To celebrate the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Ising, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) conducted a web-seminar discussing one of the most decisive battles against the Japanese Imperial Army in Mindanao on 06 May 2021.
Despite its historical significance, the Battle of Ising remains to be one of the lesser known parts of the country’s long and rich military history. Hence, Ms. Marie Silva-Vallejo, daughter of World War II Veteran Maj. Saturnino R. Silva Sr., was invited to give a commemorative talk about the battle in one of the episodes of the KAGITINGAN Webinar Series.
Ms. Silva-Vallejo discussed the background and some of the unknown facts about the Battle of Ising. Also featured in the discussion were testimonies of some of the living survivors of the battle:
“There were no Americans there in Ising. The Americans were there in the air with their fighter planes. We were on the ground.”
-Pvt. Francisco Gallo
“We dug foxholes… built a tunnel. The high tide reached our lair… piece of wood there to lie down… so our backs would not be wet. Ising fighting was day and night. Our food came all the way from the rear…”
-Pvt Lucio Montecerin
Seeing that the story of the Battle of Ising is barely mentioned in locally written books and materials, PVAO Administrator USec. Ernesto Carolina emphasized in his speech the importance of preserving and propagating the stories and testimonies of our war veterans.
“These records manifest that our Filipino veterans were much more involved in the country’s liberation campaigns than what we are often led to believe,” USec Carolina said.
Likewise, Guest of Honor Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles urged educators to help edify the younger generation about the implication of the battle to the present time. He believes that, through these stories, children would know more about valor, courage, and greatness.
“As we continue our battle against this COVID-19 pandemic, with many close to losing hope, we find inspiration in the retelling of the Battle of Ising. The search for meaning and understanding with everything that is happening now, we look to our forebears for courage and a way to fight on and soldier on,” Sec. Nograles stated.
Carmen, Davao Del Norte Mayor Hon. Virginia J. Perandos, and Davao Del Norte Governor Hon. Edwin I. Jubahib both sent their salutations for our Mindanaoan veterans through recorded messages. They also encouraged the public to remember that the freedom we have today is the result of our veterans’ selfless sacrifices.
Known as one of the bloodiest battles against the Japanese invaders in Mindanao, the Battle of Ising played a crucial role in the eventual surrender of the enemy forces. The 130th Infantry Regiment’s three battalions, consisting of over 1,500 men, occupied a defense perimeter across Ising River, Camen, Davao from an enemy attack by seizing a network of pillboxes, trenches, land mines, mortars, machine guns, sniper watchtower and an airfield. Commanded by Maj. Saturnino R. Silva Sr., the 130th Infantry Regiment attacked over 2,000 enemies and the Japanese first line of defense, halting the Japanese from occupying northern Davao and Agusan. The battle prevented the Japanese from escaping through the Davao-Agusan road and forced them to retreat to the hills, hastening the liberation of Mindanao from the Japanese Forces.