WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY
For some time, I had wanted to write the history of the communist insurgency in Negros considering that this rebellion or revolution, depending from what perspective one looks at the conflict is what scientists call the critical juncture in the development or deterioration of a nation or of society. But getting the facts posed as the major tumbling block. True there are many newspapers available that chronicled the events but the most important are official documents especially in the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
I had been asking retired General Raymundo Jarque for his documents and his memories of a particular period particularly of “Operation Thunderbolt” that he conceptualized and launched as the commander of the Negros Island Command. From an initial look this operation broke the backbone of communist insurgency. Finally early this month I was able to sit down with him and two retired colonels who were his junior officers – Colonels Eladio Parcon and Edwin Recabe.
Our meeting was fruitful in that they volunteered to secure copies of official reports - post operation, intelligence, operation plans and implementation, etc. We also agreed that they will write their own recollections of those days. Recabe has already written part of the insurgency war in his book, “I Was There, Under the Sun”.
To guide the research I proposed a preliminary title “Thunderbolt: History of Communist Insurgency in Negros Island”. However after I conducted initial research I realized that the communist rebellion is just a continuation of earlier people's uprising and that the causes of their revolt remain the same. In fact they relate closely to the issues of the present insurgency. There is then more than what we see at the surface.
I decided to expand the work under a new title, “Thunderbolt: History of Insurgency Wars in Negros”. My working outline so far is seven chapters but this can increase depending on the volume of documents and personal experiences that the players of this period 1975-1990 will share.
This book then traces the roots of the present insurgency to over 300 years of our history which has been pockmarked by uprising of the masses and the subsequent revolt. Our insurgency problem is a continuum but many never realized this as I also did until I went deeper into the history of armed conflict in this island.
When I was writing “Against the Rising Sun: History of World War II in Negros” my initial outline was for one volume but after I got the declassified documents from the US Military Archives in Maryland, USA, after two trips there, the number of documents forced me to write two instead of one volume. This may happen with this insurgency history.
Many of those who are still alive – military officers and enlisted personnel, policemen of all grades, civilians and government officials and public servants – have had personal experience during this period. There are families of victims that might like to share their personal loss.
Of course we have many sugarcane planters and businessmen who contributed to the military effort as well and gave in to demands of revolutionary taxes. Members of media had their hands full covering this conflict and perhaps they have their records or compilation and collection of photographs. They can write down their memories.
I invite all to share a part of their memories to be included in this book so that these memories will continue to live long after we are gone. Perchance the future generation will have a glimpse of our lives and times and learn from the lessons that our experience and understand why things happened as they did.
This invitation includes those who fought the government. I have invited Commander Iko Demafelis and Macao Gallardo for their experiences in the mountain. I already have information from the Negros clergy although I know there are much more out there.
I will welcome and be grateful if those who are still fighting the cause of our forefathers will send in the narratives. Ka Frank and Louie Jalandoni should be in this book so that we can have a fairly balanced narration of our history.
I am using the word “insurgency” rather than rebellion which connotes a crime or revolution which is justification itself so that the book will not be judgmental or tainted with smudges of propaganda as the Americans and other Filipinos did to cast our revolutionary leaders in bad light to this day. Let it not be said you were not invited.*
back to top