The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) opened today a new museum that recognizes the heroism and valor of our World War II guerrillas.
In a ceremony this morning, the NHCP inagurated the Museo ng Gerilya sa Sorsogon, located inside Sorsogon East Central School in Sorsogon City, and turned it over to local Department of Education (DepEd) officials who will manage the museum.
NHCP chairperson Dr. Rene Escalante, Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Deputy Speaker Rep. Evelina Escudero, Sorsogon City Mayor Ma. Ester Hamor and DepEd Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo graced the opening of the museum.
According to NHCP history researcher Eufemio Agbayani III, the Museo ng Gerilya sa Sorsogon features displays and artifacts that include weapons, ammunition, helmets, facsimiles of documents, and currencies issued by the Second Japanese Republic and the different guerrilla groups that operated in the country during World War II.
The Bamban Museum of History and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) donated most of the documents and artifacts displayed.
Visitors can also watch a seven-minute audio-visual presentation about the history of the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement in Sorsogon and the Philippines. Documentary filmmaker Bani Logroño made the AVP based on a script that historians Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua and Van Ybiernas developed.
The Museo ng Gerilya sa Sorsogon is housed inside a Gabaldon-type school building that was built during the American colonial era. The NHCP undertook renovation of the school building last year and completed it within 240 calendar days at a cost P14.9 million.
The opening of the Museo ng Gerilya sa Sorsogon comes after the country commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Leyte Landings and the Battle of Leyte Gulf that occurred from Oct. 22 to 26, 1944. Several anti-Japanese guerrilla groups were instrumental in the success of the landings.
According to Chua, there were two rival anti-Japanese guerrilla groups in Sorsogon during World War II. One was led by Escudero’s grandfather, former Sorsogon governor Salvador Escudero, Jr. while the other was led by former Philippine Constabulary officer Maj. Licerio Lapuz.
The guerrillas were responsible for sabotaging Japanese military and Makapili activities in the province before the American campaign to liberate the Philippines.
When the Americans landed in Legazpi on April 1, 1945, the guerrillas provided intelligence on Japanese troop movements and helped clear the coast of obstructions and resistance.