Diary of Antonio de las Alas

June 16, 1945 Saturday

Discussions continue on political questions. The question was raised as to whether in view of recent developments, especially the attitude of government leaders in Manila, a new party should be launched with us here as the nucleus. Some argue that the developments in Manila are forcing us to band together. The new party will have as its main issue the immediate independence of our country, without prejudice to free trade or reciprocal trade relations between the two countries, the Philippines and the United States. There is no incompatibility between independence of the Philippines and economic assistance on the part of the Americans. This proposition is gaining ground. We are now unanimous as far as issues are concerned since even those who were formerly inclined to favor more or less permanent relationship with America, are now decidedly and strongly for immediate absolute independence. The new party will also defend the rights of those unjustly accused of being “collaborationists”. A newspaper will be published. There is no doubt that if such political party is launched, it will be a powerful one considering the influence and prestige of those detained here.

In my personal opinion, the formation of such a group should be avoided by all means. If there was ever any time when unity was indispensable, it is at the present crucial period in our history. Our mother country having been a battlefield is still rising from the ruins. We should sacrifice, even in the midst of mental torture and gross injustice, for the sake of the survival of our people and the independence of our country.

It is said that the government in Manila is a dismal failure. The people are disinterested and are becoming more and more restless. Many serious problems are left unsolved and unattended. Goods are scarce and prices, especially of prime commodities, are rising daily. Inflation is showing its ugly head. There is a great deal of suffering. I will discuss this phase more thoroughly later. It is very possible that if we were in Manila we would also be partly responsible for such failure. As it is, the people are beginning to feel our absence believing that their welfare would have been in better hands with us holding the reins of government. They base their belief upon our record as public servants. “No hay mal que por bien no venga” is a Spanish saying. Good things may yet come out of evil.

I used to play a little poker; I don’t anymore. My friend and provincemate in a poem he wrote about us which was intended as a joke, said among other things that I am a conscientious poke player. Many got the impression from reading the poem that I am a poker player enthusiast and that I spend much of my time on it. I consider poker as a form of gambling and consequently a poker player is a gambler. I do not want to have the reputation of being a gambler, It will prejudice my career if and when I enter again the business and financial circles.

I am against any form of gambling. One loses too much time on it. It is the source of crime. But the strongest argument against it is that it is a non-productive activity. It does not contribute anything to the nation’s wealth. However, I must admit that gambling is not an easy problem to solve in the Philippines. Cockfighting is gambling and it is a game that has gotten hold of the people, especially in our small towns where there is practically no other form of amusement. People find cockfighting as quite entertaining and many flock into cockpits every Sunday and holidays. To stop cockfights would be just like the “Prohibition” in the United States. Since it would be very hard to ban cockfights, the government thought it better to license and regulate cockfighting. This way, the people get a little entertainment and the municipal government some income.

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