The central Luzon plain is a rich agricultural area where a large peasant population worked as tenant farmers on vast estates. The visible contrast between the wealthy few and the poverty-stricken masses was responsible for periodic peasant revolts during the Spanish period of Philippine history. During the s central Luzon became a focus for Communist and Socialist organizational activities. World War II brought matters to a head. Unlike many other Southeast Asians, the Filipinos offered strong resistance against the Japanese.
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The means of protest, however, changed - there were strikes, petitions to government officials, including the president, court cases against landlords, and even running for, and winning, local office. Although Pedro Abad Santos , the founder of the PSP, did not win a seat, his party became synonymous with the peasant movements and eventually with the Huks.
His right-hand man was Luis Taruc , the future supreme commander of the Huks. Still, the peasants of Central Luzon fought against the Japanese for their own survival. The organized peasant movements of the s in Central Luzon set the conditions for organized resistance against the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, the organization became an underground political government  with a full-functioning military committee composed of 67 squadrons in This event marks the moment when the peasant movement became a guerrilla army.
The Huks collected arms from civilians, gathered arms from retreating American and Filipino forces and prevented banditry. In the town of Talavera, Nueva Ecija alone, there were 3 squadrons, with about men each. The Huks were well received by the villagers and were seen as their protector from the abuses of the Japanese. Nationalism , empathy, survival, and revenge, all served as primary motives for the people to join.
Most of the landowners were collaborators during the Japanese occupation  and were no longer interested in tenant-farming. Furthermore, most of them had already moved to Manila during the war. Not only was life economically unsustainable for the Huks, their hardships were aggravated by the hostility and repression they experienced from the USAFFE soldiers, the Philippine Constabulary, and landlords.
Even the villagers were victimized: their properties were looted, food stolen and houses even burned in search of Huks who were possibly hiding in them. The Massacre of Squadron 77 was seen as a major act of hostility against the Huks which occurred in Malolos , Bulacan in February Furthermore, in February , the U. Counter Intelligence Corp USCIC decided that the only way to end in what they saw as "Huk domination of the area"  was to arrest the prominent leaders of the Hukbalahap.
There were almost 20 prominent leaders arrested, including the top two commanders of the Huks: Castro Alejandrino and Luis Taruc. Luis Taruc formally announced the end of the resistance movement. Four squadrons, consisting of about 2, men, were not recognized.
The Huks saw it as a divide-and-conquer tactic and decided not to accept anything from the government. Luis Taruc protested to MacArthur to stop the maltreatment of the Huks. Although at the top levels leaders were constantly negotiating with each other, the situation on the ground between the Huks and the US and Philippine forces was ripe for a full-scale rebellion. On the level of the fields there was open conflict".
There were "landowner-tenant disputes over high interest rates, loans, rent payments, and sharing agricultural expenses sometimes led to evictions.
But when harvest came, the promises were not kept. So the Huks decided to join politics again. At the national level, the PKM lobbied for the 60—40 division of harvest. The PKM lobbied for better relations between peasants and landlords, low interest loans from landowner, for the setting up of banks by the government, enactment of laws to protect peasants from landowners and small landowners from big landowners, and "justice for everyone regardless of social standing.
But despite their meager aims, harassment and abuses continued. Local police, military police, and even "civilian guards" intimidated, arrested, and even killed Huk veterans and PKM supporters. The six DA candidates won their seats in the Congress. Jose Topacio Nueno and upheld by a majority of the congress on grounds of election fraud and terrorism. The Philippine economy at this point had become very dependent on the US economy.
Had the unseated Congressmen voted, the controversial bill might not have been passed. Representatives such as Taruc, Alejandrino, and Juan Feleo would be accompanied by MP guards and government officials to try and pacify peasant groups, however this did not result in any sort of success. Within days of the so-called "truce", violence once again erupted in Central Luzon. Taruc, and others claimed that civilian guards and government officials were "sabotaging the peace process". Feleo was accompanied by his bodyguards and four barrio lieutenants, and he had planned to present them to the Secretary of the Interior Jose Zulueta to testify that their barrios were shelled by government forces for no reason at all, forcing them to evacuate.
Feleo and the four barrio officials were taken by the men and killed. In your hands rests the destiny of our miserable people and our motherland. Yours is the power now to plunge them into chaos and horrible strife, or pacify and unite them as brother Filipinos in the spirit of liberty. He then joined with the peasants and revived the Hukbalahap General Headquarters, beginning the Huk insurrection. On March 6, , Roxas outlawed the Hukbalahap. Five weeks later, Roxas succumbed to a heart attack.
The government eventually sought the military help of the United States. The rebellion lasted for years, with huge civilian casualties. It provided both an army against the civilian guards of the elites and the PC, and an underground government which was well known for "Huk justice". It continued to grow in strength and in the numbers of its soldiers and supporters, reaching its zenith in , when it had 12, soldiers and a mass base of 54, His successor, President Elpidio Quirino , had a more accommodating stand towards the Huks, but his failure to deliver fundamental land reforms and appease the Huks who had been victimized by the PC further intensified Huk demands.
On June 21, , President Quirino granted the Huks amnesty. But no matter how well the negotiations went in Manila, the continued fighting in the countryside affected them. Many Huks surrendered their arms unwillingly: as they understood it, the amnesty required only that they be registered.
Once the word spread of continued abuses, people no longer came to register their arms. On August 14, , negotiations fell apart. Quezon , as she was en route to her hometown for the dedication of the Quezon Memorial Hospital. Several others were also killed, including her eldest daughter and son-in-law.
This attack brought worldwide condemnation of the Huks, who claimed that the attack was done by "renegade" members, and justified further attacks by the Philippine Government. The decline is attributed to two main reasons: There was general weariness among the people from years of fighting. The few leaders that remained were now pursued by the army even in the mountains. Ultimately, the villagers became weary of supporting the Huks, or just saw them as irrelevant.
Major military offensives were launched and the army became innovative in pursuing the Huks in the mountains. Furthermore, the PCs stopped their abuses of the peasants, which further caused peasants to no longer see the need for "Huk justice". Women in the Hukbalahap Rebellion.
The Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines
Economic, social, and political inequities existed before the arrival of the Spanish, who further co-opted it into their own variety of mercantilism, and were perpetuated into the twentieth century by American policy. In , Spanish explorers landed in the Philippines christening the islands for their monarch, King Philip II and found a homegrown agricultural society that was easily adapted into their own encomienda system. Filipino landowners were disenfranchised and their tenant farmers were placed under the authority of the new landlords. Former native landlords were either retained by the Spanish to operate the haciendas for them, became sharecroppers themselves, or sought work elsewhere. Filipinos were quick to react to their loss of land ownership, additional taxes placed upon them by the Spanish, and their worsening economic condition. The first of numerous revolts against the Spanish broke-out in and was dealt with 3 in the manner of the times -- bloody retaliation.
First posted Mla time May 01, Manuel L. So they all failed. No insurrection had a popular character, or was based on a need of the whole race, or was fought for human rights or justice; so it left no ineffaceable impressions … when they saw that they had been duped, the people bound up their wounds and applauded the overthrow of the disturbers of their peace! But what if the movement springs from the people themselves and based its causes upon their woes?
The means of protest, however, changed - there were strikes, petitions to government officials, including the president, court cases against landlords, and even running for, and winning, local office. Although Pedro Abad Santos , the founder of the PSP, did not win a seat, his party became synonymous with the peasant movements and eventually with the Huks. His right-hand man was Luis Taruc , the future supreme commander of the Huks. Still, the peasants of Central Luzon fought against the Japanese for their own survival. The organized peasant movements of the s in Central Luzon set the conditions for organized resistance against the Japanese.
The Long View: Why revolts fail
After its inception, the group grew quickly and by late summer claimed to have 15, to 20, active men and women military fighters and 50, more in reserve. In areas that the group controlled, they set up local governments Sandatahang Tanod ng Bayan, Barrio United Defense Corps and instituted land reforms, dividing up the largest estates equally among the peasants and often killing the landlords. In some cases, however, landlords were welcomed as participants in Huk resistance, swayed by anti-Japanese sympathies. Many of these women fought, but the majority of the resistance remained in villages, collecting supplies and intelligence. The Japanese conducted two counterattacks against the Huks, on September 6 and December 5,
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