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POWs Release Dates (Read 6691 times)
Celso F. Aurelio
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POWs Release Dates
Aug 10th, 2005, 5:36pm
 
My late father's (Capt. H. V. Aurelio PS-45th Inf. Regt.) 'Memoirs' of Bataan and his subsequent  incarceration at Camp O'Donnell after surviving the Death March didn't mention when he was released from that Camp. Are there different release times for the regular PA and the Phil. Scouts units, being part and parcel of the US Army? If the war was still going , were there any conditions, made by the Japanese Military,  for their release?  

Thanks,

Celso F. Aurelio
Member, PSHS/ BBB

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Re: POWs Release Dates
Reply #1 - Aug 11th, 2005, 5:18am
 
My name is Urbano Quijance.  I was a member of Co. B, 1st Bn, 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, U.S.Army, years before the war broke out, and during and after WW II.  When WW II broke out I was a Sergeant on special duty at our 57th Infantry Regimental Headquarters with the S-3, Plans & Training Section (or Operations Section)….The 57th Inf was in Abucay, Bataan, assigned to defend by all means the highway entering Bataan peninsula from December 1942…About the middle of March 1942, I was recommended for battle-field commission as 2nd Lt…and I returned to my unit, Co. B, 57th Inf (PS), as Platoon Leader.…The night before the surrender on April 9…my platoon was encircled and had about two hours of exchange-firing with the enemy….[The next morning they were ordered to surrender]….That was the beginning of my participation with the "Death March".  On the 3rd day of the Death March, I was about to escape but when I was already on the ditch ready to run, I looked ahead of the column and I saw the Japanese guard aimed his rifle at me.  I ran back to the column and zigzag in-between the men. Fortunately, a Japanese officer yelled to the Japanese guard for reasons I do not know, and the guard stopped running after me. With only a canteen-of-water and a bowl-of-rice that I ate in one evening during the about one-week Death March…
 
I was POW at Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac in Group 6 (Clerk Group). where I almost lost my life because I was sick with  Malaria and dysentery.  In Camp O'Donnell, we Filipino POWs were in different groups.  There were Drivers Group, Farmers Group, Clerk Group, etc.  We Filipino-POWs were released, by provinces.  I was from Bayambang, Pangasinan.  My wife and the Mayor of our home-town met me at Dau-Train-Station, where we rode on a boxed-train with my co-Pangasinan POWs who were released on Sept. 27, 1942.

After 2 years of recuperation, I joined the Pangasinan Sabotage and Demolition Squadreon under Capt Ray Hunt, Jr.  I returned to U.S.Army military control in April 1945.  My commission was not confirmed because I told the truth that I was not sworn-in because we were encircled by the Japanese when I supposed to accept my commission.  But I went to OCS (Officer Candidate School) after I returned to military control and was commissioned 2nd Lt, AUS in April 1946.  I retired at Fort Lewis, WA.  I am a retired Major.

Urbano Quijance

Above is an edited version of a longer email from Major Quijance.  Editor
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Re: POWs Release Dates
Reply #2 - Aug 11th, 2005, 7:31am
 
The surrender of FilAm forces on Bataan took place on April 9, 1942 and the first of the Death March survivors arrived about April 14.  Later some of those captured on Corregidor were also placed at O'Donnell.

The death rate of Filipino prisoners was extremely high--around 50%.  Alarmed by the dismal public  relations of this, the Japanese simultaneously began paroling both PA and PS Filipinos to the governors of their home provinces.  This probably began about June and was completed before the end of the year.

The Japanese began moving Americans out on work details early on and around 9,000 had dwindled to 5,000 by early June.  By early July those remaining were about 1,200 severly ill or wounded and a few others to keep the camp functioning.  Shortly thereafter US Army medical personnel were moved in and conditions improved.  By October most were moved to Cabanatuan and the camp was deserted entirely in January.

Over 25,000 Filipino and 1,500 American prisoners died at O'Donnell.  Most of the deaths were due to diseases resulting from malnutrition and poor sanitation, especially poluted water.  The absence of adequate medication also contributed to the tragedy.

The definitive book on this is Col. John Olson's O'Donnell: Andersonville of the Pacific.  Ordering information is available on our website bibliography page.

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« Last Edit: Aug 11th, 2005, 8:39pm by Editor-at-Large »  

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Re: POWs Release Dates
Reply #3 - Aug 12th, 2005, 8:13am
 
Sorry!  I was unable to answer all the inquiries of the preceding e-mail about we Philippine Scouts (PS) who were POW during WW II in the Philippines (in which I was one of them).  
They were:  *No distinction between PS and PA POWs at Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac.  Therefore, the comment in the preceding e-mail that we PS were confined longer period than the PA POWs was not correct.  But we were housed separately in bambo-nepa-barracks by occupation and each occupation (or group) was numbered.  Example, Drivers group, Farmers group, Clerks group, etc.  I was in Clerks group, which was Group No. 6.  I do not know the group-numbers of the rest.  
                *Release schedule was by provinces or cities. With the elapse of time since 1942, I cannot tell the starting date of the release date but it could be in August 1942.   We were told that the first release would be with addresses in Manila and vicinity. Followed by provinces toward north or south from Manila.  Pangasinan was said to be the last group to be released which was on September 27, 1942, and I was one of them because my address was Bayambang, Pangasinan.
                *One of the conditions for our release was to report to the City/Town Mayor once a week.  That we were not authorized to join the guerilla.  The truth was, this was not complied with because some of the Mayors were also guerrillas.  For me, after two years of recuperation from malaria, I joined the guerrilla.
                *It should be noted that we Filipino POWs during WW II were paroled POWs by arrangement made by President Laurel (War-time Philippine government) with the Japanese authorities.  There was rumor that Japan wanted us to be conscripted into the Japanese Armed Forces, but President Laurel successfully blocked the idea/plan by telling Japan that if they issue arms to us (Filipino POWs) we would eventually use the arms issued to us to fight them.    

Thank you.  It is a pleasure for me to voluntarily give the information.  I hope I have answered the inquiries.

Urbano Quijance

Taken from a second email from Major Quijance.  

The Philippine Scouts, who were part of the U.S. Army, were encarcerated at O'Donnell  with Philippine Army prisoners over the protests of senior American officers, because the Japanese wanted to drive a wedge between Americans and Filipinos.  The senior officers in Filipino portion of O'Donnell were all Philippine Army, which sometimes resulted in less attention being paid to the needs of the Philippine Scouts.

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