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Friday, January 22, 2010

Alimodian’s Share of the War

         Another officer who died in the hands of the enemy was Lt. Cornelio Salarda, assistant regimental adjutant of the 65th Infantry Regiment stationed in Barbaza, Antique. He was with his senior officer Capt. Gil Mijares. The enemy was able to capture a lot of valuable and telltale records and documents that the S1 Section had custody of. It was reported that the barbarous enemy tortured them horribly and brutally to extract precious information from them. But they steadfastly refused to cooperate even as they bore the inhumane tortures inflicted upon them stoically and heroically. They pleaded that they be treated as prisoners of war, but the savage Japanese practically mangled the bodies of their captives to death, with bayonets and slashes of their samurai swords.
         Lt. Esperidion Amuan of Barangay Sulong, Alimodian died of mortal wounds inflicted by the enemies while participating in the attack of Mojin and Pipi in Tigbauan, Iloilo on March 13, 1945. While courageously leading his men, scrambling up against a strongly defended enemy emplacement, he was killed by a direct hit of the enemy’s knee mortar shell.
        Two days later, after a TE DEUM mass officiated by a ranking Roman priest evacuee at Major Manikan’s battalion CP, he was buried with military honors at the Tigbauan just five days after he was killed in action.
        Alimodian was popular during the war years because it was the center of evacuation of civilians from the city. It was in Barangay Balabago that the first ambush led by Col. Peralta, overall commander of the Panay Guerilla, took place on May 7, 1942. It was in Barangay Dalid where Col. Julian Chavez, 63rd Regimental Commander, established his Command Post preparatory to the landing of the American Forces in Tigbauan.
        It was also in Alimodian where the 63rd Regimental Hospital, headed by then Capt. Alejandro Nery Cruz, MD, was established. It was housed in the old central school building, now the site of the Alimodian Water District and Kilusang Bayan for Credit and the Municipal Library.
        It was in Alimodian also where the first US navy pilot, Ensign William G. Shackleford was safely brought after he forced landed in Barrio Bangkal, Tigbauan, Iloilo due to engine trouble. It was during the air raid of Iloilo City on September 13, 14 and 24, 1944 when he made the forced landing.
        Luckily, he was saved by the guerilleros and civilians and they were able to dismantle the six .50 caliber machine guns and hundreds of ammunitions before the arrival of the Japanese soldiers. The plane was burned by Ensign Shackleford by firing a tracer bullet.
        Ensign Shackleford was brought by Lt. Marcelo Tolentino to their command post in San Inocencio Street. Guerilleros and civilians welcomed and treated him as a hero. That incident boosted the morale of the people as it was a proof that aid was already coming to the Philippines.
        He autographed some emergency notes, handed to him by those who were present. In turn he distributed chewing gums and candies. He was treated with sumptuous food by the Segovia sisters, Luisa, Carolina and Maria, evacuees from the city.
        A contingent of the American forces arrived in Alimodian on March 19, 1945, a day after their landing in Tigbauan, Iloilo. They were met by Capt. Alejandro Nery Cruz and brought to the Command Post of Col. Julian Chavez.
        It was in the mountains of Alimodian where the Japanese soldiers retreated when the American Forces landed on March 18, 1945.

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