Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Filipino Martyr: MANUEL S. TINIO

(1877 – 1924)
Youngest General in the Revolutionary Army
Manuel Tinio was born in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija on June 17, 1877. His parents were Mariano
Tinio y Santiago and Silveria Bundok. He was educated in private schools and then at the Colegio
de San Jaun de Letran in Manila where he studied his segunda ensenanza from 1891 to 1896.
In April 1896, he joined the Katipunan. When General Mariano Llanera rallied the people
of Nueva Ecija to revolt, he gathered forces in his hometown and carried on the fight against the
Spaniards in the forests of the province. In an encounter on January 14, 1897, he inflicted heavy
casualties on the enemies.
On June 6, 1897, in recognition of his services, he was conferred by the Assembly of Puray
the rank of colonel and the command of a brigade. He took part in the attack of San Rafael,
Bulacan that was led by General Mamerto Natividad. To rescue his hometown Aliaga, he fought
against a formidable army of 8,000 men mobilized by General Primo de Rivera. In this encounter,
the Spaniards suffered heavy casualties and he put to fight the column of Spanish General Nunez
who was seriously wounded . He and his men held the town for three days but fell back when
pressed by General Ricardo Monet.
He won a number of skirmishes against the Spanish cazadores in several other towns of
Nueva Ecija. He assisted in the taking of an important Spanish convoy on its way from Kabiaw to
San Isidro. General Natividad was killed in this encounter.
When the “Gobierno Departamental de las Siete Provincias en el Centro de Luzon” was
established, Tinio was one of the Brigadier Generals named. The departamental government
however, was abolished during the latter part of November 1897.
By virtue of the Truce of Biak-na-Bato, he and other revolutionary leaders went to
Hongkong as exiles.
When he returned to the Philippines, he was made second in command of the first zone of
Nueva Ecija on July 7, 1898. Then he was appointed to lead an expedition to Northern Luzon.
With 300 Mauser guns captured in Hagonoy, the young colonel proceeded to conquer within 15
days the provinces of La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Benguet, Tiagan, Amburayan,
Lepanto, Bontok and four towns of Cagayan. He met resistance only in San Fernando de la Union
and in Aparri. In these provinces, Tinio captured 3,000 guns.
On August 14, 1898, he occupied Vigan and by the 17th, the other principal towns of Ilocos
namely Bangar, Tagudin, and Laoag. Upon his arrival, the friars including the Bishop of Nueva
Segovia. Msgr. Jose Hevia Campomanes, escaped by boat to Aparri. He used the palacio of Vigan,
the former residence of the Spanish governor as his headquarters.
In the next three months, he consolidated under his command the territory extending from
the barrio of Rabong at the southern boundary of La Union to Cape Bojeador, the northernmost
point of Ilocos Norte. Desirous of establishing complete peace in Ilocos Sur to enable the citizens
to take up their customary occupation and to encourage commerce to go on as before, he issued on
August 178, 1898 one of his first decrees for the Ilocos. It consisted of six articles and called for the
“considerate treatment of the Spanish peninsulars and insulars and the confiscation of their
general property; sending to his headquarters the deserters from the Spanish army who wanted to
join the Filipino forces; prohibition of the use of firearms to all citizens; continuance of existing
municipal system in towns where elections where not yet held; rigorous punishment for all who
committed abuses and; orders for strict compliance of all these provision.”
On the same day, he appointed Francisco Rivero Paz de Leon as temporary president of
Ilocos Sur and the following day, he ordered the reinstallation of destroyed telegraphic lines. He
gave more orders such as the inventory of the property left by the Spaniards, the establishment of a
new government in the districts of Lepanto and Tiagan and the formation of rancherias within
Narvacan up to Tagudin into towns.
As his battalions were still incomplete by November 1898, he made known his need for
volunteers between the ages of 17 to 30 who wanted to serve the revolutionary army permanently.
On November 11, 1898, he was promoted the rank of General of Division. He was only 21
years old.
When the Philippine – American War broke out on February 4, 1899, the young general
offered his services to General Antonio Luna, chief of operations north of Manila. But his request
was not granted. Undaunted, he and his men prepared for action. In cooperation with Lt. Col.
Blas Villamor, he established trenches and fortifications in strategic points in Ilocos as a means of
defense. He also distributed his 2,000 men along the more than 270 kilometer coast from
Tagudin, Ilocos Sur to Bangui, Ilocos Norte. These were accomplished before mid-March 1899.
His chance to fight the Americans came in connection with the retreat of General Emilio
Aguinaldo and his men to the north.
His soldiers totaling 285 formed the rear guard of Aguinaldo’s column in the march to
Manaoag, Pangasinan, escorting the president’s mother and son, together with the wounded and
sick soldiers. In the afternoon of November 14, on the way to Pozorrubio from Manaoag he and his
men had a surprise encounter with the enemies coming from Nueva Ecija led by Major Swigert.
The Filipinos drove them towards Binalonan, enabling Aguinaldo to continue the flight northward.
He also intercepted in San Jacinto the advance of Lloyd Wheaton who came from his military base
in San Fabian.
When the Americans disembarked in Pandan, Ilocos Sur, he fortified himself in the
mountain of Tangadan, southeast of Abra, and established his headquarters in the town of San
Quintin, about two miles from Tangadan.
On December 3, 1899, Tinio ordered his men to raid Vigan which was occupied by Colonel
Parker. The raid lasted the whole night but was not successful. They withdrew and the next day,
the small force defending Tangadan was attacked by the enemies. After a day and night of fighting,
his troops abandoned Tangadan.
On December 3, 1899, Tinio ordered his men to raid Vigan which was occupied by Colonel
Parker. The raid lasted the whole night but was not successful. They withdrew and the next day,
the small force defending Tangadan was attacked by the enemies. After a day and night of fighting,
his troops abandoned Tangadan.
With its capture by the Americans, Tinio changed his military strategy in dealing with the
enemies. He divided and organized his brigade into guerilla units and posted them along the road
and strategic locations from the rancheria of Danglas to Ilocos Norte, with instructions to ambush
the passing enemy through Tambang. By March 22, 1900, each town under Tinio’s jurisdiction
had its own columnas volantes. To facilitate the movement and maneuver of his troops, Tinio
ordered the local presidents to furnish him with detailed maps and plans of the towns.
Appraising his mission in the Ilocos region, the young Tagalog general wrote:
“I have endeavored to propagate and implant here the society of the Katipunan which has
produced surprising results. I have prepared the spirit of the inhabitants so that aside from
inculcating in them the fecund germ of the high ideals of liberty, they have come to show
implacable hatred towards the invader, passion which some citizens, armed with only bolos have
manifested to the Americans who dared to travel from their detachment.”
The local citizenry proved helpful to the troops by supplying them with abundant
ammunitions, and, acting as polistas, they served as vigilants in spying for the approaching
enemies. Tinio, a Tagalog, was thus successful in welding together the cooperative spirit of the
Ilocanos for patriotic cause. To achieve this goal, Tinio used persuasion and threat. For instance,
he implored the local president of Bangui to inculcate the idea of patriotism to the principales and
the barrio cabezas. He also circularized the crimes punishable by deaths and severe penalties. To
those who kept who kept friendly relations with the Americans, he sent letters warning them to
repent or else be punished rigorously. Even Pedro Legazpi, a town presidente and a personal
friend of Tinio received such a letter for showing damnable conduct. Tinio also kept an eye on his
soldiers whom he ordered, under severe punishment, to refrain from opening communications
with the enemies.
By mid June 1900,Tinio exerted to establish arsenals in various points of his jurisdiction.
To do this job in La Union, he assigned Joaquin Alejandrino whom he appointed as chief of the
province on June 26, 1900.
General Tinio, believing that “firmness is one of the conditions necessary to obtain our
coveted independence”, carried on the fight. He would never surrender, as American deserter
John Allane attested. He waited for the action of the U.S. Congress regarding the Philippine
situation or until a new president was elected. When Allane surrendered on April 14, 1901, he
informed the Americans that Tinio had 70 men and about 40 of them had U.S. arms.
On May 1, 1901, obeying Aguinaldo’s appeal, Tinio gave up with his 36 officers to General
J. Franklin Bell. General Arthur MacArthur put importance to his surrender by releasing 1,000
Filipino soldiers held prisoner.
After more than four years of fighting, Tinio retired to Licab and engaged in farming. He
acted as governor of Nueva Ecija since the election of Isauro Gabaldon to the first Philippine
Assembly in 1907 and was elected to the same position on November 5 of the same year. He
resigned from the governorship and on July 1, 1909, he was appointed by Governor General James
F. Smith as the first director of the Bureau of Labor. On October 17, 1913, he was appointed
Director of Lands, the first Filipino to occupy the position which he held up to 1914.
As director of Bureau of Labor, Tinio showed his ability as administrator and as excellent
conciliator. Governor-General William Cameron Forbes commended his work in the improvement
of the bad situation caused by strikes and “in the enlightenment of the people in regard to strikes
and their effects.”
After leaving the government service, Tinio toured Europe. Upon his return, he entered
politics and headed the Nationalista Party in Nueva Ecija. He died on February 22, 1944.
Alvarez, Santiago U. The Katipunan and the Revolution: Memoirs of a General. Quezon City:
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1992.
Malay, Armando U. Memoirs of General Artemio Ricarte. Manila: National Historical
Commission, 1963.
Ochoso, Orlino. Tinio Brigade: An anti-American resistance in the Ilocos provinces 1899 – 1901.
Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1989.

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