant letters to Baldomero Aguinaldo,General Urbano Lacuna, and other guerillaleaders.
Aguinaldo was taken aboard the Vicksburgand brought to Manila. Gen. MacArthurgraciously received him at the MalacaňangPalace. On April 19,1901, he took the oathof allegiance to the United States andappealed to all Filipinos to accept thesovereignty of the United States.
At the time when some patriotic Filipinos werestill fighting for independence, some officialsof the revolutionary government had alreadydecided to make peace with the colonizers.The Pacificados (Pacifists) led by PedroPaterno and Felipe Buencamino foundedAsociacion de Paz. Among the organizerswere Cayetano Arellano, Tomas del Rosario,Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, Leon Ma.Guerrero, Rafael Palma, Justo Lukban, andPascual Poblete.
While Aguinaldo and some of his menwere in the highlands of Northern Luzon,the Pacificados (Pacifists) in a meeting onDecember 23,1900 renamed the leaguefor peace the Partido Federal (FederalParty), with Trinidad Pardo de Tavera aselected president. The Federlistas werehaughtily called Americanistas or pro-Americans by the nationalists.
The Filipino civilians, caught between theAmericans and the Filipino revolutionariessuffered badly. More than 200,000 Filipinosdied during the war, most often by famine anddisease. Some Filipinos accepted the offer ofamnesty. Notable exceptions were ApolinarioMabini and Macario Sakay. Only July 4,1902,President Theodore Roosevelt declared thatthe Philippine-American war was over.However, local resistance continued.