General Malvar did not surrender
This refers to the article titled “Ola, not Malvar, was last general to surrender, say sons” (Regions, 9/22/16).
Ordinarily, the family of Gen. Miguel Carpio Malvar ignores such reports. But in this case, the report makes snide remarks on the integrity of historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo. Allow us to comment on the article.
The family of Gen. Macario Sakay claims that General Sakay was the last Filipino general to surrender to the American forces in the Fil-American war.
Lately, the sons of Gen. Simeon Arboleda Ola claimed that their father was the last Filipino general to surrender.
The Malvar family does not dispute their claims. However, it is time to put the matter in the proper perspective and correct context.
The historical archives show that when Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and his forces were captured by the American forces and his immediate successor, General Mariano Trias gave up on March 15, 1901, General Aguinaldo, upon the urging of the Comite General Filipino, issued a proclamation to the people and the Philippine Army that Gen. Miguel Malvar would assume the office of supreme commander in order to give unity and cohesion to the military operations and to show the Americans that the war had not ended.
The American forces could not defeat nor capture General Malvar. They could not penetrate his headquarters located at a very high vantage point of the dense Mount Makiling.
As in all wars, frustrations rose and bred violence. The American forces began harassing the civilian population, routinely picking up Filipino males even as young as 12 and accusing them of being spies of General Malvar. There were instances of grave torture.
Meantime, the head of the American forces, Gen. Franklin Bell, was under great pressure from his superiors in the American mainland for an early end of the war. American business interests were getting very impatient. Under the state of war, business could not flourish.
General Bell sent an emissary to General Malvar with the offer of immediate general amnesty for him and his command, as well as a firm assurance to investigate and end the atrocities against the civilians.
General Malvar could no longer stand the violence being perpetrated on the civilian population. Thus, he sent back word to General Bell that he was accepting the offer to end the war.
On April 15, 1902, General Malvar and his men went down Mount Makiling. There is a newspaper photograph of General Bell and General Malvar shaking hands. The photograph shows a crowd watching the occasion with the women in the crowd in festive attire. It is evident from the picture that there was not even an indication of a token surrender of firearms.
The shaking of the hands by the highest American government official and the highest designated Philippine government official officially ended the war.
Gen. Miguel Malvar did not surrender. He entered into a peace agreement. But the newspaper gave the occasion the spin of victory by calling the occasion a “surrender.”
JOSE M. MALVAR, grandson
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