The latest news from Camp O’Donnell reported the death toll of some 30,000 prisoners to this date. This is the most stupid and criminal monstrosity we’ve ever heard of during the war. With a little hygiene and organization in the distribution of food, medicine and sanitary work, this mortality which cries out to high heavens could have been avoided. Those who have been freed recently are indignant about the abuses, neglect, and usurious practices being committed in the concentration camp.
Fortunately, since about two weeks ago, the situation has improved and the congestion was relieved. Aside from releasing the greater number of survivors, the Japanese have assigned American doctors to do sanitary work in hospitals and quarters. So much has been the work accomplished that the day after the doctors arrived, the mortality decreased to 19 deaths in one barrack where there used to be 50.
I talked to some released prisoners. They recounted the treatment they had received at the concentration camp. They were not maltreated nor molested, nor even required to work, especially the Filipinos. Their release was undoubtedly an act of magnanimity, although the skeptics believe that it was due to the lack of food for their sustenance. Perhaps it was also for the purpose of winning public sympathy and loyalty, as the families of the released prisoners were constrained to be careful about the behavior of their wards and relatives.
The death toll at Camp O’Donnell has reached alarming heights. More than 30,000 were buried in Capas, where Camp O’Donnell is situated. Malaria and dysentery, aggravated by lack of food during the sojourn through the mountains of Bataan, caused general weakness among the soldiers. Instead of receiving medical care after their surrender, they were made to march from Bataan to San Fernando, the sick mingling with the healthy. There were some 60,000 of them herded into barracks which were meant to accommodate less than 2,000. The epidemic was widespread. The death toll was something like 500 to 600 a day, and their bodies were dumped into common graves. There were no medicines because those sent by people of Manila through the Red Cross were channeled by unscrupulous doctors to the black market, or sold to the prisoners at prohibitive prices.
Getting rattled a bit. Three meals of rice –1st with sugar, second with squash, 3rd with comotes– plenty to eat but we need proteins & vitamins, quite a bit of sickness in camp — Diahhrea, Dysentery, Malaria etc & little medecine of any sort. Back still very painful.
Taken by truck to San Fernando & there stripped of razor, small knife, silver pencil, flash light, cigarette case, Compass, etc whistle & letters from Helen. Had plenty of rice, opened the can of tomato soup — Spent the night & at 8:30 had rice & misua to a train for ride to Capaz. Marched from Capaz to ODonnell. Rested & under supervision of N.C.O. provided with water — Civilians gave each of us two cigarettes. Arrived at O.D about 4 –registered & assigned to Co. B of Casual officers. Then Col. G. & the officer of the 1st. Abbott, Thomas Amato have not appeared. Olson lost on way up. Hutchings & Col Ivey believed lost. Abbott & White made Capt. about April 1. White id here A died enroute.
Emperor’s birthday. All houses were required to display the Japanese flag. Gen. Homma, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Army, declared that Japan has succeeded in driving out the power of the United States and Britain in the Orient. Chairman Vargas expressed his gratitude “for the many acts of benevolence of the Imperial forces.”
In Camp O’Donnell, a nephew of mine, Tirso, died because no medicine could be given him. The Japanese Army prohibits the sending of medicines to the sick in Bataan.
Attended a party in Malacañan in honor of the Emperor’s birthday. There was plenty of food. I could not eat. I was thinking of the men starving in Capaz.
Went to O’Donnell to see the road and determine its suitability for the maneuver.
Stopped at Dau and looked over the fishponds. Went to Hdqrs Ft. Stotsenburg to find out if there were any orders or changes re maneuver. Met Maj. Price Cav. who was at Riley with me. Met Col Daugherty 26th Cav.