January 15, 1945

Same old breakfast, but Mr. Carter gave me some real tea last night so I had hot tea for breakfast. No soup for lunch and did my stomach make a fuss. For supper, a ladle of thick corn meal mush (they call it tamale) with some very weak and thin gravy.

Saw two P-38’s pass over today. There was no rough stuff. They were probably only on a scouting trip. Well, our boys are already across the Agno River in Pangasinan. It won’t be long now. They took up all of our chow tickets last night and re stamped them. They discovered that they were serving about 200 meals more than there are people in camp. Someone counterfeiting the tickets. They broadcasted the news first so they didn’t catch anyone. Must have been some of the “big shots” mixed up.


Pangasinan, December 11, 1942

I left for Northern Luzon. Filipino policemen, by order of Japanese officials, meticulously checked all our luggages for arms and subversive documents. There has been a lot of smuggling of rifles and pistols these past weeks, and the guerilla activities were increasing, so that the Japanese have to keep a closer watch.

The trip by train was not as fast and convenient as in prewar days. Everybody had to travel by third class, sitting on hard benches, if there are any available. The first class coaches are reserved for the Japanese who threw out by force their Asian brother who attempted to occupy their cushioned seat. These Asian brothers were for the most part standing on the aisles or piled up between luggages and crates. In these days, the elegant, dandy and imperturbable share seats with the buyo-chewing common folk.

The fields offer nothing of interest to the sight of the inconvenienced train passengers. Central Luzon is hardly planted with sugarcane. There is more of rice, but most of the fields have been left uncultivated, especially in Pampanga, the province most pillaged by bandits. In Tarlac, some fields are planted with cotton, a new breed introduced by the Japanese. It is not known what results this crop would yield in this uncertain climate. Certainly, the appearances are not encouraging.


August 1, 1942

While Manila and the surrounding towns enjoy peace—more neronic than octavian, though—in many provincial towns, anarchy and violence reign. In those towns where the Japanese have not established a garrison and there are plenty of lawless men, there is no security in the fields nor in the lives of the inhabitants, especially the rich ones. Town mayors who do not enjoy the support of the authorities or of the Constabulary cannot command obedience. Besides, the Constabulary is still unarmed, and any group of dissatisfied or hungry townsfolk could attack, rob or kill any undefended family. There are no fast vehicles or telephones or telegraphs through which assistance could be sought.

Considering such a situation, the provinces are by no means enviable. They are caught between Scylla & Charybdis. Many well-to-do families have fled to Manila where there is better protection. But in so doing, they had sacrificed their lands and businesses. Pampanga, Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces in the north, and Bicolandia in the south, are under the constant threat of armed elements who call themselves remnants of the USAFFE, usurping the name of such a glorious organization. In many islands of the Visayas, there had been a patriarchal peace until the Japanese occupied them about two months ago. The Japanese withdrew to the capital, leaving the rest of the islands in a state of pandemonium, at the mercy of armed men who terrorize the defenseless inhabitants.


May 14, 1942

Two more men assigned to Naric by Col. Uzaki “in view of the increasing activities and the consequent enormous volume of auditing and accounting.” They are Messrs. R. Ishibashi and T. Tegai. Ishibashi will be Chief Auditor and Tegai will assist him.

Pertinent points of Executive Order No. 40 signed by Chairman Jorge Vargas of the Executive Commission initiating “a national campaign for the cultivation of idle lands to produce food crops in view of an impending food shortage, difficulty of importation and the need to avert hunger and “forestall famine throughout the land”:

“1. That a nationwide campaign for the cultivation of rice, corn, camote, cassava, gabi, cowpeas, soybeans, mongo and other short-time food crops suited to local conditions, be started at once under the joint sponsorship of the DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR and the DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE;

“2. That it shall be the duty of all city and municipal mayors to distribute uncultivated public lands within their respective jurisdictions among the citizens thereof preferably to those who are unemployed in order to enable them to plant food crops therein for a period of one agricultural year;

“3. That if for any reason the owner or the one in possession of any such private land is unable to cultivate the same, it shall be the duty of the mayor of the city or municipality where such land is located to turn it over to the citizens of such city or municipality, preferably to those who are unemployed, for the same purposes and under the same conditions prescribed in the next preceding paragraph;

“That it shall be the duty of all provincial governors personally or through the agricultural supervisors, to inspect the activities of the mayors in this food production campaign. The governors and city mayors shall also submit a monthly report to the Commissioner of the Interior and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce on the progress of the Campaign in their respective provinces and cities;

“That any person who neglects or fails to perform any duty enjoined by this Order or who performs any act which defeats or tends to defeat its purposes, or who otherwise violates any provision thereof, shall upon conviction be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding ₱200, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.”

I hope Commissioners Laurel and Alunan will thoroughly execute the responsibility imposed upon them by this Executive Order. Our production is not enough to supply our consumption. Consequently, every effort must be exerted towards increasing food production. Contrary to the general public opinion, the Naric has nothing to do with production. It has never had anything to do with it in the past and it still has nothing to do with it. Naric merely takes care of procurement, price-fixing and distribution.


May 13, 1942

When it rains, it pours. Another attack against Naric men in Pangasinan. This time Ramon Villasanta, special cashier and disbursing officer in Rosales was held up. ₱5,000, office funds, was taken from him.

The following is his report:

“On Sunday night, May 10th, I slept in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. The following morning, I went back to Rosales by calesa. When I arrived at our office premises, I noticed that the office was not yet open and it was past 8 o’clock. This was strange. The office usually opens at seven. I inquired why. Mr. Ernesto Mateo, bookkeeper, told me the story of Mr. Ueno’s death and how Tongson left for Tarlac to report the matter.

“Now there had been previous threats that the Naric office would be raided. Therefore to play safe, I decided to transfer the office cash amounting to ₱5,000 to Tarlac for safe-keeping. For this reason, I entered the office by the back door. The key was in Mr. Castillo’s possession. Castillo is the warehouseman. I opened the safe, took the money, showed it to Mr. Mateo, and then I secretly deposited it in my bag which contained my clothes.

“At about 9 o’clock the same morning, Mr. Mateo and myself, accompanied by our cargadores, five of them, left for Cuyapo following the railroad track. I decided to take this road because it is on an open country and no place where bad characters may hide. Besides it is parallel to the provincial road.

“At about noontime, we suddenly heard a gunshot. Then four armed men appeared from behind the elevations on the side of the railroad tracks and confronted us with guns, one covering me, pointing his gun at my heart. Then they took our baggages including that which contained the ₱5,000 and one of them said he did not want to see our faces again.

“The first person I met in Tarlac was Mr. Ballesteros. He asked me: ‘Did you bring the money? Where’s the cash?’ Then I told him what happened. I also reminded him that it was his instruction and Mr. Ueno’s that I should never leave cash in the safe.”

Submitted Villasanta’s report to the Japanese Supervisor. Recommended that the ₱5,000 stolen be taken up under profit and loss and that Mr. Villasanta be exonerated. I also moved that he be given reasonable reimbursement for the clothing and personal properties he lost while in line of duty.

My son Vic is improving in tennis. He practices with Ampon, national champ. The girls too play every afternoon.

Read Noli Me Tangere. My blood boiled reading the abuses committed by Spanish authorities.

Someone should write another Noli Me Tangere today.

 


May 12, 1942

Mr. Ueno, Japanese supervisor in Pangasinan was killed. The following is a report I received from Tranquilino Tongson, Provincial Inspector of Pangasinan.

“At half past 12, on May 10th, Mr. Ballesteros and Mr. Villanueva arrived from Tarlac to inspect our station. They left between 2 to 3 o’clock. After their inspection, Mr. Ueno, Mr. Villasanta, Mr. Mateo and I went to the house. While chatting with one another, I remember that Mr. Ueno jokingly said: ‘How about flirting around with the girls?’ I answered: ‘It’s still too early.’ However, Mr. Ueno left the house after a while and according to our chauffeur, he took the struck and drove it himself. Having nothing to do, I went to a relative, Dr. Acosta, who lives near the town plaza. After about half an hour or more in his house, the doctor and I heard several shots. In a while, the girls who were asked by the doctor’s daughter to gather ‘sampaguitas’ for the floral procession, came running and informed us that a Japanese with a truck had been killed. Later on, a young man also arrived and told us that Mr. Ueno had been shot at the plaza; that the plaza and the streets were cleared of people because everybody ran; that the windows and doors of all houses were closed; and that many persons fled to the barrio. I didn’t dare come out of the doctor’s house and I slept there that night. Immediately, the following morning, Monday, May 11th, 1 went out of my hiding and took to the fields, away from the road, hiking a distance of about 13 to 14 kilometers from Rosales to San Manuel, where I waited for buses or trucks to take me to Tarlac where I would report the matter. In Tarlac, I reported the matter to Mr. Nomura, who in turn reported the matter to the Military Police. Afterwards, I was instructed by Mr. Nomura to proceed to Manila and report the incident.”

Submitted Tongson’s report to Supervisor Fukada. Expressed my condolences.

 

 


May 6, 1942

No peace nor order in Pangasinan. Rosales in turmoil. Two hundred men entered the municipal building armed with revolvers and rifles. They threatened the municipal treasurer with death: “Open the safe or we will kill you!” The treasurer decided that life was better part of valor. He gave them the key.

Rumors that the NARIC warehouse will be next. “Don’t give your rice to the Naric,” argue propagandists, “because the Naric gives it to the Japanese.” The lives of Pangasinan employees have been threatened. Many refuse to continue working.

Life in the provinces today is not worth a dried tomato, according to a Naric employee. He said: “If you cooperate with the Japanese, the guerillas will kill you. If you cooperate with guerillas, the Japanese will kill you. If you cooperate with both, both will kill you. If you don’t cooperate with both, both will also kill you. Whatever you do, you will be killed.”

Let Socrates solve this dilemma.


Baguio, May 4, 1942

I have started gathering information from actual witnesses about the changes and developments which have taken place in this summer capital since the beginning of the war. The people of Baguio first came to know about the war when the Japanese planes dropped bombs over this city in the early morning of December 8. When attacks were reported on the following day and the days after, the people closed all stores and market places and fled terrified to nearby caves and forests.

Meanwhile, most of the USAFFE troops stationed in Baguio were sent to defend Pangasinan and La Union when the Japanese forces first landed. The others fled to Bontoc when the first wave of enemy troops showed up along Bauang road on December 24. Nobody was around to turn the town over to the enemy. It was done by the Mayor and the Chief of Police.

On the twenty-seventh of December, the first fifty Japanese entered without firing even a shot, just as they had done in all other towns of the Philippines. Manaoag was “conquered” by five bicycle-riding Japanese.

The take-over was peaceful. The only blunder was the novel idea which occurred to the military chief to organize a parade celebrating the fall of Singapore. He ordered everybody to join, including the members of religious congregations. It was a tragi-comic sight to see cloistered nuns, American Dominicans of the Maryknoll Convent, Spanish, Belgian, German and Irish priests and sisters, parading through the streets carrying small Japanese flags and waving them every time the Japanese shouted: “Banzai! Banzai! Nippon!”

The Japanese town chief did not understand anything about canon law nor international law. On Sundays he came to Mass. He was not a Catholic. He demanded to be given a special seat at the altar, and after the Mass he preached on the gospel of the Co-Prosperity Sphere.


April 22, 1942

Received information that there is plenty of camote in Pangasinan, particularly in the municipalities of Bautista and Gerona; mongo, in the municipalities of Bautista and Gerona; mongo, in the municipalities of Urdaneta, Villasis and Binalonan; corn is almost all municipalities. There is no outlet for these products at present because of the dislocation of transportation and the lack of fuel. Must ask the Military Administration to take a hand in the purchase of these valuable food products for distribution and marketing.

Several prisoners of war have escaped from camp. That is like escaping from death.