July 17, 1945 Tuesday

It was reported that there was a plan to launch a team composed of Osmeña for President and Romulo for Vice President. It is also said that Romulo had declined. It is too bad. We wish Romulo were a candidate so that the people can show that they do not consider Romulo the hero he seems to think he is.

I cannot complain now of not receiving letters. After more than two months, I began to receive letters and they are coming quite frequently. It seems that mail facilities are improving. How I suffered for not hearing from my family. Now I can be happy. I know that my family lives in the house of Paddy, my son-in-law; that Lily, Paddy and Monching are taking care of them; that they are in good health (although my wife had been sick with malaria, now she is well and fast improving in health); that many friends of ours are remembering us, giving my family money, food and clothing; that they are amply provided for with everything. I am especially pleased because my son, Tony, is fully aware of our situation and he has been acting as a good father does. He tried to find work so he could earn money with which to support his mother, brother and sisters, but failing in this, he engaged in business, devoting his whole time and energy and ability to it. He is meeting with quite a success, earning more than enough to support my family. My wife and Tony are so optimistic that they think that by the time I return, they will have some money saved.

The only discordant note is that I heard the very sad news that among the victims of the Japanese are my brother-in-law Jose Lualhati (husband of my sister Conchita), their youngest child, and Nicanor Castillo, my nephew. What a cruel world! I doubly hate the Japanese for murders committed upon my family. Is it not a paradox that I am being imprisoned for being a pro-Japanese?

The papers report an interview with Pres. Laurel on January 22, 1944 by a prominent person whose identity is not disclosed. According to that interview, Laurel stated that he had no illusions about the reality of the independence granted by the Japanese; that he stayed in the Philippines because Pres. Quezon decided at the last hour to leave him here, believing that in view of his relations with the Japanese, he would be in a better position to protect our people; that he did not want to be president and the position was thrust upon him; that he did not blindly follow the Japanese as he protested what he thought constituted a violation of our rights as a supposed independent nation; and that he was very frank and outspoken in his dealings with the Japanese. Once he told Gen. Kuroda, the then Commander-in-Chief, that all the Japanese in the NARIC (later BIBA) were crooks. He admitted that the independence granted was a sham as there were the Japanese Army, Navy and the Japanese Ambassador to block his policies and his every move.

The interview created a good impression and, in so far as we are concerned, it gives a good idea of the difficult and perilous situation we found ourselves in.


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.


November 10, 1944

Announcement of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s appointment as Commander-in-Chief of Japanese forces in Philippines has served to bolster Japanese morale recently on the downgrade due to successive U.S. gains in Central and SW Pacific, Leyte landings, inability of Japanese planes to combat U.S. raiders.

Main reason for relief of Lt. Gen. Shigenori Kuroda as Philippine Commander-in-Chief of Jap forces was due to air attack on Luzon by Halsey’s fleet on September 21 which caught Japanese Army completely by surprise.

When extent of damage caused by said raid to military personnel and installations was determined, Tokyo sent Lt. Gen. Takahashi to Philippines to replace Lt. Gen. Kuroda. But the new Commander-in-Chief made a serious political blunder, a few days after holding office. He immediately ordered the dissolution of the Philippine Constabulary due to reported mass “desertions” of P.C. garrisons in various provinces. This order was made without previous consultation with Puppet Jose Laurel, who is making strong efforts to convince himself that he is not a puppet. Puppet Laurel complained to Premier Koiso because he claimed Takahashi’s act was flagrant disregard of Philippine Republic which created Constabulary. This led to appointment of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Japs attach great importance to Leyte operations. E. Masatomi, Jap editor and columnist of Tribune, privately opined that “if we lose the Philippines, we lose the war”. He expressed strong belief, however, in ability of Jap forces under Yamashita to retrieve lost ground in Leyte and pointed to unceasing Jap attempts to reinforce Leyte garrisons under Lt. Gen. Makino.

During last few weeks, more or less, since naval battle off Philippines, several Jap ships have been able to land troops in Manila. Newly arrived troops looked haggard, weary and hungry. Some were asking for food from passers-by and many were asking if this was Australia. Evidently, Japs are not being told of reverses.

Meanwhile, Japs are rushing troops to probable landing points in coastal towns of Luzon. Trains are exclusively for Army use. Trucks, cars are being commandeered. Even bicycles are being taken on the spot as need arises. Downtown Manila is now filled with Jap soldiers walking around trying to find transportation.

Food situation is getting more acute. Rice is at ₱5,600.00 per sack and a kilo of pork costs ₱250.00. A banana –only available fruit– costs over ₱3.00. It is not an uncommon sight to see lean, hungry, dirty-looking men and children begging for “a little rice or anything” in Manila streets. Some persons search garbage cans for food or scrape the rice that trickles from Jap trucks carrying supply of rice to quartermaster depots.

Former Chinese consul of Iloilo, Cabo Chan is reported forcing rich Chinese in City to contribute sums ranging from ₱20,000.00 to ₱1,000,000.00 for creation of some sort of Chinese Army for the protection of Chinese under the sponsorship of Japanese Army. Those who do not contribute are brought by Japs to Fort Santiago and are kept under lock and key until they give their contribution.

Japs are now unable to ship rice from port of Aparri to Manila due to intensified submarine activity around Philippine waters. They are making preparatory moves towards unifying BIBA with Jap rice control whereby arrangement may be had giving Japs authority to draw from rice supply of Central Provinces.

When friends meet downtown, instead of talking about weather, usual greeting is “when?” and generally the answer is “very soon, maybe before the end of the month”. Most pessimistic view is “After Christmas, maybe!”


January 15, 1944

The situation is getting more and more alarming. For a month now, we haven’t received our ration of rice which the NARIC had been distributing in small quantities. It is either because there is no rice or because of certain reasons enumerated by Pres. Laurel in a recent speech, namely:

  1. The anomalies of the NARIC. The President himself expressed his intention of dissolving the NARIC. It is common knowledge that thousands of sacks of rice have been disappearing from the bodegas through clandestine operations of Filipino and Japanese officials who are presently detained by the Military Police at Fort Santiago.
  2. The subversive and recalcitrant elements who are called by the generic term “guerrillas.” Some of them refuse to plant, while others prevent the harvest of rice. Others attack transport trucks loaded with rice, claiming that they are destined for Japanese provisions. In Nueva Ecija, where rice abounds, the guerrillas are encamped, to their greater advantage.
  3. The lack of transportation. Vehicles are either rotting or breaking down. A small spare part costs more than the price of a new car before the war. The Army has commandeered all the supply of alcohol which is already running out due to reduced plantation activities, and is not selling the scarce supply to private individuals. The experiment of using charcoal which had caused so much furor in the beginning is now unpopular because of its damaging effects on the engine. There are no boats or barges available since all of them have been commandeered by the Navy. The railroad is unable to cope with the transportation needed. Thousands of daily commuters wait to buy tickets at the Tutuban station, and after waiting for three days and nights, they end up not being able to buy them unless they are willing to pay five or ten times the price from scalpers. Passengers are inside and outside the trains, on the roof-top, hanging by the windows or piled up on the engines, almost covering the whole train.
  4. The buy-and-sell of controlled commodities—rice, sugar, soap, oil, clothes, cigarettes, matches—is prohibited. The government is supposed to take over it. But since this is very seldom done and if ever, only in small quantities, people have to buy the commodities from the The SIBA, which has replaced the NARIC, has started distributing daily rations of 120 grams of rice per person, which is what a beggar would eat for breakfast. And this comes after a month of fasting, since it is not given on a daily basis. The PRMICO, a sister organization, is not doing any better in distributing other prime commodities. In three months’ time, it has distributed only once.

The New Order publicly condemns the blackmarket, but if people cannot procure these commodities elsewhere, would they rather die of hunger?

  1. There are general complaints on the venalities committed by the Constabulary and other agencies of the government. They are being accused of extorting goods or money from businessmen, or of impeding the transport of goods into the city. The President issued a decree imposing the death penalty or the life sentence on extorting government agents. Public morale is dwindling below zero. Robbery is the order of the day, and business malpractice has become acceptable.

The degenerating morale cannot but contaminate even the responsible and honorable people.