GUEVARA TO PEOPLE OF SAMAR, FEBRUARY 25, 1902

Exhibit 1365.

[Original in Spanish. Contemporary copy. P.I.R., 843.2. ]

FEBRUARY 25th, 1902.

To the People of Samar.

DEAR COMPATRIOTS: It is with greatest sorrow that I have to inform you of the great misfortune that has befallen our dear General, Vicente Lukban. On the 19th inst., while he and his secretary, Lieutenant Ortiz, both armed with guns, were in hiding, they, and the lieutenants commanding in the neighboring hamlets, were surprised by the enemy and taken prisoners.

I do not tell you this to discourage you, but rather to encourage you and to let you know that our forces are still intact, and that although we have lost our General, we have captured in battle an American soldier with his arms and ammunition. Hence it is clear that Providence is with us in this unequal struggle, for after a war to the knife waged by the enemy for more than two years, our small force is not yet conquered. On the other hand, the blows struck at Balangiga and elsewhere have helped us to the extent of 250 rifles, 60,000 rounds of ammunition and several small machine guns.

Now that our General has been captured, I have the honor to salute you, oh my worthy comrades of Samar; for, as second in command under General Lukban, I must now assume command and defend our country from danger. And I accept the charge, though I fully know my incompetency and unworthiness for so grave a trust; and I shan continue to fill it until a Brigadier General shall have been appointed by an assembly shortly to be called, which officer shall direct the operations both in Samar and Leyte. Once the selection is made, it shall be submitted to the Superior Headquarters in Luzon for approval, as per instructions issued from the same.

Hence, as Politico-Military Chief of these two provinces, I order:

1. From the moment that our General, Vicente Lukban, fell into the hands of the enemy, he is considered as out of the Filipino army, and therefore has no power to give orders, and much less should he be obeyed.

2. With a view to counteracting the enemy's blockade by sea and land, the local presidentes will oblige all the heads of barrios, and the inhabitants as a whole, to keep the ground in the interior, and the mountain tops if possible, under cultivation, so that the efforts of the invader to destroy our crops may prove futile.

3. For the purpose of protecting innocent parties from the reprisals of the enemy, the local presidentes will oblige the heads of barrios to triple the guards along all trails where families are in hid ng; and they shall punish those who abandon their posts, and thus maintain discipline throughout the country.

4. The local presidentes shall organize bodies of auxiliary cazadores (huntsmen) armed with lancas and machetes, who will cooperate with the guerrilla commanders if called upon by them, and if not they will operate by themselves and endeavor to surprise the enemy whenever he appears in the mountains. The cazadores can be very effective in the mountains and where the enemy is far from camp, for at such distances they are apt to be fatigued. By attacking them in such places the inĚ habitants can avoid being exterminated by them; and this is what the enemy has been seeking to do for months past.

The Chief who commands the corps of cazadores, should he capture 50 rifles and ammunition for the same from the enemy, shall be made a captain of infantry on the active list; and the subchief shall be promoted to a 1st lieutenancy of infantry on the active list, and his immediate subordinate to a 2nd lieutenancy, and the sergeants and corporals also shall be placed on the active list. In case 100 rifles should be captured, the Chief shall be made a major of infantry, and all others raised one grade.

5. The local presidentes shall provide for the safety and security of life and property of neutral foreigners conducting business throughout the different towns, and also for that of peaceful natives.

6. The local presidentes shall relentless pursue all persons guilty of ladronism, robbery, assassination and rape, especially those who at the present time are committing these crimes under the name of Revolutionists or Defenders of the Country; and when captured they shall be sent before the Military Chief of the Zone to be tried by summary court martial, in accordance with the provisions of a proclamation and of general instructions from Headquarters of Luzon.

7. The cazador who kills an enemy after he has surrendered shall be sent before the aforesaid Military Chief of the Zone, and shall be punished with death. The present war is not being waged for the sake of taking life, but to gain our longed-for independence; let us keep this in mind and thus gain the good will of civilized nations, and of the enemy himself even though he pursue the methods of Herod before the civilized peoples of the world, notwithstanding that civilization has carried us past the age when such conduct would be tolerated.

8. The local presidentes shall severely punish polygamists.

9. Any one failing through laziness to comply with the provisions of the second article of this proclamation will be severely punished.

Given in Camp Buan (Samar) on the 25th of February, 1902.

The Superior Politico-Military Chief.

A true copy:

[NOTE BY COMPILER. This proclamation is not signed, but must have been written by Claro Guevara.]
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