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.


December 21, 1944

Significant developments. Puppet P.I. government moving to Baguio. Laurel and all Ministers including Manuel Roxas scheduled to leave for Baguio last night. Jap Embassy also hurriedly packing to transfer to Baguio. Jap Dept. of Information burning papers, will continue propaganda in Baguio. Speaker B. Aquino remained in Manila, promised to go up after wedding of his son Billy. Minister Antonio de las Alas expressed fear Japs will eventually bring P.I. cabinet to Tokyo. Gen. Paulino Santos, head of P. Constabulary, will reside in Malacañan. Japs planning to give Sakdals thru Makapili more extensive powers in Manila government.

Further indications Japs vacating Manila: big shipyard and iron works in Findlay & Miller docks being dismantled; ammunition dump in Pinaglabanan being transferred. All telephone installations of buttai 2944 in City being removed. Jap leather factory in Aviles has stopped work. Wives of Jap civilians left by train last night. Preparations to move sick Jap soldiers from Quezon Institute now underway. Non-stop movement of troops, trucks, tanks, artillery in Manila roads. Soldiers are in full pack. Trucks loaded with supplies and baggages. Roads leading to the outskirts of Manila filled with Japs leaving the city hurriedly.

Manilans agog by these new developments. Morale of people has risen to skies. Jap morale evidently on the downgrade. An old Jap who had been here 10 years said: “What do you think of all these things?” Manilans think Americans will be in Manila by the 15th of January. Landings will be effected “maybe before Christmas or New Year”. People suspect landings in Batangas. Everybody is in gay spirits. “No better Christmas could be had!” some say. Talk of open city revived.

Barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, zonified yesterday morning. All houses in said barrio searched. About 400 males corralled near Sta. Mesa market. Everybody made to sit under sun. One man being battered with a blunt instrument kept shouting, pleading: “Somebody please kill me, please, please, please.”

Victor Pagulayan, assistant manager of Naric, dying. After leaving Fort Santiago he was brought to the hospital. Several liters of water have been taken from his lungs.

Indications rise that RICCOA, newest rice agency, may be able to distribute around 600 sacks for Manila before Christmas, if Japs permit. It is reliably known that Japs have recently decided to take “all rice that can be procured from Central Luzon because of military needs.” Rice to be harvested will not be deposited in Jap bodegas in City. Harvest will be stored in warehouses along Central Luzon. This again indicates Jap intention to leave Manila. This will naturally worsen food situation in City, increase hunger-deaths. Doctors of San Lazaro hospital estimated that deaths due to chronic hunger in city around 500 daily. Many walking in streets can be seen suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Beri-beri rampant especially among lower classes.

With all these significant developments, I am of the opinion that Gen. Yamashita recognizes the untenability of defending Manila. The more troops he keeps here, the more will be sacrificed. Manila is indefensible due to its many exits and entrances. Consequently, Yamashita has taken away from city all material and people like the puppets whom he would not like to see in the hands of Americans. He has sent the bulk of his troops to the north. He has sent a minimum force to guard the coasts of Tayabas and Camarines and Batangas, most possible landing points. Yamashita realizes that his troops in the coastline will only be decimated by U.S. aerial and naval bombardment. Coastline of P.I. is flat and open. No natural protection to defenders from skies. Yamashita expects to make his stand in the north with his back to Japan. There he has natural protection, mountains, cliffs and food.

People are waiting for the zero hour. When, when will it come? Opinions range generally “from Christmas” to the first 15 days of January. Up to now the furthest I’ve heard is “around the month of March.”

Meanwhile collaborators have changed tune, speak differently. Even Aquino is changing his opinions. Opportunists, perhaps.

Guerillas are increasing in numbers. Some believe capitol of Batangas, taken by guerillas, with aerial support.


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.


October 8, 1942

Murders and robberies were the order of the day. Yesterday, the proprietor of Malate Taxi was found dead from blows dealt on him in his bed. The cashier of Mitsui, a Japanese firm, was held up and robbed of ₱6,000.00. At one NARIC distribution center, a man entered with a gun in his hand and took several hundred pesos. The central office of NARIC was also robbed of ₱2,000.00 by a masked robber while another robbery was committed in a moviehouse, with the victim divested of ₱700.00. All these happened in a day.

The assaults on private houses and persons are countless. Only the early incidents were reported by the newspapers which however keep silent about other such happenings, probably to prevent demoralization.


July 17, 1942

Due to the increasing cost of living, the following salary readjustment has been made:

1. From ₱50 down, increase to ₱50 for permanent employees, one year in the service, regardless of merit.

2. From ₱50 to ₱100 varying increases according to merit.

3. ₱100 to ₱150—stationary. But “dead wood” will be reduced.

4. Above ₱150, definitely no increase, except to very exceptional and meritorious cases.

5. Total percentage of increase of permanent employees, 7%. ₱20,000 is calculated monthly salary of permanent employees. About ₱50,000 is total monthly salary of Manila and provincial, permanent and temporary employees. Not more than 300 employees will get an increase.

6. Provincial men. Reduce salary by 20% but give a per diem of ₱1.00 a day.

7. Reasons for increase: (a) hard work, including Saturday afternoons and Sundays; (b) lowest paid corporation, comparatively, (c) conducive to efficiency.

There’s nothing like getting a raise!


July 16, 1942

Studying “darak” supply for horse-owners. After a survey among carromata owners, it was found out that two gantas of “darak” are being consumed by a horse daily or 1.9 kilos, say, 2 kilos a day. This food, however, is supplemented with a little copra-meal, grass and molasses.

Another Japanese will be assigned to take charge of Cabanatuan branch.

Couldn’t play tennis. Rained.


July 15, 1942

More war prisoners released, thank God. The prison camps are death holes.

Attended a meeting of restaurant owners at the Office of the Mayor.

I made the following suggestions subject to the approval of the Naric and subsequently of the Military Administration:

(a) Each restaurant owner shall state the name and address of their restaurant, the amount of rice required and the approximate number of people usually served.

(h) The Naric will study the location of these restaurants and then decide on the method of distribution.

(c) The City of Greater Manila will be tentatively divided into the north and south districts, making the Pasig River as the dividing line. The Naric will appoint one member of the association for each of the two districts, who is to take delivery of the rice, either at the Naric or at designated stations, in accordance with the decision of our Distribution Department.

(d) There shall be levied a fee per sack from each restaurant as a means of financing the situation, say, 10 centavos per bag, but that is up to the association.

(e) The above-mentioned must be presented as soon as possible to the Naric, which will in turn present them to the Military Administration for approval.

Cloudy day. Occasional thunderstorms. Thought they were cannons.


July 13, 1942

Asked Unding Alunan to find out if Arthur Fischer is in the concentration camp for Americans in Camp Tinio. I want to help him.

Talked to Naric agents. Told them to impress upon the minds of distributors and these in turn to tell the leaders, that the Naric will conduct a house-to-house investigation in conjunction with the police. Neighborhood association leaders are urged to ask association members to correct misstatements in their reports, regarding the size of their families.

I reminded the agents that ample warnings have been given and so those caught doctoring their family cards will be punished. I made it clear to them that these orders do not come from the Naric, but from the Military Administration.

Placards will be distributed in each station to inform the people as to distribution hours in each station. Notwithstanding announcement of such hours, distributors must remain their stations at least until 3 p.m. if one or more leaders fail to get their sacks of rice during distribution hours. Naric trucks arrive at these stations at about 12:45 p.m.

In all cases, distributors must wait for the Japanese supervisor to turn in the coupons for the day before closing up. The idea behind all these instructions is to favor the leaders and not to inconvenience them. Mr. Inada suggested the formation of an Association of Rice Distributors to make arrangements collectively for their needs, such as push carts, tarpaulins and cargadores and then they can deliver rice to the leaders of the Neighborhood Associations covered by their respective associations.

Sulit believes this plan is impractical. Push carts which are in business are the most economical means of transporting rice from station to residence of leaders, he stated, and present arrangement is satisfactory to leaders and distributors. Furthermore, Neighborhood Associations are not circumscribed around distribution stations, he pointed out. Sulit said that one such association was organized two days ago in Calle Andalucia.

Very tired. I need a vacation but it is useless to broach the question. The answer will be “not now.”


July 10, 1942

Thinking of Pagu. At a dinner at the Hotel with Major Nishimura, I asked about Pagu. The interpreter said in broken Spanish: “Ese para muerto ya” and he made a gesture with his hands as though slitting his throat. I got pale. I said: “But he is a very good man. He is very needed in the Naric. And what he did was nothing. Everybody had these leaflets. I also.” The interpreter laughed.