Exhibit 1197.

[Original in Spanish. L.S. P.I.R. 705.2.]

JARO, Dec. 4, 1898.

Letter head: War Department.

Stamp: Regional Revolutionary Government of Visayas, Iloilo.

To the Honorable President of the Philippine Republic,

Having been commissioned by the President of the Regional Revolutionary Government of the Visayas to prepare a kind of report regarding the acts of the Army of Liberation for the Revolutionary Government of Luzon, which is that of all the Philippines, I will set down with all the simplicity and brevity possible all the factors of the movement in this province of Iloilo, as well as the causes which appear to have stayed its triumphal progress.

I will begin by stating that all of the Visayan Islands had been imbued with patriotic sentiments from the time the first cry against the sovereignty of Spain in these Islands was raised in Luzon. There is no room for doubt that the Visayan people have been watching with great interest the progress of the Revolution in Luzon, and if it was not possible for them at the time to assist in the movement, it was due entirely to the lack of elements of warfare and provisions, owing to the poverty of the people here; but it was never due to indifference, because they ahyays without hesitation considered the cause of the revolution to be their own.

Nevertheless, the intelligent class of this region did not stop for a moment preparing the ground in order that the ideals reflected by the aurora of the future should acquire more convincing force.

At the second stage of the Revolution, when America going beyond its continental limits, unfolded her flags proclaiming the liberty of Cuba first and then that of the Philippines, Visayans gave a shout of joy and even of envy for Luzon, on observing that she had not been given the same consideration, when her enthusiasm had made her working of the star representing her in the triangle of our ensign; Visayas at that time was in continuous suffering and is still in a state of expectation, although the future which was formerly so cloudy is dearing up a little.

The fact was that these people (it is better that we confine ourselves to this province of Iloilo), having been prepared for a long time to break the fetters that confined them, contained themselves only due to the earnest hope that they would very soon be assisted with the necessary elements of warfare; but observing that such assistance, due to a thousand difficulties, did not arrive as soon as they could wish, decided to proceed on their enthusiasm only, so that Dingle first, and then Dueñas, Alimodian and Santa Barbara began to fly the Republic which was successively saluted in a short time by all the towns of the province.

This flag has for some time been flying in the city of Jaro, where a Revolutionary Government is discharging its duties, composed of the following personnel:

Sr. Roque Lopez, President.

Sr. Vicente Franco, Councillor of Government.

Sr. Ramon Avanceña, Councillor of State.

Sr. Jovito Yusay, Councillor of Grace and Justice.

Sr. Venancio Concepcion, Councillor of Finance.

Sr. Julio Hernandez, Councillor of War.

So that between Jaro and Iloilo hostilities have been suspended, excepting Molo, where the usual engagements are not lacking.

It is not superfluous to state that the town of Jaro, perhaps the future capital of Visayas if Iloilo remains for some time in the hands of the Americans, is threatened by a bombardment in the event of the slightest attack being initiated; the question of endangering. the population is not what keeps back the revolutionists, because they would probably be victorious, but because, as many thinking persons say including foreigners, in the present state of affairs, it is not necessary to brandish bolos for a question that is almost decided.

Up to this date, December 4th, none of the armed expeditions which left Manila and have landed on the shores of this Island of Panay, has been sighted by this Government; we are worried lest the Americans should come and endeavor to establish something which would not suit us or which would not accord with the interests of the Government of Luzon (the Philippines), as we have no elements with which to repulse them.

The only re-enforcements which have arrived since yesterday morning are, without counting the coming over to our camp of Sr. Venancio Concepcion, with sixty volunteers of Iloilo armed with rifles, the company of one hundred and eighty sharpshooters with artillerymen of Rios who deserted from the Spanish forces which had gone to fight against the first landing of the revolutionaries in Antique. According to the latter (after so many messages sent there by this Government) Señor Fullon will come with sufficient forces. Señor Diocno, who is in Capiz has also been sent by this Government to Señor Salustiano Puentevella, brother of Señor Monico, who has gone to Manila to endeavor to purchase armaments, but up to the present we do not yet know when the column of said Senor Diocno will be able to reach this pueblo of Jaro.

Señor Poblador who has taken Concepcion and has two hundred and fifty rifles with enough ammunition is also awaited, but he never seems to come.

This, in brief is what we can state to you with respect to our political and military situation. The economic and agricultural question, which is very bad in this province is greatly worrying us; owing to the most scanty crops of palay and sugar cane which is expected. The same thing does not Occcur in Negros where the flourishing sugar cane plantations are the hope of the poor people.

If the Americans would undertake railway, mining and industrial enterprises here, there would be plenty of cattle and the laborer would have a place to earn the bread for their children, with the advantage to the managers of having sufficient labor.

Although this Government has always had an eye on the occupation of IloIlo, there have been a thousand considerations which have daily arisen to prevent doing so, first, the news which were worthy of belief that the Americans might come at any time to take possession of said town, then the request of the consuls not to hurry the matter as the solution would soon come without the shedding of blood: to this may be added the propositions made by General Rios at a conference held with him by two members of the Revolutionary Government that he would give all kinds of facilities to the revolutionaries in order that they might come to an understanding with the Americans just as soon as the latter should come, in view of the fact that he and all of his people now only

considered themselves as guests, and that at any moment they would leave, and above all not to expose the important towns of Iloilo, Jaro and Molo any further to a complete ruin by the cannon fire and dynamite which would not compensate for the victories which would be obtained.

When the Revolutionary Government was provisionally established in Santa Barbara, notes and propositions were received and sent for the best arrangement of the termination of the movement in the province of Iloilo in conformity with the probable decision that would be given by the Congress in Paris. The Revolutionary Government asked for the immediate evacuation of the city of Jaro, of the pueblo of Molo and of La Paz, besides the sum of twelve thousand pesos as indemnification from the Spanish Government for the houses burned by the Cazadores during the nights in which they had to defend themselves in the skirmishes with the revolutionaries. General Rios acceded to the evacuation of Jaro and of La Paz, Molo remaining as a neutral post with Spanish troops, not as a guard but as guests owing to the lack of quarters in Iloilo, and with a Filipino Governor (Señor Raymundo Meliza) who exercised civil power.

At present the Government of the Revolution is at Jaro where the flag of the Republic floats as far as the limits of La Paz, close to Iloilo, and is treating with General Rios in regard to the coming of the Americans which treaty consists, as has already been stated in the beginning, in the reception by General Rios of a commission from our Government which shall directly come to an understanding with the Americans in Iloilo with regard to the object of their coming as a result of superior orders or as a complement of the pact agreed upon in Luzon with the Government of the Philippines, the Spanish General also to make Iloilo figure as having been taken by the revolutionaries admitting for this purpose an armed force which shall occupy the principal public institutions at the moment that the commission shall enter Iloilo.

These propositions have been accepted in view of the economic and political situation of this region and of the probable decision which the Congress in Paris may come to, without neglecting for this reason to be prepared in case of a conflict arising.

We need regulations for the several departments of the Government or its interior constitution until the form of republic which may be deemed most adoptable shall have definitely been decided upon.

Negros has for the present been proclaimed a canton and although it really deserves it by reason of its great fertility and on account of the no small number of cultured people who inhabit it, as the other islands have not the same conditions, we believe it better (this is but a suggestion) to divide the Archipelago into three large federal portions made up of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, but the political administration and the army to be centralized in the Government of Luzon; thus only can our ensign be a graphic representation of the organization of the Archipelago.

We repeat that what has been said relative to this last point is but a pure suggestion and as such it has but the value of a simple opinion which perhaps may not be far from our future organization.

Your most affectionate servant and friend,

(Signed) J. HERNANDEZ,
Commissioner of War.

JARO, December 4, 1898.

NOTE.-The attitude of this Government, and therefore of those it represents, which has had to be assumed towards the Americans, has been and is a great source of worry to both, for although the instructions which you sent us here are to repel them, the respect for the decision of the Congress of Paris and the critical economic and military situation of this region makes us waver in our decisions.

For all the instructions which that Government may have to send to this Regional one it is important that the bearer should be a commission of two or three persons versed in all matters of our new-born Republic.

J. H.