Mission Statement of  P.A.W.C.I. 

On the occasion of the Centennial Anniversary, it is the mission of PAWCI to present this centennial web page 
1. To commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the Philippine conflict that broke on February 4, 1899 and to last until 1913, a conflict that has been buried from the history of the Philippines and its its people. 
2. To present an interpretative account of the history of the Philippine-American War using simple charts, tables, diagrams, and photos.
3. To assert the following historical claims -That in carrying out an undeclared war, the United States divided the Philippines into two fronts, namely: 
  • The Christian front (covering Aguinaldo's Luzon and Visayas forces) that was officially closed on July 4, 1902. 
  • The Muslim front (covering various Moros tribes in Mindanao and Sulu) that was considered "pacified" only in 1913. 
This "divide-and-conquer" strategy is clearly evidenced by the signing of the Bates Treaty between the United States and the Sultan of Jolo on August 20, 1899, at the very height of the Philippine-American War. 
4. To present an analysis that within the independence movement led by Emilio Aguinaldo, there was also a silent religious struggle led by Rev. Fr. Gregorio Aglipay to emancipate the native priests from racial and intellectual descrimination instituted by the Spanish friars which would mean separating the Church from the control of Rome or the Pope. This struggle would eventually lead to the creation of the Independent Church of the Philippines. 
5. To present some lessons that could be learned from the war, such as the following: 
  • The essence of diplomacy in trying to resolve conflicts. Realizing the military might of the U.S. after series of defeats in the battlefields, Aguinaldo used diplomatic means to allow the Filipino army to retire with dignity. But the unbending demand for unconditional surrender by General Elwell Otis was too humiliating for Aguinaldo and his army. 
  • The factionalism and rivalry among Filipinos while fighting a common enemy was self-destructive of them, albeit their knowledge on the military disadvantage from their enemy. If the Aguinaldo-Luna power struggle [Aguinaldo-Bonifacio during the earlier revolution days] was motivated by their "survival of the fittest" instinct, this was shortsightedness if not fatalistic on their part, for it only weakened their cause and sealed their defeat in the hands of their enemy. 
  • The unilateral abbrogation of the Bates-Sultan of Jolo Treaty by the United States upon recommendation of General Leonard Wood when he became the Military-Governor of Jolo, for reasons that the treaty was a hindrance to effective administration of the Morolands, is something that the Philippines should be learn and be careful in dealing with the United States most especially in signing future treaties. 
6. To remind everyone that there are open issues of the Philippine-American War that are worth discussing and debating, such as the following: 
  • The propriety of using the 'Bells of Balangiga', a well-known war booty, as a war memorial for the dead U.S. soldiers by their comrades. 
  • The title "Philippine Insurrection", a humiliating and downgraded title of the Philippine conflict. The U.S. may not understand the feeling of the Filipinos on this issue but would simply ask: "what's in the name?"  As vanquished people the Filipinos have nothing except their pride and dignity, and if this humiliation persist it is tantamount to denying justice and recognition to their forefathers and ancestors for their sacrifices in fighting an honorable war for independence. 
  • U.S. century-old denial or 'silence' on the Philippine war atrocities. To inflict almost half a million war casualties, clean their dirty act, and leave with their hands clean is itself a big victory for the U.S. 
  • The immorality behind Spain's desperate act of selling of the Philippines to the United States for $20 Million when Spain had already lost control of the Philippines to both the U.S. (controled Manila only by virtue of Peace Protocol) and the Filipinos (controlled the rest of the Christian archipelago), at the time the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898. 
  • The dismantling by the U.S. of the centuries-old Sultante of Sulu, a once-powerdul and influencial power of the Sulu Archipleago.
  • The failure of the U.S. to carefully supervise the drafting of the Constitution of the Philippine Commonwealth Government in order to safeguard the rights of the Moro people over their ancestral lands. This oversight would later on be realized when the Moro people openly rebelled against the Philippine governments over the issue of ancestral lands and self-determination.
7. To create and bring awareness among Filipinos to give importance to all commemorative anniversaries relating to the Philippine-American Wars equal to that of the Philippine Independence celebrations. There is no question about the historical significance of the June 12, 1898 Declaration of the Philippine Independence, but if one were asked: which Philippine flag is heavier, the flag that was raised at Kawit, Cavite by Emilio Aguinaldo, or the flag that was soaked with blood and tears of thousands of Filipinos during the 42-month independence war? 
In their search for national identity and character, the Filipinos must re-examine their 'form' to ascertain that such is filled with 'substance.'  This 'form' is symobilized in their Declaration of the Philippine Independence, while they seem to fail to grasp the real 'substance' of their national character as exemplified in the bravery and willingness of their forefathers to fight and give up their lives for an honorable independence war. 
Certainly, the rich history of the Philippine-American War have defined the national identity and character of the Filipino. But until the history of the war is seriously taught in the Philippine educational curriculum, the Filipino people will be confronted by a perpetual search for their national identity. 
8. To introduce the Retaliation Theory , a new theory that may shed more light on the truth on the Balangiga Massacre that occured on September 27, 1901. Most history books describes the incident as pure 'treachery' of the Filipinos without looking into the underlying motive that propelled the courage of the bolo -yeilding Samarenos to confront the Americans. In John Foreman's  book titled "Philippine Islands" published in 1906, he wrote
    "In January, 1901, the cry of rebellion was raised by one Pedro Samson, whose band of Boholanos, augmented by levies from Leyte, Samar, and Panay Islands numbered about 2,000." 
Connecting  the above acount to the Lonoy Massacre (Lonoy, Jagna, Bohol)  of March 10, 1901 a separate incident from a not too far distant island of Bohol, where the Americans ambushed and killed 406 "insurrectos" led by Capt. Gregorio Casenas leaving only a few survivors, when they  pretended to be dead,  to tell their stories --that the Americans had no intention of  taking any prisoners.

Based on strong kinship among Filipinos, could it be possible that the Balangiga Massacre was a joint retaliatory  measure by the Samarenos and Leytenos to avenge their fallen brothers in the Lonoy Massacre?


About the website author: 
René N. Sumodobila/ 
Insurrecto Boholano 
Title  Executive Director, Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative (PAWCI) 
Profession  Civil Engineer 
Hobbies  Philippine History, Appropriate Rural Technology, Environment 

Rene Sumodobila on OlympiaRené N. Sumodobila on the deck of the USS Olympia during his visit to the historic battleship in October 1998, to pay respect to the living monument of the historic Battle of Manila Bay. The USS Olympia's guns reminds many of  Commodore Dewey's famous order: "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." But for the website author there is bigger significance in touching those guns --to be reminded of President Theodore Roosevelt's chilling words: 

"The guns of our warhips have awakened us to new duties. We are to face with our destiny, and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For ours is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness of striving mighty; let us rather run the risk of wearing out rather than rusting out." 

Olympia in Philadelphia, PA - 1998The USS Olympia the ship that changed the course of Philippine history. It was Commodore George Dewey's flagship of the U.S. naval fleet that destroyed the Spanish Asiatic naval fleet under Admiral Patricio Montojo at the historic Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 during the brief Spanish-American War. This historic naval engagement started the U.S. involvement in the Philippines. 
USS Olympia - full lengthThe USS Olympia . [Photo by Ron Ziel in his book Birth of the American Century: Centennial History of the Spanish-American War , New York: Amereon House, c.1997.] 
Olympia - built 1893 in San Francisco, CAThe USS Olympia was built in San Francisco, California in 1893. The historic battleship is presently berthed at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For a U.S. Naval Institute photo of the USS Olympia as it looked in 1899, visit the following URL: 




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Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative (PAWCI)