Inabanga Bohol: WW II
Inabanga Bohol suffered much from the hands of the Japanese during World War II. After Cebu surrendered and was occupied by Japanese forces in the early part of 1942, and the bombing of Getafe a few months after, Inabanga became a refuge of evacuees from Cebu and neighboring towns. Inabanga is the nearest point of Bohol across the Olango group of islands to Cebu City.
Most of the Cebuanos were Chinese and they occupied the abandoned homes of the town of Inabanga. There were also high government officials, national and provincial, who were in hiding in the rough heavily forested terrain in the outskirts of Inabanga.
After a lull in the attacks and a period of peace, the people came out from hiding and returned to their respective homes. They believed the Japanese would no longer invade Bohol and life in the town returned to normal. The people went back to their daily routine of tending the fields and raising crops and domesticated animals for food.
Time came when the town prepared for their fiesta which was in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul. As the usual practice, a beauty contest was launched in order to raise funds for further church improvement. On the 3rd week of June 1943, the last canvassing was held at the public emporium. It was well attended, mostly by thousands of supporters of each candidate.
At the height of the last balloting an undetermined number of unidentified men with white band on the head suddenly appeared. Most of them were Filipino undercover. A man grabbed the microphone while others, took hostage of each municipal official present, bolo battalion officers and prominent people of the town.
Other people scampered for safety and in the ensuing chaos, some were caught and held for questioning but were eventually released. The Japanese took over the town and occupied the Inabanga Central School. Check points were set-up. The Filipinos feared the Japanese and only a handful dared to face them.
This handful of Filipinos was surprised. The Japanese soldiers were not hostile. They were even friendly to the point of giving out packs of aki-buno cigarettes, rice, sardines, corned beef and more to the handful of people who passed by the check points. Eventually, news of the benevolence of the Japanese spread far and wide.
People started coming out from their hiding places and became friendly with the Japanese. Later, flyers were sent out to all bolo battalion officers calling for a meeting to find ways and means to establish peace and order in the town and to improve the economic condition of the people. All officers came and were ushered to the old municipal building.
Yet, no meeting was held. Instead, all were gang-chained and brought to the central school. By four, they were hanged one meter from the floor with both hands tied at their backs. They hanged there for one to two days without food and continuously beaten with a baseball bat.
The Japanese were after information on the whereabouts of Gov. Hilario Abellana of Cebu and Congressman Pedro Lopez and Dalaguete Mayor, Jose Almagro. Others were ordered to surrender any kind of firearms.
Some were killed when the lumber where they were tied gave way and broke. Some, who said that they have guns at home just to stop the beatings and were found without, were killed while the women were raped. Those who have only foodstuffs to surrender were released after hanging for two days.
A heavy patrol of Japanese and Filipino undercover, with local guides, were sent to the hiding places of the suspected Cebu officials. Finding no trace of the hunted persons, they massacred all they saw, including one of their guides. Massive and wanton destruction followed every occupation of the Japanese.
Because of the brutalities of the Japanese, the Boholanos retaliated and formed guerilla units to fight them. Many missions failed and some met with success. Four years under the Japanese were years of agony, pain and suffering; and the final liberation at the return of the American troops was greeted with great jubilation by all.