On June 2, 1899 Spaniards Hiding in the Church of Baler Surrendered to Filipino Soldiers
On December 24, 1897 the Pact of Biak-na-Bato concluded. This event reduced the strength of the Spanish garrison from 400 to only 50 men led by Captain de las Morenas who led the troops inside hid the Baler church on January 27, 1898 for fear of enemy attack.. This bunch of Spanish soldiers was surrounded by the troops of Novicio Luna who started to attack the church on the following day. The Spaniards were determined to hold their position inside the church and defied the orders of Col. Calixto Villacorta, who had taken the lead of the Filipino forces on July 19, 1898. They were not demoralized by the news regarding the fall of Manila.
Since they were surrounded by the enemy, their supply of food diminished and some of their men died with illnesses. Morenas also died on November 22, 1898. he was replaced by Lt. Saturnino Martin Cerezo who decided to surrender after reading the Spanish newsletter El Imparcia.
And on June 2, the Spanish troops surrendered to Filipino soldiers in the condition that they will not be treated as prisoners of war. From more than 50 individuals who entered the church only 35 marched out of it. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo admired the bravery of the Spanish troops and issued a decree on June 30, 1899 ordering that the Spanish defenders be treated as friends. This decree was the impetus of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day celebrated every 30th of June.
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