Manuel Tinio

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Manuel Tinio (June 17, 1877-February 22, 1944) was the youngest revolutionary general in the Filipino-American War and not Gregorio del Pilar as commonly assumed.

Family background

Manuel Tinio was born on June 17, 1877 in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. His parents were Mariano Tinio y Santiago and Silveria Bundok. The Tinio family was the largest and wealthiest family in Nueva Ecija. The Tinos had Chinese ancestry just like the Rizals. The Tinio clan were considered as the largest landowner in Central Luzon before the declaration of Martial Law.

Educational Background

Manuel Tinio attended private schools. He studied his segunda ensenanza (high school) at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 1891 to 1896.

Early Years In Service

Tinio joined the Katipunan in April 1896 at the age of 18. When General Mariano assembled the people of Nueva Ecija to fight the Spaniards, Tinio called to arms the town’s people and fought in the forests of the province. The revolt in January 14, 1897 caused massive casualties on the part of the enemies.

The Assembly of Puray gave Tinio the rank of colonel and the command of a brigade on June 6, 1897 as a way of recognizing his services. Tino fought against a massive army of 8,000 men led by General Primo de Rivera. He took on the formidable army to rescue his hometown Aliaga. The encounter diminished the number of Spanish soldiers and many others wounded including Spanish General Nunez. Tinio and his men were able to hold the town for three days but pressure from the camp of General Ricardo Monet forced them to fall back.

Tinio won several battles against the Spanish cazadores in other towns of Nueva Ecija. He took part in the taking of a vital Spanish convoy which was headed to San Isidro. General Natividad died during the encounter.

Tinio was named as one of the Brigadier Generals when the “Gobierno Departamental de las Siete Provincias en el Centro de Luzon” was put up. But the departamental government was dissolved during towards the end of November 1897. Tinio together with other revolutionary leaders went to Hong Kong as exiles in accordance of the Truce of Biak-na-Bato.

Upon his return, Tinio became second in command of the first zone of Nueva Ecija on July 7, 1898. He was also appointed to lead an expedition to Northern Luzon. He conquered the provinces of La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Benguet, Tiagan, Amburayan, Lepanto, Bontok and four towns of Cagayan.

As Young general

On November 11, 1898, Tinio, only 21, was promoted the rank of General of Division. The young general Tinio pledged his services to General Antonio Luna, chief of operations north of Manila when the Philippine – American War erupted on February 4, 1899. However, his request was declined but that did not stop Tinio from pursuing his goal. He joined forces with Lt. Col. Blas Villamor and set up strategic defense points in Ilocos.

Tinio got the chance to fight the Americans when General Emilio Aguinaldo and his men retreated to the north. He and 285 soldiers stood as rear guard of Aguinaldo’s column in the march to Manaoag, Pangasinan. They escorted the president’s mother and son, together with the wounded and sick soldiers. On November 14, while headed to Pozorrubio from Manaoag, his team encountered a surprised attack from Nueva Ecija led by Major Swigert. The Filipinos were able to drive them towards Binalonan which gave Aguinaldo the opportunity to continue the flight northward.

When the Americans arrived in Pandan, Ilocos Sur, Tinio set up his headquarters in the town of San Quintin, about two miles from Tangadan. He ordered his men to raid Vigan on December 3, 1899 but the raid was unsuccessful. As a result of their defeat, Tinio changed his military strategy in dealing with the Americans. He divided and organized his brigade into guerilla units. He positioned them in strategic locations from the rancheria of Danglas to Ilocos Norte. The men were given orders to ambush the passing enemy through Tambang. By March 22, 1900, Each had its own columnas volantes by March 22, 1900.

Tinio received a lot of help from the local citizenry. They supplied them with ammunitions, and some even served as vigilants and spies against the enemies. Tinio won the spirit of the Ilocanos and persuaded them to take a patriotic role in helping the Philippines.

He heavily opposed having friendly relations with the Americans. Anyone who went against this rule were handed letters warning them to repent or otherwise face hard punishments. Tinio did not spare anyone from this rule. Soldiers who were caught communicating with the enemies were severely punished.

Tinio appointed Alejandrino as chief of the province on June 26, 1900. Tinio believed that “firmness is one of the conditions necessary to obtain our coveted independence”.

On May 1, 1901, Tinio and 36 officers obeyed Aguinaldo’s appeal by surrendering to General J. Franklin Bell. As a result of his surrender, General Arthur MacArthur released 1,000 Filipino soldiers held prisoner.

As Governor and Director

Tinio retired to Licab after more than four years of fighting. He acted as governor of Nueva Ecija since the election of Isauro Gabaldon to the first Philippine Assembly in 1907. He was duly elected as governor on November 5 of the same year. He resigned from the position on July 1, 1909, upon his appointment by Governor General James F. Smith as the first director of the Bureau of Labor. On October 17, 1913, he became the Director of Lands. Tinio was the very first Filipino to occupy such position. He toured Europe after leaving the government service. He joined politics upon his return and led the Nationalista Party in Nueva Ecija.

Tinio died on February 22, 1944.




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