HOW THE BATTLE IN JARO, ILOILO ON FEBRUARY 14, 1899
DURING THE PHIL-AM WAR IS BEING ERRONEOUSLY DESCRIBED AS A BATTLE IN SANTA BARBARA, ILOILO BY CURRENT HISTORIANS
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1. To start with, let's look at the official registry of battles participated by the regular forces of the U.S. Army during the Philippine-American War.
On February 14, 1899, only one battle is listed, and that's in Jaro, Iloilo.
2. Now let's look at the official report of Gen. Otis concerning that battle. Take note that Otis stated that the fighting started only 4 miles from Jaro (plaza), which is consistent with the registry of battles entry that the skirmish happened in Jaro.
With regards to Santa Barbara, the exact phrase used by Otis was "In the direction of."
That phrase meant only that Major Keller's troops were taking the road leading to Santa Barbara. It does not mean that they were in the vicinity of Santa Barbara, nor already in Santa Barbara.
In fact, they had not gone really far from the Jaro Plaza when the fighting began. Gen. Otis puts it at four miles distant.
3. So how did the Battle in Jaro become the Battle in Santa Barbara?
A later compilation of events replaced the phrase in-the-direction-of with in-the-vicinity-of which totally changed the meaning. It also changed the phrase drove-them-off with "defeated."
And now, current historians have added to the evolution of the story by going even further.
According to Henry Funtecha (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, UP Visayas),
Santa Barbara fell on February 14, 1899:
According to Arnaldo Dumindin, on February 14, 1899, Santa Barbara was captured.
4. Did Santa Barbara really fall on February 14, 1899? Was Santa Barbara really captured on February 14, 1899?
Let's go over to the side of the insurrectos and examine Santa Barbara during those times. Surely, if Santa Barbara was taken on February 14, 1899, anybody who was in Santa Barbara at that time or afterwards would have mentioned it, because it would interfere with their normal activities.
According to Demy Sonza, in his book about Adriano Hernandez, Hernandez went to Santa Barbara after the Americans landed. Adriano Hernandez met with Martin Delgado around February 16, 1899 (before Adriano Hernandez went to Cabatuan on February 17, 1899 to present his report to the Estado Federal de Bisayas).
Had Santa Barbara been taken on February 14, it would be impossible for Gen. Adriano Hernandez and Gen. Martin Delgado to be meeting in Santa Barbara as if nothing was happening in that place, especially only one day or two days after it was supposed to have been taken.
Also, take note that when the Americans finally launched their Cabatuan offensive later that year, in November 1899, Gen. Martin Delgado evacuated from Santa Barbara to Maasin while Gen. Adriano Hernandez evacuated from Santa Barbara to Dingle even before the Americans arrived in Santa Barbara. So if the Americans did arrive in Santa Barbara on February 14, 1899, Martin Delgado and Adriano Hernandez would likely not be in town after that, and therefore would not be meeting around February 15-16, 1899.
This means that Santa Barbara was not captured by the Americans on February 14, 1899.
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