two simple words best describe the commitments of the gallant men whose names
were printed in the pages of our history. They who unselfishly dedicated their
lives in the quest for freedom, must be recognized. Their deeds serve as our
pedestal that will raise us closer to our common goal - peace.
The desire for the reality of this goal motivated them to
fight, inspite of inadequate military supplies. A long bloody struggle had been
done. Others lost their hopes, families and even their own lives, but the
struggle remains. Yes, it must also be accepted that the Filipino - American
Forces (USAFFE) who defended our country against the supreme Japanese military
during World War II surrendered.
There was an end to those who surrendered. However, those who
still had the will to fight, organized themselves and formed guerilla resistance
units. They resisted for years enduring the cruel test of time; until finally,
they attained what they are trying to preserve sovereignty.
Who we are and what we have now, are the fruits of the
sacrifices, determination, wisdom and God-inspired struggle. They deserve our
highest salute. One of them was the General who rose from the rank of Private,
Brigadier General Mateo M. Capinpin.
Brig. Gen. Capinpin, a war time commander of the Philippine
Army's famed 21st Division, was born in Morong Rizal on April 22, 1887. He grew
up and took his elementary & secondary education in Laguna High School. After
graduating from High School in 1906, at the age of 19, he joined and was
enlisted in the Philippine Scouts where he started as a Private and was
honorably discharged as a Major. During his itinerary with the Philippine Scouts
from 1906 to 1918, Capinpin was acclaimed to be the only one who knew his
Company Roster by heart. Stories have it that at night, he could call from the
roll even without lights. As the youngest First Sergeant, he was only 24 when he
was given his strips. He was noted to be a strict disciplinarian and that he had
the reputation of being the "meanest" non-commissioned officer.
From the Philippine Scouts, Capinpin joined the Philippine
National Guards as First Lieutenant in 1918 with the corresponding rank of Major
in the United States Army. The following year, he returned to the Philippine
Scouts. Promoted in the Permanent rank of Captain in 1920, Gen. Capinpin was
sent to the United States to attend the Officers Courses at Fort Benning
Infantry School in Georgia. While a Captain in the 45th Infantry, PS, he
commanded the same company for over 20 years. His Company "I" was famous as
Exhibition and Demonstration Company for five years in carnivals and elsewhere
and held championship for athletics for a longer period.
He was given command of the PA 21st Division with the rank of
Colonel when the Philippines was under the Commonwealth regime in 1934. War
caught up with him in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Forced to be in Bataan when the Japanese Forces invaded the
country, Capinpin earned honors for the orderly retreat he conducted during his
commands trip from Pangasinan to Bataan.
He was captured by the Japanese when Bataan fell. Undaunted,
Capinpin forcibly joined the "DEATH MARCH" which began at daylight of April 10,
1942. Together with the haggard and terrified troops, they herded into groups of
500 to 1,000. Thousands wept while others stood stiffly, with blank, rigid
stares. About 12,000 American soldiers, 65,000 Filipino soldiers, 6,000 Filipino
civilian employees, and 10,000 Filipino refugees forced to join the trek. More
than 600 Americans and 8,000 Filipino soldiers died along the way. On the
65-mile trek from Marivelez, Bataan, Capinpin and others were bayoneted, beaten
and hauled off to Camp O'Donnell, a concentration Camp in Capas, Tarlac where
the prisoners of war were confined. Documented stories of their confinement
described their ordeal as "grim" and "nightmarish." Released in the latter part
of 1942, Capinpin briefly served in the puppet government upon the invitation of
Jose P. Laurel, the occupation president.
During his service with the puppet government, Capinpin saw
in his position a strong cover for his guerilla activities. He planned out to
rejoin the underground when he and other officials were dispatched to Baguio.
The end of the last war found him in Japan.
Among the commendations he received, topped by the
distinguished Service Cross, were telegraphed praises from General Douglas Mac
Arthur, then commander-in-chief of all U.S Armed Forces in the Far East, Colonel
Clark and the late General Vicente Lim.
Brig. Gen. Capinpin was the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Adjutant General when he retired from the military service on April 30, 1948. He
was then the Superintendent of the Far East Military Academy in Highway 54,
Quezon City. His last public appearance was on December 16, 1958 during the
convocation at the FEMA. At the age of 71, on December 28, 1958, he died of
heart attack while spending holidays at his residence in Biñan, Laguna.
Brigadier General Capinpin was survived by his wife, Mrs.
Trinidad F. Vda. de Capinpin, and three (3) children; Emmanuel, Ernesto and
Considering that he was the one who successfully led the
guerilla resistance against the Japanese occupation in the Philippines,
especially those in Lingayen, Pangasinan, Bataan and other regions, it is but
proper and fitting to derive the name of one of the biggest military
reservations in the Philippines from his honorable name. Thus, the so-called
Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal where the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division is
based, is presently known as Camp General Mateo Capinpin. It was during the
South East Asian Treaty Organization's (SEATO) exercise in 1962 that Camp
Capinpin was established.
The ceremonies were done at Hilltop Headquarters, now the
TRADOC Headquarters. During the inauguration of the camp, the main road was
christened General Marking Avenue from Gate 2 to Gate 3. Through the agreements
of the World War II leaders headed by BGEN MARKING, the camp was named after
Mateo Capinpin. Given his roots - that of being a native of Rizal, plus his
scholastic and military achievements, he indeed, deserves to be remembered.
As a guerilla resistance leader, his records and
accomplishments are printed in the annals of guerilla history all over the
world. His strategies and organizational methodologies are part of the current
counter-insurgency techniques and strategies.
BRIGADIER GENERAL MATEO CAPINPIN - patriot, soldier, war
hero, a leader of resistance movement against the Japanese in World War II, who
in war or in peace had unselfishly dedicated his life, love, wisdom, talent and
courage to God, country and people . . .
Men like him only pass away, but their monumental deeds linger in our
memories. His deeds and accomplishments make us not only to trace the path of
his achievements, but to make our way of dismantling this inferior internal
insurgency disturbance that beset our nation's integrity. If they were able to
drive the supreme military forces that ruled our nation for years, why can't we
eliminate these forces that are within our reach? Let us trample them for they
will never adhere to our principles and convictions.