Simeona Punsalan-Tapang also known as “Lola Mameng” and “Kumander Guerrero” is regarded as the last-living highly-ranked female commander of the anti-Japanese group Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap).
Simeona came froma peasant family that owned a small land in San Simon, Pampanga. Her father was a farmer and fisherman who actively participated in the peasant coalition of their town. His politics heavily influenced Simeona. Before the Second World War, she was an organizer for Katipunang Pambansa ng mga Magsasaka sa Pilipinas (KPMP).
During the war, she fought the Japanese in Central Luzon during World War II when she was just a young adult where she acquired her name “Kumander Guerrero”. She was involved in several military battles, planned combat operations and led her squadron in raids to secure ammunition and other supplies from the enemy.
She served the guerrilla group as a captain of the Squadron No. 104 from November 1942 to December 1943 before being promoted to major in 1944 under the 1st Regiment, Second Battalion Staff, Regional Command No. 7. She fought in the successful Battle of Mandili in Candaba, Pampanga, in 1944 and commanded her battalion in several skirmishes in Arayat, Pampanga. Her Husband Pablo Tapang was also a member of the Huk but he was slain in the Candaba operations on 1948.
In 2014, she was given a special citation during the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awards (MOKA) night by the Provincial Government of Pampanga, for her contribution in attaining freedom for the country amid great risk to her life and family. She died on June 30, 2015 at the age of 92.
Lanzona, Vina. 2009. Amazons of the Huk Rebellion: Gender, Sex and Revolution in the Philippines. Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press.
Lanzona, Vina. 2009. “Capturing the Huk Amazons: Representing Women Warriors in the Philippines, 1940s–1950.” Southeast Asia Research 17 (2): 133-174.
Ms. Joahnna Paula Corpuz