The means of protest, however, changed - there were strikes, petitions to government officials, including the president, court cases against landlords, and even running for, and winning, local office. Although Pedro Abad Santos , the founder of the PSP, did not win a seat, his party became synonymous with the peasant movements and eventually with the Huks. His right-hand man was Luis Taruc , the future supreme commander of the Huks. Still, the peasants of Central Luzon fought against the Japanese for their own survival. The organized peasant movements of the s in Central Luzon set the conditions for organized resistance against the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, the organization became an underground political government  with a full-functioning military committee composed of 67 squadrons in
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The central Luzon plain is a rich agricultural area where a large peasant population worked as tenant farmers on vast estates. The visible contrast between the wealthy few and the poverty-stricken masses was responsible for periodic peasant revolts during the Spanish period of Philippine history.
During the s central Luzon became a focus for Communist and Socialist organizational activities. World War II brought matters to a head. Unlike many other Southeast Asians, the Filipinos offered strong resistance against the Japanese.
After the fall of Bataan to the Japanese April , organized guerrilla bands carried on the fight for the remainder of the occupation period. The Hukbalahap organization proved highly successful as a guerrilla group and killed many Japanese troops. The Huks regarded wealthy Filipinos who collaborated with the Japanese as fair targets for assassination, and by the end of the war they had seized most of the large estates in central Luzon.
They established a regional government, collected taxes, and administered their own laws. The returning U. Army was suspicious of the Huks because of their Communist leadership. Tension between the Huks and the Philippine government immediately arose over the issue of surrender of arms.
The Huks had gathered an estimated , rifles and were reluctant to turn them over to a government they regarded as oligarchic. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today Philippine independence from the United States was scheduled for July 4, An election was held in April for positions in the new government.
The Hukbalahap participated, and the Huk leader Luis Taruc won a seat in Congress but—along with some other Huk candidates—was unseated by the victorious Liberal Party. The Huks then retreated to the jungle and began their rebellion. The morale of government troops was low, however, and their indiscriminate retaliations against villagers only strengthened Huk appeal.
During the next four years, the Manila government steadily slipped in prestige while Huk strength increased. By the guerrillas were approaching Manila, and the Communist leadership decided the time was ripe for a seizure of power. The Huks suffered a crucial setback when government agents raided their secret headquarters in Manila. The entire Huk political leadership was arrested in a single night.
At the same time, Huk strength was dealt another blow when U. President Harry Truman, alarmed at the worldwide expansion of Communist power, authorized large shipments of military supplies to the Manila government. Another factor in the Huk defeat was the rise to power of the popular Ramon Magsaysay.
His election as president in signaled a swing of popular support back to the Manila government. In Taruc emerged from the jungle to surrender, and the Hukbalahap Rebellion, for all practical purposes, came to an end. The Huk movement and its leadership persisted, however, operating primarily from a stronghold in Pampanga province on Luzon Island.
With the failure of subsequent Philippine administrations to implement the long-promised land reforms, the Huks—although split into factions and, in some areas, merged with new insurgent groups—continued into the s as an active antigovernment organization. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
The Long View: Why revolts fail
Economic, social, and political inequities existed before the arrival of the Spanish, who further co-opted it into their own variety of mercantilism, and were perpetuated into the twentieth century by American policy. In , Spanish explorers landed in the Philippines christening the islands for their monarch, King Philip II and found a homegrown agricultural society that was easily adapted into their own encomienda system. Filipino landowners were disenfranchised and their tenant farmers were placed under the authority of the new landlords. Former native landlords were either retained by the Spanish to operate the haciendas for them, became sharecroppers themselves, or sought work elsewhere. Filipinos were quick to react to their loss of land ownership, additional taxes placed upon them by the Spanish, and their worsening economic condition. The first of numerous revolts against the Spanish broke-out in and was dealt with 3 in the manner of the times -- bloody retaliation.
The central Luzon plain is a rich agricultural area where a large peasant population worked as tenant farmers on vast estates. The visible contrast between the wealthy few and the poverty-stricken masses was responsible for periodic peasant revolts during the Spanish period of Philippine history. During the s central Luzon became a focus for Communist and Socialist organizational activities. World War II brought matters to a head. Unlike many other Southeast Asians, the Filipinos offered strong resistance against the Japanese. After the fall of Bataan to the Japanese April , organized guerrilla bands carried on the fight for the remainder of the occupation period. The Hukbalahap organization proved highly successful as a guerrilla group and killed many Japanese troops.
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