Guerrilla Unit Recognition Files, 1942-1948

Digitization

The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Filipino War Veterans Foundation (FILVET) and Mr. Francisco Licuanan whose father was an officer in the Philippine Commonwealth Army of the United States Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) funded a project team to go to the U.S. National Archives and digitize the records of the Philippine Collection in 2015. The goal was to bring back a copy to the Philippine and make known the guerrillas’ heroic contributions during World War II (WWII) thereby promoting pride and nationalism.

The Guerrilla Unit Recognition File records composed of 270 boxes were digitized resulting in around 270,000 scanned records. These records will be an integral part of the Mt. Samat Center for WWII Studies and known as the BGen Francisco Licuanan Jr. Memorial Collection. PVAO manages the files. They contain names of Filipinos who did not surrender and became guerrillas after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Civilians and Americans also joined or formed guerrilla units. Their untold stories are in their files and now provides information never known before.

Few Filipino researchers and historians have been able to access the records due to the location of the records. The crumbling records were found in the U.S. National Archives by Marie Silva Vallejo, a historical researcher, who was looking for what her father did during the war. Her father, Lt. Col. Saturnino Silva, US Army, was an officer in the 1 st Filipino Infantry Regiment formed in the United States.

The original goal was to digitize the entire Philippine Collection composed of 1665 boxes. With the project funded enough for 4 months, the team was able to digitize only the Guerrilla Unit Recognition Files composed of 270 boxes. Hopefully a Phase II will continue the project to digitize additional records to get a more complete story of that sad but courageous period of WWII in the Philippines.