Friday, October 14, 2016

Cagayan de Oro during the Philippine-American War (Part 4- American Victory)

General Nicolas Capistrano's Troops surrendering to the Americans
In the aftermath of Kagay-anon guerillas’ victory in the Battle of Macahambus, the Americans sent the 28th Infantry Regiment troops from Zamboanga to Cagayan de Misamis as an augmentation force of the 40th Infantry Regiment that was already there. This unit was led by General William Kobbe. His subordinates included among others such excellent officers as Major John J. Pershing and Major James Case.

Since the guerillas could not take the American forces head on, they had to resort to unconventional tactics to fight them in a protracted war. They abandoned their stronghold in Macahambus because they could not withstand constant attacks and harassments by the US forces.

The war situation in other parts of the Philippines and the situational developments in Manila would have repercussions in Cagayan de Misamis. In most part of the Philippines, the American forces had been winning battles over that of President Aguinaldo who himself was on the run to avoid capture. Beaten in battles because of insufficient armaments and other logistical needs, a number of Aguinaldo’s soldiers and civil officials surrendered and later allied themselves to the Americans. It would just be a matter of time before the First Philippine Republic would collapse.

On January 1901, in Cagayan de Misamis, General William Kobbe requested Don Manuel Corrales to send letter that asked for a 5-day ceasefire and peace conference to General Nicolas Capistrano. On February 4, 1901 at 9 o’clock in the morning General Capistrano with some of his officers met Major James Case in the house of Julian Gevero in Gusa to discuss the matter. However, General Capistrano did not agree with the terms set by the Americans and refused to make commitments. When he returned to Malaybalay, he was followed by the Americans and an encounter ensued between them and his troops. This resulted to the death of 78 guerillas and the capture of 2,000 others. In addition many firearms were captured. The Americans however were not able to get General Capistrano because he had slipped to Linabo.  

With mounting casualties suffered by his troops and the no let up operations conducted by the Americans, General Capistrano was pushed hardly against the wall, and he had to make his final decision. He sent communication to Major case for the terms of peace. In March, 1901, Capistrano together with Uldarico Akut met again with Major Case in the house of Julian Gevero. Both parties then eventually reached an agreement.  On April 7, 1901, in a small plaza in Sumilao 9 Filipino officers with 160 guerillas laid down their arms and took their oath of allegiance to the United States before Major Case. In addition they also surrendered their 187 rifles and 80 shotguns. As agreed upon, General Capistrano did not anymore attend the ceremony.                                                                                                                                                        
Meanwhile, on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela in Luzon, the Americans delivered its heaviest blow to the First Philippine Republic. American soldiers led by General Frederick Funston disguised themselves as captives of Filipino “guerillas” who were Macababe collaborators. They successfully entered Aguinaldo’s hideout, and when they were there they neutralized the guards and captured their main target- Aguinaldo. On April 1, 1901, in Malacanang, the seat of US power in the Philippines, Aguinaldo swore an oath accepting US authority. On April 19, 1901, he issued proclamation of formal surrender to the US directing all his Filipino forces to lay down their arms and cooperate with the Americans. However, some of his officers did not agree with his position, and some of them such as General Miguel Malvar swore to fight on. But remaining opposition forces were significantly much weaker than the once solid force Aguinaldo had. Their chance of success was slim.

 On July 1, 1902, the Philippine Organic Act was approved by the US congress. It provided for a bicameral legislature. The lower house or the Philippine Assembly was composed of popularly elected Filipino representatives. The upper house was composed of the Philippine Commission whose members were appointed by the President of the United States. The Philippine Commission also acted as an executive body whose head was the American Governor General of the Philippines. The Philippine Organic Act also extended the US Bill of Rights to Filipinos. Since the Americans already controlled most of the Philippine islands and considered them as pacified, President Theodore Roosevelt, on July 4, 1902, granted general amnesty and pardon to all Filipinos who had participated in the armed conflict.

The end of the war and the magnanimity of the American administration ushered in an era of peace and stability in Cagayan de Misamis and in the whole Philippines. As a matter of fact some personalities of Aguinaldo’s First Philippine Republic became top officials of Cagayan de Misamis and the Philippines during the early years of the American administered Philippine government. General Nicolas Capistrano became an elected member of the Philippine assembly in 1909, and a senator of the Philippines from 1916 to 1919. Colonel Apolinar Velez became the governor of the undivided Province of Misamis from 1906 to 1909 and the mayor of Cagayan de Misamis from 1928 and 1931. Uldarico Akut became the mayor of Cagayan de Misamis from 1912 to 1916.