February 12, 1970, Thursday

12Feb1970_1 12Feb1970_2

PAGE 79

Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

February 12, 1970

Thursday

12:00 PM

Against predictions of violence, the Plaza Miranda rally turned out to be peaceful. Some of the leaders shouted for the crowd to go to Malacañang but the crowd would not follow.

But the KM and SDK violated their word and went through with the rally in Plaza Miranda when they had said that they would not leave the campuses. Some 40 trucks came from Angeles City. The men in them did not look like students and they were the ones crying out for blood.

The northern congressmen, senators and governors came to the palace with completely armed men. I dissuaded them from infiltrating the demonstration and inflicting harm on them.

For a time I secretly hoped that the demonstrators would attack the palace so that we could employ the total solution. But it would be bloody and messy.

Anyway I told the northern political leaders that the situation may develop into a revolutionary situation during my administration and that we should prepare for a military confrontation with the communists. The North should be developed as a last bastion, just in case. We must now cache arms and ammo there, prepare Laoag for jet landings, Lingayen Gulf for our navy and organize provincial strike forces, at the rate first of at least 100 men each province.

But we must win the hearts and minds of our

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Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

people. So, I argued, we must all be ready to sacrifice our personal interests for the common good. They agreed to this but begged that the men who had sacrificed in the political battles be not forgotten.

We had dinner and a movie. Blas Ople was there for dinner. And so was Emong Salvador, my old Maharlika comrade. Blas is an enigma. Many of the leaders distrust him. Even Col. Ver feels that he is actually one of the communist leaders and that all the attacks in the media against me and the administration may have been his brainchild. But it is best he is in the palace when there is a crisis. Then we can neutralize him or use him.

As of now I am convinced we have to wage a tedious legal, propaganda and economic battle against the communists. So this afternoon I asked the military leaders, Ponce Enrile, Yan, Garcia, and Ramos to prepare for this. There must be an assessment of the voluminous documents captured from the Ma-Maos – for legal action. The intelligence agencies must be sharpened to the sophisticated finesse of the intellectuals and urban communists. For this the NICA and NBI must be reorganized. And we must fund the various anti-subversion and anti-insurgency teams.

If they want a revolution, I will give them one in the economic field. Drastic, dramatic and effective like the rechanneling of the excess money into agro-industrial projects in the farms and resettlement centers.

I met with Vicente Araneta to listen to his priming plan. Assigned Usec. Roman Ong Jr. to study it.


January 24, 1945

“No man is great in the eyes of his valet.” They said that Napoleon used to say this. But the driver of General MacArthur thinks otherwise. This driver was assigned to me when I had a hard time looking for a vehicle to bring three Fathers to Lingayen. He told me that everyday, except today, he drove the General to the front line, but never did they take the same route twice. I asked him how he was able to memorize the complicated network of streets in so short a time, but he replied that it was not he, but the General, who knew the roads as well as the driver knew his hometown roads. The General was using a jeep which was no different from the thousands of others which the Army brought along. He narrated to me that once they had to cross a river across a pair of unstable wood plunks. He asked the General to get off while he drove the jeep across lest the General fell off and drown. But the General said, “If I fall, you also fall.” And he refused to get off.

The preceding night was the first time one in which the thunderous boom of 12-inch guns was heard at a distance. But a stray shell shook the house and the nerves of its occupants. Inch by inch the Americans hunted the Japanese, flushing them out of their mountain nests, some of which were settled, about 20 kilometers from Manaoag, along the length of San Manuel through Sison, Camp One, Rosario, Damortis. The sad part of it is that the Japanese are using guns which they had pulled out of Bataan and Corregidor, killing Yankees with Yankee guns.

In Manaoag, the shellings, bombings and mortar fire make us feel and live the war anew. Here in Lingayen the air force prevents us from forgetting the war. Like bees around the hive, at every hour of the day, these giant bees keep buzzing around the air field. To make matters worse, the howling of engines reached our place as the planes took off or landed. They flew so low we felt we could reach them with our hands.


January 18, 1945

One day the American troops were delayed in arriving at Manaoag in recapturing the fifteen kilometers which separated it from San Fabian. It took them one week to advance eleven kilometers to Pozorrubio. The cause was the Pugaros. The troops that landed in Lingayen went directly to Manila in forced marches which were not really forced. They could have advanced and come within a few days in an unprecedented blitzkrieg. But the Japanese had retreated to the eastern and western mountain ranges, and the liberators feared flank attacks which would isolate their vanguard from the main body of the Army. In spite of having slowed down their march, their provisions hardly caught up with them. The High Command had estimated that they could enter Manila by the end of March. Now they expected to make it on the first week of February.

There was another surprise for us since we sang hossana in praise of those who came in the name of the Lord. We feared that the Japanese air force would not give a moment of respite to the fleet and the landed troops, with successive bombings by suicide squads. At least this was what the Japanese radio and press reported every time a landing was made. The Americans just laughed off the reports of Radio Tokyo about the damage suffered by the American convoys and forces, with hundreds of ships sunk and entire divisions annihilated.

Almost every night, the air raid signal rang out, but it was seldom that a Japanese plane penetrated through, coming in a suicide attempt as it was caught between anti-aircraft fire and the clutches of some night fighters which patrolled the occupied areas. It was seldom that a desperate Japanese plane succeeded in dropping a bomb among the innumerable ships anchored on the Gulf. What happened to the zero fighters and the Wild Eagles whose exploits were so much praised by the Tokyo radio? In Lingayen, the Japanese left behind more than fifty planes, and more than 300 in Clark Field.


13th January 1945

When, the historians get around to studying the question whether this war was premeditated by Japan, they will be puzzled by the fact that Japan apparently started to prepare for it only when it was already lost. Yesterday the 12th January 1945, with the Americans- in the Marianas and the Philippines, the Japanese government announced the following five-point program for “immediate enforcement”:

1. Increased air defence

2. Increased munitions production

3. Increased food production

4. All-out mobilization

5. “Thorough turning of materials into fighting power”

The only policy — and it was only a corollary — that might not just as well have been formulated in 1941 was one to achieve regional self-sufficiency in Japan. The main islands have been divided into regions corresponding with military defense areas and from now on “defense and production will be managed inseparably from each other” within each region as far as possible.

All in all Japanese policy seems to be paralyzed. The Yomiuri today could think up nothing better than to compare the battle of Luzon to one of the numerous history-textbook clashes between Japan’s medieval warlords and to quote a poem of General Nogi, the conqueror of Port Arthur:

Why do we pray for luck in battle?

Impetuosity is the quality proper to warriors.

Fortune will smile upon us more when we are impetuous.

May the eight million wargods give us their divine protection.

It is all scarcely less unreal than the show we went to in the evening at a neighborhood theater, one of the few still open.

We went to see a southern seas revue which one of the Filipinos in Tokyo helped to direct. We purposely missed the first part of the program, a propaganda effort which, judging from the tail-end we caught, was very German-modern. The final tableau showed the deck of a battleship off Leyte; five sailors recited heroic verses to the responses of a chorus of chaste mermaids while later a fiery spirit or god, perched on the mainmast, exhorted them to victory. It was a revelation to find that the Tokyo audience could be just as apathetic as the Manila audience would have been; there was no applause and there was even uncomfortable laughter at the wrong places.

But neither was there any applause for the revue which was tolerably entertaining. The Philippine situation, as could have been expected, was the thin thread holding the various scenes together. References to Leyte, a little belated considering Lingayen, haunted the wheat-field comedy scene in central China, the charming Java scene where Nipponized Indonesians saw a fellow-villager off to the front, the Singapore open-air cafe scene with its electric light signs “Let Us Help the Filipinos”, the Burma air-raid shelter scene and its haunting songs under air-attack, and the final mass tableau with the Philippine “Sun and Stars” in the van (but there was no Japanese flag) and the chorus singing the song for the Creation of the New Philippines.

The Philippine scene itself was naturally the least satisfactory for us. An effort had been made to dress the girls in balintawak but it was disconcerting to note that they had long woolen underwear under the camisa; in general the effect of the costumes was more Mexican than Filipino. The faint plot seemed to revolve around a nurse.

Coming home by streetcar, we asked directions from the man next to us. He gave them and asked: “Are you going back to the Nonomiya apartments?” I asked him why he thought we were staying at the Nonomiya. He stared for a while and then explained lamely that most foreigners at that particular crossing wanted to go there. I hope he enjoyed the show.


15th day, January 11,1945

We are still here waiting. Gen. McArthur is still busy. Why be impatient? We might be landed in Manila instead of Leyte. Everything happens for the best, as Joe used to say.

The tuba in Col. Abcede’s place has put my stomach on the blink. Well, but Dr. Sevilla has given me already the pill to get it back in shape.

My name went on the air again from the USA. I feel embarrassed instead of being elated over it.

Hail Gen. McArthur and Adm. Nimitz for the successful landing of American forces in Lingayen! Mabuhay!

Quezon if he only knew what’s going on, he would break out of his grave and join Gen. McArthur.

It can’t all be glory for him, after all.