Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

March 16, 1942 — Monday

At 1:30 a.m. Colonel Nieto woke me up to show me a telegram informing us that five enemy ships accompanied by a submarine flashing a light were ashore in Gasan, Marinduque. I told him not to awake the President and hold it for this morning. Got up as usual at 6:30 a.m. More telegrams kept on coming informing us that two enemy destroyers were in the Tanon Strait, one holding the southern end and the other inspecting from North to South.

At 9:30 a.m. we left Panubigan for Buenos Aires as the President fears a possible landing. I had luncheon with Colonel Hilsman in his headquarters and we discussed the situation. He was quite alarmed at the apparent coolness of General Chynoweth when he presented to him the serious need for more ammunition and automatic weapons. I ask him where General Chynoweth was and I was informed that he had arrived at Bacolod yesterday and had left for Cebu last night. When I arrived at Buenos Aires the President asked me what information I could give him. I told him the gist of my conference with Colonel Hilsman.

At 5 p.m. I went by car with Colonel Nieto and the District Engineer to see the new road constructed in a few days uniting Buenos Aires to La Castellana without passing Maao and La Carlota.

At 9 a.m. the following message was received from General MacArthur. Quote: “Col. Hilsman, 318 Report desired on the Military Situation at San Carlos and Negros in General stop What steps do you suggest should be taken looking toward safety of Don stop Immediate reply desired MacArthur.”

When I returned from my conference with Hilsman he phoned me that our boat The Princess of Negros had been taken by the Japanese destroyer after shelling the town of San Carlos. The President was very angry and ordered the arrest of Captain Panopio for having deserted his ship.

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