Trivia about Roque B. Ablan

Outstanding public servant and World War II hero, Roque Ablan was born on 09 August 1906 in Laoag, llocos Norte to Victor Ablan and Raymunda Blanco. He obtained his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1929 and Bachelor of Laws degree in 1930 from the University of the Philippines. That same year, he took the bar examinations, placing 9th among the successful examinees.

Roque B. Ablan

As a young lawyer, Ablan dedicated himself to helping the poor. In 1937 at age 31 he was elected governor of llocos Norte making him the youngest provincial executive of his time. The establishment of llocos Norte Provincial Hospital and the Philippine Normal School in Laoag were among his outstanding achievements. He also caused the beautification of the provincial capital, the revival of rural credit associations, and the organization of producers’ cooperatives. Admired by the people, he was re-elected in 1941.

When World War II broke out, Ablan refused to cooperate with the Japanese. He left the provincial capital in Laoag and transferred the seat of government to a remote barrio near the boundary of llocos Norte and Apayao. He contacted and enlisted the support of government officials, prominent citizens, and trainees and organized a guerrilla unit. In mid-January 1942, together with Lt. Feliciano Madamba, he organized the Ablan-Madamba Guerrilla Group of Northern Luzon. This group was involved in various skirmishes against the Japanese among them was a successful ambush of Japanese forces at Pampanniki, Solsona on 08 November 1942. The Ablan-Madamba group was recognized by General Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Area Command which sent the submarine USS Stingray to contact Ablan and deliver arms and supplies for his resistance movement in August 1944.

The Ablan-Madamba guerrillas were a scourge of the Japanese who urged him to surrender and collaborate with them. Ablan was offered governorship of llocos Norte but he refused.

Ablan was last seen following the battle of Bumitalag, Piddig on 5 February 1943. His heroic deeds have earned for him an honored place in the country’s history.

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