Friday, November 23, 2007


The entire enemy situation in Mindanao, southernmost of the principal island in the Philippines, was altogether different from that elsewhere in the archipelago. Mindanao had always been looked on as the backdoor of the island in the event that the military forces on Luzon were ever forced to capitulate. It served this backdoor rule, thanks to the guerillas, very successfully.

Banditry before Occupation

Before the coming of the Japanese troops in Tukuran, Moro from Kalibaw, Karomatan (Municipality of Sultan Naga Dimaporo) used to raid Tukuran. Able-bodied men in the community made a foxhole within the premises of Tukuran Primary School (TCES) to defend Tukuran from the enemy.[1] Muslims and even Christian bandits always landed the place. They looted and killed civilians after they got the things they desire. They continued to be the enemy of the people even when the Japanese came.[2] It must be noted that Tukuran was part of jurisdiction of the Pagadian Guerilla. People were forced to evacuate the place because the Moro from Lanao took advantage of the condition. They took away the properties of the people living in the place. Many lives and properties were lost in the course of struggle. All the things, which the Moros did not bring, were burnt. Some Christians were caught captives in their attempt to get their belongings at night.[3]

The bandits had been a problem of the soldiers. With this marauding activity, the soldier’s attention was divided.

Series of Submarine Landing

The first contact with the American officers was on March 5, 1943 when the U.S. Submarine Tambor docked in Tukuran Zamboanga with supplies. Tukuran Primary School served as a headquarters. The supplies were arms and ammunitions, intelligent aids, radio technicians, equipment and psychological warfare materials. On board the submarine were Charles M. Smith and Commodore Charles Parson. The American officer informed Australia about the location of Tukuran as a good docking site.[4]

News from Danlugan part of Pagadian stated the coming of a submarine, at about ten in the morning, the telescope of the submarine was visible but the whole part was still underwater.[5] According to Catedrilla:

We were almost 2000, including the Officers, Bolo Battalion and voluntary workers the submarine appeared and its sides slowly opened. Officers and voluntary workers boarded a sakayan a hand-powered boat to carry the ammunition from the submarine to the shore. The submarine itself had also booty that served as an artery. People hauled night and day. We happened to unlock a box of ammunition and it surprised us that it did not only contain warfare but also of foods, clothing and personal hygiene. All successive docking contain similar things. [6]

Many of the ammunitions were spilled on the water because Americans carelessly turned over the box of ammunition that a Filipino can hardly carry while discharging ammunitions to the shore.[7] Teachers from Tukuran Primary School evacuated the books because the rooms will be used as headquarters and storage house. People from different places like Aurora, Ozamiz, Molave, Kapatagan and other neighboring places gathered to haul the ammunition. Firearms like Thompson, Garan, Automatic rifles, machine guns, and caliber 45 pistols; foods like biscuits, candies, and chocolate bars; cigarettes like Sister field, Camel, and Lucky Strike; canned goods like corned beef and Target; and clothing like t-shirts, rain coats, fatigue pants and shirt, all imported from U.S.A. where among the supplies.[8]

These ammunitions were in the box that had an approximation of one-meter length, 60-cm. widths, and 80-cm. heights. It took a month to haul and distribute the ammunitions.[9] Ammunitions from the Lambayong now barangay Panduma was transported to Tukuran Primary School where it was unloaded and deposited. There were so many of these that the school building gave up.[10]

At 5:30 p.m of June 1,1944 a U.S. submarine Nonford surfaced and unloaded supplies in Tukuran. Arms and ammunitions, machine guns, mortars, medicines, orange t-shirts, carbine in box of about 20 pieces, bullets in box that took four person to carry, revolvers that were packed in wire and barrels of fuel were unloaded. All soldiers were required to help in hauling of supplies including those of the Bolo Battalion. The trails they were going to pass were heavily guarded to prevent the soldiers from escaping the laborious tracks. Sometimes personal necessity was not considered as an excuse because the officials were afraid that one would run away. They were grouped into three to five persons. Many got sick of the said hauling due to lack of food, rest and exhaustion.[11] According to Napoleon Cabrales:

Those ammunitions that were not distributed were hidden in the rice paddies (Curvada rice field and Sitio Guay) specially the barrels of oil to prevent them from enemies eye. Most of the clothing were oversized some of the volunteers and officers looted the box. They had no compensation at all. Nevertheless, the boxes were so numerous that these looted boxes cannot be detected.

Later ammunition was distributed to two depots. Depot 1 is in the house of Tornito in Camanga while depot 2 is in the house of Reyes of Luy-a. The reason behind this is to hasten the distribution and to protect the supply from the Japanese.[12]

Another submarine Notorious landed on June 5, 1944 four days after Nonford landed. They again unloaded supplies. Hauling took only a short time because there was news that the Japanese were already in Tubod, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. Everybody become restless. Officers and soldiers fled to their respective companies and returned to their positions.[13]

On July 12,1944 at about 5:30 a.m. Tukuran was occupied by the Japanese without resistance from the soldiers. They were surprised by the sudden attack. Many almost lost their lives in their attempt to escape.[14] As to the accounts of Ponciano Navales:

When the Japanese on July 12, 1944 attacked Tukuran, people were very surprised. Pvt. De La Cerna and I were in the post at Curvada crossing as radio operators. Shots coming from the plane hit the checkpoint in which we staff. There we jumped to the tuna-an a muddy pool to save our lives.

In Military people had already evacuated when the invaders came. The Japanese put their houses to ashes. As the guerilla retreated from the headquarter-school civilians were informed to evacuate, those people in the sitios managed to escape. However, civilians in further sitios were not informed and were very much surprised. They ran with their crumpled mats, ‘caban’ a wooden box filled with clothing, uncooked rice supposedly intended for the morning meal, bayong, a basket with foods and any other thing that they could possibly take.[15] The mountains of Camanga were served as refuge to the civilians. The forests gave a welcome to the tired people for safety and peace. In addition, arms and ammunitions were brought hidden. People used to cook without salt because no one dared to make salt processing in the beach. The Ilocano in Tukuran fled to San Isidro, a part of Pulacan, an Ilocano community. Some did not manage to bring rice for consumption. Farmers could sell the rice products outside because of the war. The evacuees passed on man-made trails that served as a hindrance to bring more food supply. They tried their best not to spend money because of the crisis condition.[16]

The Japanese stayed in the plains not in swampy areas for they had a hard time in walking in the mud due to their bell legged legs.[17]

Liberation Period

In the morning of January 25, 1945, at about 11 o’clock, a U.S. plane, Santa Catalina, landed at Tukuran beach and unloaded supplies for the movement. On the same day, officers were sent to Pagadian to check the beach defense to ensure the security of the U.S. boats. The wife of officer Benedicto was an American and was among who met and welcomed the Americans boarding the Sta. Catalina plane a sea plain.[18] American planes, in V-formation were seen in the sky on liberation time.[19] Tukuranons were very happy seeing the planes flying in the sky. In gradual the displaced people returned to the place . They started to fix the abandoned houses and began to live in peace. The destructed school building was constructed by the people in preparation of the school opening. Many of the Tukuranon sons and daughters enrolled in the higher age.[20]

Deacade 1950s

Teniente del Barrio Alfonso Lahaylahay resumed his office after the war. In early 1950’s, Felomino Villamero became teniente del Barrio of Tukuran. Villamero, a resident of Tukuran became a mayor in Labangan after the death of Mayor Zulieta.[21]

Because of increasing people allured by the abundance of Tukuran seas, and the repatriation of the displaced Tukuranons during the war, the population increased into its considerable size. Mayor Villamero of the town of Labangan thought of making Tukuran pondered that Tukuran should become a municipality since it had the desired population size for a municipality and in order to avail the benefits given by the government to the municipality. Villamero and Felix Ocampo went to Malacanang to have the papers, as sponsored by the provincial board by the Resolution 968, signed by the President. [22]

Creation of the Municipality

A special session of Zamboanga del Sur, held at Pagadian on October 2, 1958 was held with the presence of Hon. Bienvinedo A. Ebarle- the provincial governor, Hon. Agustin S. Fausto-the provincial board member and Hon. Leonardo N. Zulueta- the provincial board member making the Resolution no. 968 recommending Tukuran into a regular municipality. The resolution no.968 was quoted by the researchers:

The clamor of the inhabitants of Barangay and Sitios of Tukuran later became (Brgy. Sto. Nino on the east and San Carlos on the west), Militar (present Brgy. plus Sitio Bomba), Tagulo (present coastal Brgy. Tagulo), Sugod (present coastal Brgy. Sugod), Labuyo, Pictoran, Pilas (part of Brgy. Curvada), Buay (part of Curvada), Bayao Eastern (present Brgy. Upper Bayao and Lower Bayao), San Vicente (part of Brgy. Camanga on the former point of San Vicente Chapel and known to have a miraculous icon of San Vicente), Liason, Lower Laperian (Brgy. Laperian), Libertad (Brgy. Libertad) Nueva Asturias, Sanora (part of Brgy. Baclay), Buenasuerte (Brgy. Buenasuerte), Baroy, Limasan, Patang, Upper Dipalutaw (Peak of Mt. Dipalutaw), Lower Dipalutaw, Sili, Luakan (Brgy.Buenasuerte), Camanga (Brgy. Camanga), Tabuan (Brgy. Tabuan), Tuna, Tinotongan (Brgy. Tinotongan), Baclay (Brgy. Baclay), Lantongan (Brgy. Lantongan, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur), Man-ilan (Brgy. Man-ilan), Manlayag (Brgy. Manlayag minus Sitio Bag-ong Talamban) Talamban (part of Brgy. Mandayag), Bag-ong Talamban, Balimbingan (Brgy. Balimbingan, Sto. Rosario (Brgy. Sto. Rosario), Lantawan and Kabuntungan, Municipality of Labangan, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, to convert and create the barrio of Tukuran composed of the mentioned barrios and sitios into and independent municipality to be named “Municipality of Tukuran”, in order to afford these places the benefits of good roads and other public improvements which would enhance the economic and rural development of the area.

The board strongly recommend to his Excellency, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia that the barrios and sitios herein above mentioned be constituted and created into a separate and independent municipality with the set of government at Tukuran and confirmed by Benjamin F. Arao as provincial secretary in MalacaƱang this resolution number 968.[23]

One month and twenty-eight days later upon the recommendation of the provincial board of Zamboanga del Sur. The barrios of Tukuran, Luy-a, Tinotongan, and Tagolo and their respective sitios part of municipality of Labangan were segregated from the said municipality and organized into an independent municipality on Nov. 29, 1958. The paper was prepared by Juan C. Pajo the executive secretary, and have it signed under the executive order 323 by his Excellency, Carlos P. Garcia.[24]

According to the text, the municipality will only begin to exist upon the appointment and qualification of the officers and having the financial capability in implementing minimum wage law. The newborn municipality begins to exist on April 1, 1959 four months and one day after Honorable Felomino C. Villamero as first municipal mayor and Hon. Mamadra Pandoma as vice-mayor were appointed. The following appointed councilors Hon. Alfonso Lahaylahay, Felix Ocampo, Ponciano Calletor, Antonio Hortillano, Hon. Quinten Cabrales and Cosme Silao.[25]

There were movements to change the newly created municipality to San Fernando, the town where the first mayor came from but he retained the name Tukuran.[26] This was because he found a presidio (Spanish priest residence in Tinago) bearing the name “Presidio Tukuran” but this site is not visible at present because the very site became a residential place.[27]

[1] N. Cabrales Interview

[2] Even Gaid, Geneveve Lagare and Sonny Rey Quijano. History of Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur 1982-

1996 p50

[3] Labangan Teachers.op.cit.,p.19.

[4] Ibid. p40

[5] Catedrilla interview

[6] Ibid.

[7] A Tape Interview with Mayor C. Villamero, 87 yrs. Old at his residence in Sitio Sipaway, San Carlos

Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. On May 21, 2001 at 10:55 a.m. henceforth referred to as Villamero


[8] Navales Interview

[9] N. Cabrales Interview

[10]Labangan Teachers.op.cit p75

[11] N. Cabrales Interview

[12] Ibid.

[13] Even Gaid,,op.cit.,p.40

[14] Ibid.

[15] R. Respicio interview

[16] A Tape Interview with Mr. Crispin Calpo Sagun, 84 yrs. Old at his residence in , San Carlos

Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. On May 22, 2001 at 11:15 a.m. henceforth referred to as Sagun


[17] G. Cabredo Interview

[18] A Tape Interview with Mr. Demetrio Catedrilla, 86 yrs. Old at his residence in, Curvada, Tukuran,

Zamboanga del Sur. On May 22, 2001 at 11:15 a.m. henceforth referred to as Catedrilla Interview.

[19] Guerilla Movement, Pagadian, 1942-1945.

[20]G. Cabredo Interview

[21] Catedrilla Interview

[22] Villamero interview

[23] Resolution 968

[24] Villamero interview

[25] Municipal Souvenir ,op.cit.,p.10.

[26] Ibid. p11

[27] Villamiro interview

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