July 14, 1942

Despite previous announcements that all sick POWs in Capas would be released, as in fact many were released already, there are still many sick POWs in Camp that the daily death is still about 100.  This may be a big reduction to the 500 daily deaths when my roommate Sagun died last May 16 but the living conditions – facilities, food, sanitation, flies – are still sub-human compared to Malolos POW Camp.  I was just talking with a comrade from Bayombong yesterday who was pale but not bedridden.  He died last night.  The same with another comrade from Tayabas in our building who died the other day.  Today, I discovered that those released sick POWs came from provinces whose peace and order condition are rated by the Jap Adm. as having returned to normal.  And so those sick POWs remaining in Capas are from provinces still considered not peaceful or not returned to normal.

Capt. Eugenio G. Lara ’38 my former PMA uppie visited his classmate with us, Lt E Baltazar ’38 this afternoon.  He shared with us stories of the horrors, brutalities and experiences he had during the death march.  He was Ateneo ROTC Comdt. when WW II broke out and proud to tell us the gallant actions of his Ateneo ROTC boys that became a part of his Bataan Anti-Tank Co.  He introduced a young Atenean with him, Sgt. Alfred X. Burgos.  I will not forget the fascinating story of Lara about his CO, Maj. E. Cepeda USMA ’32, our former PMA Comdt. Sometime last May when 500 POWs were dying per day, he suggested to Cepeda that they escape.  According to Lara, Cepeda bawled him out that he felt so small and ashamed.  However, two days later, Lara discovered Cepeda gone — he escaped.  An hour after Capt. Lara and Sgt. Burgos left, my Mistah Job Mayo came to visit me and we had a long chat.  I gave him  four tablets of sulfa.


April 19, 1942

Concentration Camp

Capas, Tarlac

Great day. Dr. Escoto of the Red Cross was able to enter our camp. He was called by the Camp Commander because the Jap guard is sick. He passed our quarters, gave medicines for the boys with dysentery and malaria. He left bottles of quinine and sulfa-thiasol to the medical officers. I asked him if he could give a letter for my family. He said make it small and short so I can keep it in my pocket without the guards noticing. They might search me. I wrote: “Dear Mama and Papa: How are you? I love you.” It was a silly letter.

I am not feeling well. I have a fever everyday. There is nothing to do but pray. I pray as many rosaries as I can. It makes me feel better.

Pimentel and Fernando are sure to die, according to a medical officer…

 

(later)

 

Met a fellow whose name I don’t remember now. He said he asked the doctor to see his family for him, but he forgot to give his address.

Col. Alba told us today that one prisoner was shot while trying to escape.


April 16, 1942

Capas, Tarlac

Filipino Concentration Camp

 

Am still alive. Have been here for two days. How long I will stay only God knows. Many are dying here. Right now, somebody just died. He is Teofilo Yldefonso, champion-swimmer, thrice captain of the Philippine swimming team to the world’s Olympics. The wound he sustained in Bataan developed gangrene. few pills of sulfa-thiasol might have saved his life, according to a medical officer. But the Japs do not permit medicine for prisoners. The doctors are now covering Yldefonso’s corpse with newspaper. Later, he will be buried with the other corpses piled high in the adjoining camp.

Right now I can hear someone shouting deliriously: “Water, please, water!” He has stopped shouting. They clubbed him. Now he is unconscious. If the guards had heard him, he would have been bayoneted.

This is not a prison camp. This is a graveyard of living corpses, breathing skeletons…

(later)

Had to stop writing because I was ordered to submit to the Group-head, Gen. Fidel Segundo, the total number of the “living” and “dead” prisoners in our group as of 7:30 this morning. That is my job: to count the living and the dead every morning.

Gen. Segundo gave us a short talk this morning. The General looked thin and haggard, so different from the days in the Tamarao’s polo club when he used to gallop across the field to make a goal. Now he looks aged and infirm, a ghost of his past self. He said: “Boys, our food –you and I– is only one handful of mashed rice and camotes everyday. One canteen-cup of water twice a day. Do not complain. We are prisoners. Such is the fate of the vanquished. Just strengthen your hearts and will to live.”

Mortality today: 300.

(later)

The Japs have made clear that any prisoner who approaches the fence to within a distance of two meters will be shot. The prisoners have been organized into regiments, battalions, companies, and platoons. For every prisoner who escapes, one man in the division will be killed, usually his immediate officer, according to the Japs Camp Commander. Our division head is Gen. Fidel Segundo. Col. Alba is regimental commander. I have been made regimental adjutant.

I understand that there are thousands of people outside the camp, mostly relatives and friends of the prisoners. They are begging the Japs to allow them to send food to the war-prisoners or at least medicine. The Red Cross has made representations to the Japanese High Command to give aid to the war-prisoners in the name of humanity and justice. The Japs have remained firm in their original decision not to permit any help to the war-prisoners. If this state of affairs continues, thousands will die here. This concentration camp will be bleached white with the bones of officers and soldiers whose only “crime” has been to uphold their country’s dignity.

Japs have permitted entrance of the Tribune. I read this editorial which states that Japan is fighting this war “to liberate Filipinos from anglo-saxon oppression.”


January 12, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Met Leonie Guerrero, Salvador Lopez, and Vero Perfecto as I was leaving the command post of the 2nd regular division.

Leonie will be assigned to our unit, Lopez to Corregidor and Perfecto will join the Signal Corps in Little Baguio.

Brought Leonie to our HQ. He and I are in the same tent. The General has assigned Fred, Leonie and I to job of putting out daily news sheet for soldiers in Bataan and Corregidor. Name suggested for publication is “See you in Manila”. Corregidor will furnish us with paper, stencils will be provided by Philippine Army Headquarters in Mariveles. Romulo called up and said the appointment of Leonie is in process. He will be made 1st lieutenant, Lopez will also be 1st lt. and Perfecto, sergeant.

Visited hospital in Base Camp. The sick were in make-shift bamboo beds. Many are afflicted with malaria. Others with dysentery. Some are suffering from bullet-wounds, others from shrapnel injuries sustained during shelling and bombardment. Every day hundreds of boys are being brought to hospital. Doctors in hospital work 24 hours. Medicine used are leaves of plants and herbs. Doctors know when there is heavy fighting in front due to truckful of wounded brought to hospital while fighting is in progress. It is a heart-rending sight to see boys with open wounds diving on the sand when planes fly overhead. Wounds have to be cleaned all over again. Many shell-shocked cases. Sulfa-thiasol works miracles to injuries. But supply is very limited now. Some boys are suffering from vitaminosis. Weighed myself in hospital. I have lost ten pounds already. Got some quinine. I think I have malaria.

 

(later)

 

Name given to Jap observation plane by boys: “FOTO JOE!” Name given to our mess hall “Tom’s Dixie Kitchen”. Between ourselves we call the General “B.P.” e.g. “Buck Private.”