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When fighting a superpower

By Cong Corrales

TODAY in the history of the Republic, Filipino war tacticians decided to dissolve the Army of the First Republic and adopted guerrilla warfare which ultimately defeats the invading American colonizers.

 According to the US War Department Report, 1900, Volume I, p. 59 of The American Occupation of the Philippines by James Blunt, in Nov. 12, 1899, a war council convened in Bayambang, Pangasinan, attended by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and other prominent Filipino military leaders, resolved that the regular Army of the First Republic had been incapable of offering resistance.

 “A resolution was adopted to the effect that the Army was incapable of further resistance in the field, and as a consequence, it was decided to disband the army, the generals and their men to return to their provinces, with a view to organizing the people for general resistance by means of guerrilla warfare,” the report reads in part.

 The Salt Lake Herald in its Nov. 14, 1899 issue reports: “President Emilio Aguinaldo himself was under siege in Pangasinan Province from three pursuing American generals, from the north by Brig. Gen. Loyd Wheaton, from the south by Brig. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, Jr., and from the east by Maj. Gen. Henry Lawton.”

 Logistically and tactically overwhelmed, the First Republic’s regular battalions and regiments broke into tactical teams which waged the most persistent and effective guerrilla fighting units in the years to come.

They did away their uniforms and blended as “non-combatant peasants interrupted in agricultural pursuits, with invariable protestations of friendship,” Blunt wrote.

“It formed guerrilla units that would carry on the war unconventionally, relying on ambush, concealment, and the avoidance of set-piece battles,” The Salt Lake Herald report reads.

Filipinos today would do well to cull lessons from this. Especially so, when there has been an influx of Chinese coming into the country. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in last year alone, there have been more than a million Chinese who came to the country holding alien employment permits.

The Department of Labor and Employment reported that from 2005 to 2018 the alien employment permits they have issued have grown by 24 times. In a June 17, 2019 report by the Rappler: “Many of these Chinese workers, however, enter the country using a tourist’s visa and they either apply for work visas or simply overstay their welcome.”

Now, what is the connection with First Republic’s decision to adopt guerrilla warfare to the rise of entry of Chinese workers in the country? It may be far-fetched to you but my usually paranoid mind tells me this wave of Chinese workers could be a sort of “silent invasion.”

It is an invasion right in front of our very eyes.

The persistent and continuous schisms between Filipino fisherfolk and Chinese Navy in and around the West Philippine Sea is a piece of information I cannot ignore. This “soft” entry of supposed Chinese workers and tourists could well be an advance party to incapacitate our Republic’s capital.

The President has repeatedly said in his speeches that war against China is inutile since China is a rising power. Hence, my analogy of the decision of Filipino war tacticians 120 years ago today. Fighting a conventional war against a superpower will lead to our capitulation as a sovereign nation. However, adopting guerrilla warfare might just give us a chance.


About Cong Corrales

Before joining the Gold Star Daily, Cong worked as the deputy director of the multimedia desk of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and before that he served as a writing fellow of Vera Files. Under the pen name "Cong," Leonardo Vicente B. Corrales has worked as a journalist since 2008. Corrales has published news, in-depth, investigative and feature articles on agrarian reform, peace and dialogue initiatives, climate justice, and socio-economics in local and international news organizations, which which includes among others: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business World, MindaNews,, Agence France-Presse, Xinhua News Wires, Thomson-Reuters News Wires,, and Pecojon-PH.

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