Peace and order in Vizcaya continue to be good so the Japanese Army’s total strength is now reduced to Bn. size. The American POWs are all transferred to Cabanatuan Camp. Meanwhile, the two Grla. Companies of Capt. Aban in Bagabag and Capt. Asuncion in Solano continue with their every Saturday Taisho program taught by Japanese Army instructors that gave them reason to assemble and conduct their close order and extended drills after. These Companies secretly under my command are about ready for future operations and are adhering from standing instructions on training, intelligence collections, laying low and awaiting orders. I am happy that latest scuttlebutts indicate Japanese advances towards Australia was stopped when Guadalcanal was taken back by the US Marines and the airfield there can be used now against the major Japanese Base in Rabaul.
It is gratifying to note that the 14th Inf. Grlas. was the first guerilla unit to contact Gen. MacArthur in Corregidor late Jan. 1942 through the effort of my classmate, Lt. Ed Navarro who took his transceiver all the way from Camp Allen to Kiangan, then to Bayombong during their retreat. This transceiver was used to send messages to USAFFE HQ by the 14th Inf. Grlas. but was lost after Col. Nakar was captured. Lately, I learned another PMA Classmate, Capt. Amos Francia Signal O. of Panay Grlas. under Col Peralta, through his ability and resourcefulness, was also able to fix a radio transmitter in their mountain hideout and able to contact SWPA HQ of Gen.MacArthur late last month. Francia is not only a classmate but also a blood relative and fellow Bulakeño.
This morning, my grla. associates, Col. Ramirez, Capt. Calvo and Mr. Elizalde dropped quietly at my office on their return trip to Manila from Isabela. Elizalde asked me for a list of 14th Inf. officers in hiding because they are in the Japanese wanted list and I gave him the names of Maj. Romulo A. Manriquez ’36, Capt. P. Dumlao, Lt. H. Quines ’42 and Lt. V. dela Cruz. Col. Ramirez greeted his former JO, my Sr. Insp. Sergio Laurente, briefly and after my visitors left, Laurente asked me how I came to know them. I replied that I met them through Manila socialite Ms. Lulu Reyes in my OSP Manila socials. It was then that he opened to me about his pro-American sympathies, how he suffered at the hands of the Japanese after he was surprised with the Japanese landing in Ilocos Sur where he was PC Prov. Comdr. Dec. 10,1941, captured and became the first USAFFE officer to become a POW.
I did not tell my Sr. Inspector that my visitors are my grla. associates but instead recommended that in view of the briefing by Capt. Calvo last Feb 15 and to safeguard prime foodstuff raised locally by the natives for their own welfare, that we prohibit merchants from taking them out in commercial quantity of Vizcaya without permit from our office. Merchants from Manila have recently been purchasing rice by the truckloads due to shortage there. Laurente did not only approve my recommendation but even appointed me Chief, Economic Police for the province. I made a directive to all our detachment commanders accordingly and henceforth, movement of foodstuff in bulk from the province to anywhere outside must have written permits from our HQ.
Meanwhile, the scuttlebutts by Capt. Calvo was confirmed by short wave radio news I heard with Fr. Lambreth’s two night ago. In addition, we also heard about the Council Meeting in Casablanca by US Pres. Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle. The latest one I got was about my OSP Boss Maj. Enrique L. Jurado USNA ’34 who managed to elude the Japanese from Batangas to Romblon and he finally settled in Odiongan before joining the Peralta Grlas. recently in Panay, the very place he wanted our Q-Boats to escape when Bataan was surrendering. Also Col R. Kangleon is building up his grlas. in Leyte and Capt. Pedro Merritt ’34 with my classmate Lt. Ed Soliman ’40 are organizing in Samar. Maj. Inginiero and my classmate Lt. H. Alano ’40 are also busy in Bohol.
It is a pleasant surprise for Col. Alfredo Ramirez ’14, Spanish Aviator Capt. Juan Calvo and Don Juan Elizalde to visit me this morning at my BC office in Bayombong and when my Sr. Inspector, Sergio Laurente ’21, saw Col. Ramirez, he was doubly surprised because I learned Laurente was once a junior officer of Ramirez. My visitors are my associates in the 14th Inf. Grlas. under Col. M. P. Enriquez ’34 but Insp. Laurente was unaware of it. I only told him they are my old friends.
Capt. Calvo briefed us on the latest scuttlebutts –prime commodities like rice getting scarser and expensive in Manila because the enemy is living on the fat of the land, the good news in the European, African and Southwest Pacific Fronts. On the African Front, Allied Forces under LtGen. Eisenhower, have established firmly there with Gen. Rommel on the run. Even the Germans that occupied Stalingrad had surrendered to the Russians. And the Japanese had quit on the Solomons. The best news is about the arrival of Major Jesus Villamor via Submarine in Negros from SWPA HQ Australia to contact guerilla units in the Visayas. It seems the tide is now turning in our favor.
Cpl. Pablo Naval who left Bayombong last Jan. 27 to deliver my message to Col. Enriquez, my Grla. Boss, returned three days ago telling me his difficulties locating Enriquez hiding in the vicinity of Benguet Mining Co with his staff. He was happy to get my detailed report and send his congratulations for the neighborhood association in Bagabag and Solano being sanctioned by the Japanese Army with the Taisho training as a reason for the assembly of our men for further military training. However, he cautioned me to be careful as the new Kempeitai Counterintelligence of Gen. Baba have been very busy lately. I commended Naval for accomplishing his mission.
Col Enriquez also instructed me to send Lt. Luis Casumpang and six of his EMs who were former members of the Corps of Engineers, to be accompanied by Cpl. Naval to his HQ for Training by Benguet Consolidated Mines in handling explosives for future Sabotage Missions. I instructed Lt. Casumpang accordingly and today, his group of seven accompanied by Naval left Vizcaya for Benguet.
After my Taisho Training visit in Solano three days ago, I instructed SA Pablo Naval to see me that afternoon in my office in Bayombong. In the privacy of my office, I instructed him “as soon as ready” to proceed to Baguio area where our Grla. Comdr., L.Col. Enriquez is “laying low in hiding” to give the following report: “Peace and order in Vizcaya is good as the guerrilla units there are under my complete control; my rapport with Japanese military authorities is also good with their blessing on our neighborhood association idea wherein Taisho Instructions were given twice, and the authorized assemblies gave us opportunity to further military training. When I arrived in Bayombong early last Nov., there were a dozen American POWs that included L.Col. E. Warner, original 14th Inf. CO and L.Col. Theodore Kalakuka, emissary of Gen. Wainright in the surrender process after the fall of Corregidor. Warner surrendered to Kalakuka and their combined efforts in collaboration with the Chief of Police of Jones, Isabela caused the capture of L.Col. G. Nakar, who, I understand, was executed. Early last month two American POWs, L.Col. Kalakuka and a Lt. Ziegler, died of dysentery and malaria and were buried at the local Catholic Cemetery. Before the end of last month all American POWs were transferred to Cabanatuan POW Camp.” Since this report will be delivered verbally, I asked Naval to repeat what the message is and to my satisfaction, he covered all subjects verbatim.
Today, my being Actg. Sr. Inspector of Vizcaya ended with the arrival of Inspector Sergio Laurente ’21. After a formal turnover this afternoon, I accompanied him to the Provincial Capitol to pay a social call on Gov. Quirino and other officials. He was received cordially as he has a pleasing personality. At the start of the war, Laurente was provincial PC Comdr. of Ilocos Sur and when the Japanese landed there Dec. 10,1941, he was taken by surprise, immediately captured and earned the distinction of being the first Filipino USAFFE to become POW. From the way I size him up, I think we will have a very pleasant camaraderie although he graduated from the old PCA nineteen years before I graduated from PMA in 1940.
This morning I passed by Capt. Ikeda’s office with my BC Squad for our scheduled Saturday Taisho Training Instructions. Capt. Ikeda told me he can not come with me as he has some official schedule this morning but he loaned me his truck that we used with his two Taisho Instructors. We proceeded to barrio Paniqui, Bagabag where “barrio Captain Guillermo Aban” and his neighborhood watchmen were waiting in the school grounds. Without much ado, Taisho Instructions started at 0800H with my BC men assisting this time. The Instructions were executed very well I could see how impressed the Japanese Instructors were at their students enthusiasm. While the instructions were going on, I told Aban who was with me on the sideline, to start close order drills after we leave. Also beginning tonight, he can maintain two posts at the extremities of the barrio where they can start performing guard duties as part of their renewed military training.
Taisho Training Instructions terminated 0930H in Bagabag and we proceeded to barrio Ibung, Solano where “Barrio Captain Fernando Asuncion” and his men were waiting and started Taishyo Training at 1000H. Like at Barrio Paniqui, the men at Barrio Ibung performed very well with enthusiasm and while they were going into the motions, I gave the same instructions to Capt. Asuncion about conducting close order drills and guard duty training, the same instructions I gave Capt Aban.
Taisho Training in Solano terminated 1130H with the Japanese Instructors saying their students in Solano as well as in Bagabag performed so well that they felt they have completed their job in two sessions. I was happy to hear what they said and requested that they make that report to Capt. Ikeda. We arrived back in Bayombong at noon and thank Capt. Ikeda for the services of his two Instructors for a job well done.
This morning I had a most pleasant surprise, two prominent visitors, Spanish Aviator Capt. Juan Calvo known for his solo flight from Manila to Madrid in mid-30s, and Col. Alfredo Ramorez ’14, former Comdt., UST ROTC, both with the 14th Inf. Intelligence of Col. Enriquez. They cover their travel as traders with dry goods in their truck and wanted a BC pass to facilitate getting through BC check points which I granted.
After briefing them of the condition of peace and order in Vizcaya with my good rapport with local Japanese military authorities, Col. Ramirez informed me of recent developments since our meeting at Miss Lulu Reyes place last month. He said the Japanese are clamping on guerrillas that early this month, a counter-intelligence unit under one, Gen. Baba started at Kempei-tai HQ in Manila. The Sakdalistas set up their own informant network called “Makapili” reporting directly to Baba. Raids were made often and it was reported that Col. Thorpe operating from Mt Pinatubo was captured near Ft. Stotsenburg, while Capt. Joe Barker was captured in Manila and both are now in Ft. Santiago. Col. Ramirez also reported that guerrilla leader Ralph McGuire was captured and executed. The Colonel also cautioned me to be very careful. They left later for Cagayan province whose Sr. Inspector is my classmate Leoncio Tan ’28.
Per schedule, we left Bayombong for Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag to teach the Barrio Neighborhood Watch “Radyo Taisho” I arranged with the Japanese Army, early today on a convoy of two Japanes Army Vehicles, a car and a truck. Capt. Ikeda and I took the car followed by the small truck with two Japanese Taisho Instructors and a squad of my BC men under Sgt. Norberto Aquino as security. We arrived at Paniqui before 0800H with 50 Neighborhood Watch of Capt. Gullermo Aban lined up to welcome us. I introduced Aban to Capt. Ikeda as the local barrio Captain. Ikeda seems impressed at the friendly attitude of the people and without much ado, the two Japanese Instructors took over and started teaching Aban’s men Radyo Taisho at the spacious barrio school ground. Radyo Taisho is Japanese calisthenics used in their basic military training and all BC men know it. My purpose here is to get the blessings of the local Japanese military to assemble our men that will help in neighborhood watch or guard, to perform Radyo Taisho and later certain military drills during the time they are laying low. Capt. Ikeda, I and many others watched the training which went through smoothly with very favorable remarks from Capt. Ikeda. My BC men under Sgt. Aquino helped a lot. The training terminated at 0900H, Capt. Aban prepared breakfast for us which Ikeda at first hesitated to partake.
After we have eaten, I keda thanked Aban and the barrio people of Paniqui. We then proceeded to nearby Barrio Ibung, Solano arriving there at 1000H with Capt. Fernando Asuncion with his barrio watch lined up to welcome us at the school grounds. After introducing barrio captain Asuncion to Capt. Ikeda, the Japanese instructors started teaching the barrio watch Radyo Taisho which was easily learned with the help of my BC men. Capt. Ikeda was also impressed with what he witnessed at barrio Ibung, specially old man everyone call Lakay Molina. The people are peaceful and friendly. We stayed at barrio Ibung up to 1100H, after which we returned to Bayombong.
During our return trip, Capt. Ikeda said he was impressed of the neighborhood watch idea and added that the people can live happily and contented only when there is peace and hopes that more towns in Vizcaya will follow the example of the barrio people he witnessed himself. This was the first time he had visited these two outlaying barrios at the foot of Cordillera Mountain whose approaches are ideal for ambuscades. He thank me for providing security and an enlightening trip.
I visited Capt. Ikeda of the local Japanese Army Garrison at his office this morning and he received me cordially. While we were having tea, he announced that the instructors I requested to teach “Radyo Taishyo’ to the barrio neighborhood association of Bagabag and Solano are ready for three Saturdays sessions starting next Sat. which will be Jan 16 followed by Jan 23 and Jan 30. Capt. Ikeda thinks three teaching sessions will be enough. I am elated Capt. Ikeda is interested in the idea that shows those ‘barrio people have the proper attitude’. We agreed that the first training session starts at 0800H at Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag followed at 1000H at nearby barrio Ibung, Solano. Capt. Ikeda expressed his desire to witness the first training session January 16 and we agreed that we will ride together in his car.
After returning to my office, I summoned Capt. Guillermo Aban and Fernando Asuncion and late in the afternoon, had a conference. I told them about the ‘Radyo Taisho’ training schedule for the next three Saturdays starting Jan. 16, furnishing them each the printed schedule — 0800H in Bagabag and 1000H in Solano. I told them I will introduce them as barrio captains and your men are members of your neighborhood association eager to perform barrio watch. That many of them were former trainees and had some military training before. From then on, we will play it by ear. However, I asked them to prepare the barrio very well on Jan 16 as Capt. Ikeda will be with me and I want to impress him.