The Japanese decreed that the group be founded in November 1944 when they brought together many of the supporters of the defunct Ganap Party. Like Ganap its main area of support was Metro Manila, although Makapili established chapters across the islands, attracting some support. In all it attracted 4 to 6,000 members, many of them poor or landless farmers who came to the group due to vague promises of land reform after the war. Their main purpose was to counter the recognized guerrilla and the Philippine Commonwealth military activity by anti-Japanese forces in rural areas and to this end members of Makapili were given rudimentary military training.
After the war ended in 1945, the group was disbanded and vilified for its involvement in some Japanese atrocities in the islands and individual members faced trials for treason as a result.