February 11, 1970, Wednesday

11Feb1970_1 11Feb1970_2

PAGE 77

Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

February 11, 1970

Wednesday

1:00 AM

Comparative quiet. The radicals have called off their rally in Plaza Miranda and will probably hold rallies in the campuses. Met with the UP moderates headed by Gordon and Ortega. They are planning to put up their newspaper.

Commander Sumulong sent word through Danding Cojuangco that the rioting in Malacañang was brought about by the CIA. Jim Rafferty had said that he had made inquiries about the squatters and they had refused to join the rally. This, he said was different from Indonesia, where they had.

Commander Sumulong is going after Commander Dante in Tarlac. He says Dante was wounded in a previous skirmish and may be moving around in a hammock. Danding suspects that Ninoy Aquino is hiding him in either Antipolo, Puringay or in the Joe Rojas ranch in Bataan. Sumulong promises to get him.

Col. Tomas Diaz is now Zone-2 and needs ₱80,000 for six civilian jeeps, one jeep each for the six teams and six more vehicles plus ₱10,000 monthly. We will start going after those Ma-Maos in a big way.

Have asked Bobby Benedicto to join Licaros in the U.S.. He has sought a leave of absence preparatory

PAGE 78

Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

to retirement. Executive Vice Pres Villatuya is Acting President of PNB.

Am still looking for replacements in the BIR, Customs and the financing institutions as well as Undersecretaries of Defense, Justice and Commerce.

Have asked Dir. _______ of Forestry to locate 1,000 hectares near Manila and 1,000 hectares in Bataan near the Free Trade Zone for my resettlement projects.

Have appointed Gen. Tobias as Gen. Man. of the National Housing Corporation. I hope to build 1,000 low-cost houses a month.


Baguio, November 6, 1944

I decided to come up to Baguio, partly for reasons of health, and partly to lessen the burden of the Seminary community. Food shortage in Manila has reached alarming proportions, and as I am unemployed by force of circumstances, I am more of a burden than a help. (I have to confess, however, in foro interno, that the nervousness caused by the bombings has a lot to do with my decision.) I accepted the invitation of two families—that of Tomás Morató and that of Mr. Pratts, who, with their whole families, organized a caravan of 60 persons in three cars and six wagons loaded with utensils and supplies. The trip, even in these tempestuous times, was a pleasant one, full of exciting adventures.

We left with the group of Mr. Pratts on October 31, composed of three wagons and a car. Not knowing that the Philippine Constabulary outpost in Balintawak has been reinforced with Japanese police, we passed without stopping. The first three vehicles were able to go through in spite of the pointed guns of the sentry, but the last one had to stop when the Japanese sentry was about to fire at it. The outpost officer shouted and threatened the passengers, slapped the driver three times on the face and ordered the examination of the luggages and the search of the owners, who were ordered to line up to be slapped on their faces. Mr. Pratts, on learning what had happened, turned back and showed the papers authorizing the trip, thus saving the passengers, including Father Sádaba and the famous Spanish comedian, González Anguita, from the slaps.

After two hours of delay, the convoy proceeded without further incidents. Activities went on as usual in Bulacan, we noted. Pampanga was desolate, with abandoned fields and empty towns. There were very few people in the street aside from the military, and the houses were uninhabited, except those occupied by the Japanese. Families who were able to evacuate had gone to Manila, Baguio or to towns far from the main thoroughfares. First they were driven away by the Communists, then by the marooned troops, and now by the bombings. During this three-day journey we observed that Pampanga has remained the most desolate among the town of Luzon.

We arrived at the Bamban River on the boundary of Tarlac. We found that the bridge had been swept away by the strong current. As the night was fast approaching and we did not dare encamp at night in the ghost town by the road, we decided to spend the night in Minalin, a town eight kilometers from San Fernando where a friend and a countryman of mine, Fr. Daniel Castrillo, was the parish priest. We were thinking that we could take the Nueva Ecija Road on the following day, and since we made a complete turn, we would be hitting the Baguio road in Tarlac. We did not consider the hosts, namely the guerrillas.

Fleeing from Scylla (the Japanese), we ended up on Charybdis. Hardly had we set forth on the soil of the open neighborhood which was awed by such an usual caravan and had not seen a motor vehicle in many months, when a guerrilla contingent came to the convent to investigate what kind of guest we were.

Satisfied with our innocuous characters, they guaranteed our safe stay among them. Everyone, including the guerrillas, respected Fr. Daniel, who had given away almost all of his belongings and provisions to help those who are in need.

They asked us for paper and a typewriter ribbon for use in transcribing the orders, notices and communications they received by radio. They told us that in one of the last air raids, an American pilot bailed out of his damaged plane, landed near this town and was harbored by the guerrillas. The first thing they salvaged was the radio transmitter and receiver.

After the first group of guerrillas, a second group from another town came. Then another, and still another, until almost all groups from the different parts of the whole province had paid a visit during the whole night. The first groups were courteous, the others were rather aggressive. We were surprised at how fast the news of our arrival had spread. Fr. Daniel explained to us that the guerrillas had a well-organized system of espionage, runners and network. They are now unified and better-disciplined after the purge of radical and undesirable elements who, in the past, had been committing atrocities. Such atrocities are no longer being committed now, or if ever, very infrequently. They collect the harvests, either from the farms or from the warehouse, leaving the owners with two or five sacks of rice for planting anew. In a place near Minalin, several thousands of young men equipped with rifles, have assembled for training. The Japanese are masters of the principal roads, but the towns and barrios far from the roads are controlled by the USAFFE. As of now, each group respects the others in armed peace. Officials of the national government, the mayors and the constabulary are acting like the three proverbial monkeys. They see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.

The first group of guerrillas who came to visit us wore medals and crucifixes around their necks. Other waves that followed had their guns strapped on their shoulders. Some were aggressive and rude, who wanted to have the whole caravan in hostage, together with the vehicles and baggages to bring them to the mountains. Fortunately, the rest of the guerrillas objected, especially those from the town, and so we were spared an unpleasant and unfortunate fate.

Someone smelled that Mr. Pratts had some arms. And because he could not deny it, Mr. Pratts proposed to enter into a gentlemen’s agreement with them: that he would place the two pistols on the table and they would choose the one they liked. And so they did. One of the commanders—that was how the guerrilla chiefs were called—placed his hand over one pistol and another commander placed his hand on the other pistol. When Mr. Pratts objected, they replied, “Guerrilla tactics, sir.”

After spending a sleepless night due to the continuous visits, we decided to leave at dawn before the guerrillas could notice our departure. But the town guerrillas came and cautioned us against taking the Nueva Ecija road. Their comrades from Mexico and Arayat would be waiting for us and could hold us in bondage. We asked them to accompany us, but they said that they did not have authority to impose themselves on other guerrilla groups who they described to be savages.

They insisted that we return to Manila. The town Mayor, fearful like a Nicodemus, approached us and made the same suggestion. We decided it unwise to proceed considering the danger to which we would be exposing the women, and we returned to Manila restless, hungry and besieged by the military police and by the air raids.

The search at Balintawak was a meticulous as it was vexatious, but we were spared the caresses on the face.

Three days later, armed with passes from Minister Recto and the Chief of the Military Police of Quezon City, we embarked on our second trip, this time in a processional of ten cars and trucks. Our arrangement was that once we had passed the Japanese line, we would proceed, each on his own. The passes, however, proved to be powerful talismans in appeasing the fury of the watchdogs who guarded the approaches to the city.

We arrived, unobstructed, at the Bamban River, whose bridge has not yet been repaired. The current had subsided and we could cross it. But only after waiting for two hours in the middle of the river, to give way to the interminable processions of army trucks. I could not tell if the sun scorched as much in the Sahara.

On making the ascent to the river bank, we hit upon a rock with a bang. The engine broke down. We were stranded at the edge of the compound of the Bamban Sugar Central, in company with a Japanese sentry who, with a sullen and grimacing face, ordered us to keep our

 

[section missing in original]

We were resigned to wait the whole night for any of our companions whom we had left behind, some of them limping, others with their engines jetting out and being operated on by mechanics.

A soldier who was occupying a nearby house approached us, more out of curiosity than charity. We showed him our pass which he read and brought to his officer. The latter hurriedly came and reproached us for not having shown it to him earlier. He said he would take us to the hotel and organize a feast, with a banquet and dancing. We had no way of refusing his invitation, in spite of the fact that we did not feel like being treated to a feast by Japanese within sight of the guerrillas, who were surely in town. In a last-ditch attempt, Mr. Pratts tinkered with an unexpected piece in the engine, and it suddenly started. We left doubly glad.

A kilometer before Camp One at the entrance to the Baguio Road, we had to pass five check point. Soldiers with bayonets awaited us at each outpost. They accosted us, looked at the magic pass, and allowed us to go through. However, we were told at Camp One that the road was closed, and so we passed the sleepless night there. Three of us priests in the car of Mr. Pratts got into one of the trucks which had just arrived, leaving the car of the Pratts family. There, the full moon above us failed to evoke poetic fantasies; rather it brought back thoughts of the bombings and landings.

Unable to distract our hearing or deviate our imagination from the chirping of crickets, the croaking of frogs, the monotonous murmur of the streams, the whisper of the breeze, we went through a sleepless night.

Decidedly, I did not count either as poet or as a guerrilla fighter. Hardly had the Japanese sentry shouted “Take it away”, and we were on our way on Kennon Road. At each corner and on every bridge, we were stopped by sentries who poked their guns at us, asking for cigarettes when they found that we brought nothing worth confiscating. They seemed more like highway robbers than guardians of security. Our short odyssey ended at mid-morning on the Dominican Hill in Baguio, where we intended to stay around until the final reconquest of Luzon, if the actual lords are going to permit us.


April 21, 1942

Capas, Tarlac

F.C. Camp

Joined the grave-detail. We buried those that died this morning. Some of the graves yesterday were not dug deep enough. The bodies buried yesterday have been unearthed. The sand here is clayish because the cemetery is too near the river.

One of the boys we buried had a little piece of paper in his pocket. We opened it. It was the copy of a citation awarding him for exceptional bravery in an attack in Bataan.

(later)

Most of the boys in the camp are very depressed. They feel that “it will be a long time before we are released.”

Many are disappointed with our leaders in Manila. “All they know is to give speeches and make promises!” “Why don’t they resign from their posts if the Japs do not want to release us?”

Personally, I don’t think we will be released until all resistance in the islands has ceased. The Japs are afraid that when we are strong enough, we might start trouble again. Besides, they want to make up for the thousands of Japs who died in Bataan. The more among us that die here, the better for them.

(later)

Collecting impressions of everyone here about Bataan. It will make a book someday. Am also listening to everybody’s experience during the long walk from Bataan to this prison camp.

Apparently, the Japs gave every barch more or less the same kind of treatment, although some groups got very much worse treatment.

Consensus is that at least 15,000 died during that bloody march. Japs bayoneted men who could not keep up with the pace. Very little rest was given. Some were shot for trying to escape.

For example, there was an old soldier who took off his shoes because of blisters. Suddenly, one of the Japs clubbed him on the head. A relative of the clubbed man charged at the Jap. Both fellows were tied to a tree and slowly tortured. Their shouts could be heard by all those around, but no one was allowed to look.

Someone said that in Orani, everybody was searched. One fellow was found with Jap money in his pocket. The Jap soldier said in broken English: “Why you have Jap money? So maybe you take that from dead Jap soldier! O.K… Now you die!” And he was bayoneted in the lungs. According to the one telling the story, the Jap money was given by a Japanese officer who bought the boy’s watch.

After such exchange of stories, everybody ends the conversation with the remark: “Someday we will get even, someday.”

Very few boys in camp think that Corregidor will be able to stand. Quite a number are disappointed at America. They ask: “Where is the convoy she promised?” The great majority believe, however, “in due time, when American factories get going, Japan will be beaten.”

Must stop writing. It’s getting dark. We have no lights here.

Two boys are humming a duet. Kundiman again. I like kundimans. They are soft, plaintive, full of feeling, lonely, very lonely.

They have stopped singing. Somebody in the group is weeping. I wonder why.

(later)

Just ate another camote. Superb.

[diary does not resume until September 21, 1944]


April 4, 1942

Commencement of NARIC purchasing operations in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pangasinan.

Said Col. Uzaki on this occasion: “I wish to impress upon you the heavy responsibility that rests on your shoulders as the vanguards of your organization. It is incumbent upon each and every one of you to do the best to purchase a large quantity of rice and palay in a short time, for which purpose you will be custodians of considerable sums of money.”

He promised to supply all provincial employees with food, housing and a per diem of ₱1.00, irrespective of nationality besides rice rations.

A ₱1,500,000 account has been arranged with the Bank of Taiwan. Must immediately send ₱150,000 for Cabanatuan and ₱150,000 for Tarlac. The damage in the Cabanatuan compound due to the bombing in the first weeks of the war must be repaired.

Missing Pagulayan in the office. He was a great help. There is news that he may be executed. I refuse to believe it. Some people enjoy spreading alarming stories. I dislike gossipers and alarmists.

Saw a soldier walking with a monkey perched on his head. There must be some truth in the Darwinian theory.


March 26, 1942

Had an important conference with Colonel Uzaki, head of the Army’s Food Division. I took up all the important matters preoccupying me.

First, the flour distribution. He stated that as long as the amount of daily release previously fixed to authorized bakeries is not exceeded, the authority to determine who should or should not receive flour rested upon me.

Second, rice distribution. Authority, he said, also rested on me. In other words, Mr. Inada must submit to me his plans for decision and action. Under the present set-up, Mr. Inada tries to do things as he pleases and in case he bungles them up, the entire corporation, including myself as Manager, will be blamed by the public.

Third, police protection. We agreed that if the Army cannot furnish us with soldiers and if we cannot, in any particular case, depend on the provincial or municipal police, then we should be allowed to possess firearms. He asked me how many we needed. I answered, “Offhand, about 10.” He said that he would make arrangements for this purpose.

Fourth, financing. I told him the necessary finances should be made immediately available because when purchases start in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Pampanga, they should be done fast to avoid the undesirable effects of the rainy season. The colonel replied that if the funds as planned are not sufficient, the NARIC would have to buy on credit. This alternative is not so satisfactory.

Fifth, Was authorized to buy palay stored in bodegas of Ileto and Pinaod. Was told not to pay the palay deposited by Nueva Ecija producers which has already been taken by the Army, until arrangements are made with the Army.

Sixth. Asked him to secure enough fuel for us if he wants us to succeed in our work.

Seventh, I am authorized to take up matters directly with the Military Administration after consulting Mr. Fukada, Supervisor de facto. When Japanese assistants to the supervisor de facto go to the Military Administration, it is understood that they must first advise Mr. Fukada or me about it.

Eighth, All matters not otherwise specified are to be submitted in writing (copy of which must be handed to Mr. Fukada in advance) for final decision by Col. Uzaki. Heavy raid on Corregidor fortifications. General MacArthur is no longer there. KGEI said he was sent to Australia. The Japanese claim he “escaped.” They are “peeved” about his “escape.” No, not MacArthur. He is not the type that runs always. He has brave blood in his veins. We cannot judge his acts until the end of the war. Let us await the verdict of history.

 

 


February 11, 1942

The NARIC will purchase rice in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pampanga. I am worried about the unsettled conditions, the lack of peace and order, the dislocation of transportation, (the) shortage of fuel and the spirit of non-cooperation. But we have to succeed; otherwise, there will be no rice for Manilans.

The Army has reduced the 25 trucks requested by the office to 20, five run by alcohol and fifteen by gasoline. Only 60 tins of gasoline will be issued per week. This is the basis of the Army’s calculation: for trucks, one liter for every three kilometers; for cars, one liter for every five or six kilometers. In war, gasoline is like blood.

On or after February 18th, the Army will allow the NARIC to transport 200 tons of rice by freight cars. Two hundred tons is equivalent to about 3,600 bags of rice or 6 NBB cars and 1 J car. So far, the railroad is strictly for Army use.

Must make plans according to stations: what mills, what towns, (what) quantities of palay or rice, beginning February 18th. There must be no hitches, no delays. The use of the railroad will be a great help. We must make the most out of the privilege.

The Japanese supervisor said that we must have ready daily 3,600 cavans of rice or palay, preferably rice, to be loaded in freight cars. If we cannot fill the cars, the Army must be notified two or three days in advance. Every available space must be utilized. The Army does not want to waste even one inch of baggage or cargo space.

At present, the Army alone can procure the rice and palay in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac. They take 3,000 sacks daily. We are trying to negotiate whether we can take the rest after the Army has taken its quota. We are not sure whether the Army will agree. In war, it is always “Army first!”

The Japanese Army will be a major cause of the food shortage. At present, this fact is not yet felt. But as the months pass by, there will be less food on every table. In some, there will be no food at all. Then people will ask: “Where is the food going?” And they will know that it goes to the Army.

Can’t speak of these things publicly nowadays. It is strange, but the meaning of freedom can only be understood when one no longer has it.


December 25, 1935

Talk with Rafael Corpus, former director of Agriculture and new President of the Philippine National Bank. He told how Wood had tried to liquidate the bank; how eventually all the money supposed by Wood to be lost in sugar mills had been made good –even Philippine Vegetable Oil paid back 50%. Said he discovered more and more how the economic basis for the country was laid during my administration.

Sugar– said it was O.K. for seven years.

Hemp– said Sumatra’s attempt to rival the Philippines had failed.

Rice– said next year would be worse than this; that the floods in Pangasinan etc., had ruined the crop; that sugar had absorbed much of the rice land.

Iron– said Economic Council must establish a steel industry here –Japan was now taking 300,000 tons of iron ore yearly from Paracale in the Philippines– that our coal in Mindanao was just right for iron, but was too hard for ships. We had all the materials at hand, and even if it would compete with the United States we must insist on it. It was also a matter of national defense. We need a mineral survey, particularly of the vast and untouched iron fields of Surigao, reserved for the government.

Government of Quezon– said it had taken well so far.

Roy Howard article– said the fear of Japan was very real and the commercial classes would like an anchor –either the United States or England. Said fear of Japan did not penetrate to the common people in the provinces.

Sakdal & Communism– a very real problem –said some Filipinos had gone to the International in Russia and had come back with money. General Valdes told him one of these leaders had 50,000 pesos. Valdes confirmed this to Corpus.

Japanese– said they were very bold; that they were watching the development of the Davao matter; that they had been allowed by connivance or by supineness of Filipino officials to get these lands illegally and should not be blamed. Corpus says it was the Filipinos’ own fault.

Christmas dinner (lunch) with the Headquarters Commander of the 31st Infantry, the only regiment of American soldiers left in the Philippines. Excellent home food and a far better entertainment than last Christmas at Luxor in Egypt. Captain & Mrs. Lussier and Captain & Mrs. Howell.

Dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Gaches. Talk with old Colonel J.N. Wolfson who told me that McKinley’s secret instructions to Taft when he sent him out here to the Philippines as the first Civil Governor were to prepare the Filipinos as rapidly as possible for self-government –hence the “little brown brother” (and Taft’s fight for power against the United States army). Colonel Wolfson also told me of being retained recently (he is over 80 years of age) by 81 inhabitants from Tarlac who had been ousted from their lands by a local cacique under claim of a prior Spanish title, even tho some of them had Torrens titles. The judge of first instance in Tarlac had decided in favor of the cacique —Wolfson got this reversed in the Philippine Supreme Court.