Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

December 24, 1941 – Wednesday

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At 8 a.m. I attended the meeting of the Cabinet at Marikina. It was discussed that the situation was becoming serious. The enemy had landed at Atimonan and Mauban. The President advised us that General MacArthur had told him to prepare to leave for Corregidor at 2 hours notice.

At 9 a.m. I left for my office. At 10 a.m. General De Jesus and I were called rush to USAFFE Headquarters for an urgent conference. General Sutherland told me that I was to be at Malacañan, at 1 p.m. ready to leave with the President. At 1 p.m. sharp I was at Malacañan. There was an air-raid. When the “all-clear” signal was sounded, we left Malacañan for the Presidential landing, boarded the launch Baler, and boarded the SS Mayon which was anchored off the coast of Malabon. At 2:30 p.m. another raid alarm was sounded. The departure was delayed because the Chief Engineer of the Mayon had not arrived and could not be located. Finally we left at 4 p.m. without the Chief Engineer. This delay constituted a blessing in disguise as Japanese planes had raided Corregidor and Mariveles at 4 p.m. sinking one boat and setting on fire a French ship the Marechal Foch.

We landed at Corregidor at 5:30 p.m. The U.S. High Commissioner, Mrs. Sayre and son and office assistants were on the same boat. We were assigned beds in two of the Hospital tunnels. The men in tunnel 11 and the women in tunnel 10. We are fairly comfortable but I fear that living in the tunnel for a prolonged period is not healthy. The President is accompanied by his family and various servants. (Officially he is accompanied by the Vice-President (Osmeña) who has in addition been appointed Secretary of Public Instruction & Secretary of Health, by Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos who in addition has been appointed Acting Sec. of Justice & Acting sec. of Finance, and myself who in addition to being Chief of Staff Philippine Army I have been appointed Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of Public Works and Communications and Secretary of Labor.)

In addition the President is accompanied by 3 M.D.’s (Dr. E. C. Cruz, Dr. B. Diño & Dr. A. Trepp) all of whom were commissioned captains Medical Corps Reserves.

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