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Anthony Moses L.

Luna June 26, 2019


The Balangiga Massacre

The article begins with the current President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte,
mentioning in his SONA or State of the Nation Address the past event in Philippine history,
the Balangiga Massacre. The Massacre happened after the Philippine-American War. Once
the Americans claimed the country as a colony, it was obvious for the Filipinos to rebel
against them. The Balangiga Massacre occurred in the province of Samar. After the war, a
group of American soldiers were tasked to subdue the rebellion forces of the Filipinos. In
order to do this, the Americans thought of a plan to deprive the Filipinos of food and destroy
their properties. However, these American soldiers were indeed being friendly and gave off
an aura of true benevolence towards the Filipinos. And yet, all this changed when two
drunken Americans tried to molest a Filipina tending a store. The brothers of the girl
defended their little sister and beat up the soldiers. This was the supposed cause or the initial
root of the massacre. Because of this incident, the Americans decided to send a message to
the people of Balangiga. As a result, 143 Filipino men were forced to do labor for them
including added punishment such as deprivation of food and imprisonment. This led to the
people to feel anger towards the Americans. In order to get revenge on the foreign colonizers,
Valeriano Abanador, a native of Samar, created a plot to surprise attack the American forces.
The men of Balangiga ambushed the Americans at their sentry points, which drove back the
Americans and created peace in the province.

Though the plan was successful, the consequences were as dire as they could be. After
hearing about what happened in Samar, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt ordered for the
“pacification” of the province, and not just the city of Balangiga. U.S. General Jacob Smith
was tasked to lead this pacification. The general took his task with utmost seriousness and
ordered the soldiers to kill everyone over the age of 10. This massacre lasted for around 3
months of slaughter and depression. Balangiga was destroyed and the Americans took the
Balangiga bells from the church as a trophy, which to this day still has not been returned to
the Philippines. Despite the gruesome massacre, the Americans responsible, Major Waller
and General Smith, were simply court martialed. Waller was deemed innocent and Smith was
simply forced to retire from the American forces.

After reading about this horrible incident in Philippine history, a few things came to
mind. Firstly, this will be my view on the Filipinos during these events. One of these is that it
is reasonable to see the Filipinos rebel against the Americans. For me, they’re basically
proving that they wanted their independence, especially after 333 years of suffering from the
Spanish. Another view would be on how the two Filipinos defended their sister who was a
victim of sexual harassment. That is one of the things that Filipinos really value, which is
family. Lastly, on the Filipino side, for the sake of history, I believe that we should at least
attempt to get back the Balangiga church bells from the Americans. Yes, although the
Americans came out victorious in the war, they don’t deserve to have those bells as part of
their history.
This will now be my view on the Americans during the events. For me, it is amazing
how the Americans were nice to the natives instead of using war to subdue them. Even
though they had already gotten the country as part of their colony, they still treated the
natives as if they were indeed just friends. After the attempt of the two Americans on the poor
Filipina, I believe that the Americans should’ve taken into consideration on what their own
men did instead of just looking at what the Filipinos did. This would have been easily seen as
the fault of the two American soldiers and would have been sorted out in a day or two instead
of a three-month massacre. I, personally, just feel pure hate towards the punishment since it
was not reasonable to just kill everyone over the age of 10. It was just a brutal plan from
General Smith.