Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

November 17, 1944

Sirens sounded twice today, first at about 11 a.m. indicating “stand-by” and then at 12 noon giving “All-Clear” signal. Saw no planes except three Jap fighters rhat flew very low over a house at Taft Avenue.

People are disappointed. After heavy raids on Tuesday and Wednesday, they expected to hear of landings in Luzon. Apparently those were merely neutralization raids while Kreuger’s Army pushed on towards Ormoc.

Question now is “Whether U.S. will be here before Christmas?” or “Will it be in 1945 yet?” Many however still stick to belief that MacArthur will return to Luzon before end of November.

Meanwhile Jap troops keep pouring into City. Saw many Jap soldiers marching in Taft Avenue. They were in full pack and they looked very tired. I don’t know where they came from but they looked like old, weary veterans of several wars.

I understand that the rice supply of the Jap Army quartermaster is running precariously low. Reason behind amalgamation of GUNKANRI BEI KOKU (Jap rice control office) with BIBA (P.I. rice agency) into new unified organization called RICOA (rice and corn administration) is due to inability of Japs to ship rice procured from Cagayan and Isabela from Aparri port to Manila harbor.

Despite previous arrangement made by Puppet Laurel granting Japs exclusive control and disposal of all rice crops in Nueva Vizcaya-Cagayan-Isabela region providing Japs leave Central Luzon to BIBA, the Japs now find it necessary to scrap this previous agreement and to draw from Central Luzon. Jap authorities have revealed that overland transportation from Cagayan to Manila practically impossible due to impassable roads, swift Cagayan river and shortage of trucks, spare parts and fuel. Overseas route via China Sea and Pacific Ocean now very hazardous, in fact virtually impossible, due to intensified U.S. submarine and aerial attacks on Jap shipping.

Meanwhile Tribune has announced that creation of RICOA due to desire of Japs to help Republic procure rice from Central Luzon because Japs cannot stay indifferent to the plight of thousands of Manilans suffering hunger. Nobody however swallows this baloney except the Japs themselves and Filipino collaborators like Laurel and Sanvictores and Sabido etcetera.

Compulsory labor is now enforced. Saw hundreds of young men walking in streets accompanied by Jap sentries with fixed bayonets. I am very careful these days when I go downtown because I may also be taken any moment. This labor conscription gives the lie to Laurel’s main boast that he won’t permit any conscription.

Heard Romulo over Voice of Freedom. I shed tears. He addressed the Japanese soldier, told him that the Filipinos will drive him out of this islands and will never surrender to him.

I can hear explosions right now, probably dynamite. Japs are building caves to store their supplies.

Got to stop now. Somebody is calling for me in the phone. I’m rather surprised though because our phone has been out of order for three weeks.

These days most telephones are out of order, frigidaires cannot be repaired, electric stoves cannot be fixed, there is very little gas and the water is not safe for drinking unless boiled. Roads are full of holes, big enough for carabaos to wallow and there are no more taxis or street cars or garages for people. If you want to get anywhere, you’ve got to walk. Cars and street cars are exclusively for Japs. If you’ve got a bicycle, you are lucky, but you always run the risk that a Jap may commandeer it from you.

This is co-prosperity, Jap style, 1944. Collaboration, cooperation, co-prosperity is a one-way traffic affair as far as Japs are concerned. I wonder what Webster dictionary thinks about it. I think I’ll send the Jap premier a brand new book.