Albay honors Ola, Fil-Am war hero

Albay province recently marked the 147th birth anniversary of Gen. Simeon Ola, the last Filipino general to surrender during the Philippine-American War.

Guinobatan Mayor Juan Mitre Gracia and Albay Governor Jose Salceda led the rites which included a mass at the Our Lady of Assumption Church, a wreath-laying at Ola’s monument, a flag-raising ceremony and civic-military parade.

Ola was born on Sept. 2, 1865 in Barrio Mauraro in Guinobatan to Vicente Ola and Apolinia Arboleda. He joined the Katipunan chapter led by Jose Glicerio Delgado in 1896, and was promoted to the rank of captain in 1898.

He led daring attacks on Spanish outposts in Oas, Ligao and Jovellar towns in Albay.

Then American civil governor-general Howard Taft recalled that Ola’s troops were the most difficult fighters he dealt with because of their bravery and uncompromising stance.

After the capture of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1902, the US Army offered Ola P10,000 to capitulate but he turned down the offer.

He carried on the struggle for independence even after the surrender in 1902 of Gen. Miguel Malvar, then vice president of the Philippine Republic.

Ola yield himself on Sept. 5, 1903 on the condition that his men would be granted amnesty; he was put on trial and was proven guilty of sedition and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

He was pardoned in 1904 and returned to his hometown and became the municipal president (mayor).

He died on Feb. 14, 1952 and was buried at the Guinobatan Catholic Cemetery. His remains were re-interred in 2003 at his life-size monument located in the town plaza.

Original article is published October 1, 2012 at Manila Standard Today.




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