August 22, 1945, Wednesday

This is really a malaria-ridden region. Already over 30 of us are suffering from this terrible illness, among them Dean Bocobo and Mr. Abello. Some of them also suffer from some mental disorder probably as a result of the disease. If we are not taken away from here soon, I am afraid that we will all get sick.

I have read a magazine published August 13, 1945 by the Pacific General Headquarters of the U.S. Army. There is one very good article entitled “Facts Make for Friendship”. It praises the Filipino character. “Loyalty, courage and kindliness are virtues just as prized in the Philippines as in the United States. But considering the wide dissimilarity of racial backgrounds, climates, and environments, the wonder is that there is so much likeness between the two people…

“The great number of American servicemen spending lavishly increased the amount of circulation and this is of course the cause of sharp inflation. Military personnel can do much toward reduction of prices. Can anybody make deposits or send money home?”

The article praises the effective and valuable services of guerrillas. Regarding independence: “…but as the early terrible memory of Japanese cruelty recedes, it is probable that the full measure of statehood — unqualified by any of the restrictions inevitable under a dominion or commonwealth —will again become an almost unanimous desire.

“This is an old and popular misunderstanding among Americans, that our whole experience in the Islands has been an expensive, eleemosynary project. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

“From 1898 to 1940 the U.S. Government spent altogether somewhat more than a billion dollars on account of the Philippines. Spread over a period of four decades, this averages about $25 million a year — not too lavish a bounty. But $800 million of the total went to the American Army stationed in the Philippines; another $100 to the Navy; and our pacification of the Islands between May 1898 and June, 1902 cost $186,321,000. None of these large sums was spent for the direct benefit of the Filipinos. Other aid — 1903, $3 million for cholera relief; (they gave $10 million to Japan on account of the earthquake in 1923). For the Bureau of Insular Affairs and Resident Commissioner’s Office, $4 million, but the Philippine Government paid the salary and expenses of Philippine Governor General. Coast and Geodetic Survey got $6.5 million, and this is for benefit mostly of the United States. For Agriculture, a few hundred thousand dollars plus $6 million in benefit payments to sugar planters in 1934-1936. Refund of taxes collected in United States on Philippine goods average half a million a year. Excise tax is $120 for redemption of Philippine bonds. Aside from copra tax and the Military expenditures, these totals would hardly build a block on the Escolta. Even private American investment in the Philippines only total $200 million in 1935. Such figures do not justify terming the American experiment in the Philippines a past burden on the American taxpayer. For the future, whatever amount of aid the United States Congress decides to give them, one fact must be remembered. When the Japanese started their invasion in 1941, the Islands were American territory and entitled, as such, to American military protection. They didn’t get it, and our unpreparedness was the root cause of their desolution today.”

The article concluded with the following under the subheading: “They built up the Islands themselves.”

“Viewed in such a light, the Filipinos are sure to be seen as good, loyal friends of ours, who have suffered much in the common cause of rejecting aggression. They have maintained a regard as high as our own for the great heritage of Western culture. Their soldiers have fought bravely and well with pitifully meagre arms. Their people as a whole are now suffering the painful economic effects of price inflation, which weighs far more heavily on them than it does on the American Armed Forces. Finally, the terrific destruction visited on their cities and villages bespeaks our aid, not only on the ground of human sympathy, but of right.”

Coming from an American the above article is great. It does us justice.

The newspapers report that Marshal Premier Tito of Yugoslavia granted a general amnesty to all collaborators except war criminals. It is also reported that Marshal Petain was sentenced to death by the court but that De Gaulle commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

The foregoing points the way to Osmeña. I believe he should issue a general amnesty. And this should be done immediately to further his presidential ambition. Some of us are getting impatient and it may be too late to win their sympathy if release is delayed. I believe there will be no objection to such action on the part of the Americans. At least I hope so. They have won the war almost without sacrifice of lives and they should be magnanimous to the Filipinos who in truth and in fact have always been their loyal allies.

This morning we all considered that everything was all over — finished. No more hope, no more illusions. Stock Exchange definitely closed as there were no more transactions. Zulueta remarked. “Tu gozo en el pozo,” It seems that the reported radiogram was a fake, a joke. It was certainly a bad, heartless and cruel joke. We suffer enough without it.

I regretted that I changed my attitude. I never paid attention to rumors before. I preferred to use my time doing something else like writing. I was happy. Now that I allowed myself to be carried or influenced by news, I cannot help but worry and suffer at times. My reason for changing was the fact that the war had ended abruptly without hardly any loss on the part the Americans and I thought the latter would be more magnanimous and just forget everything. Furthermore, Osmeña is an experienced, shrewd politician. I presumed that he would make a “master stroke” (goIpe) by just granting a general amnesty to all collaborators. This certainly will insure his election. I suggested to Serging that he write his father.

11:00 a.m. Zulueta arrived from the dentist’s office and he reports that Dr. Reyes, the dentist, said that last night while in the dance given in honor of Col. Gilfilan, Lt. Fernandez received a radiogram which he had not yet codified and which seemed to refer to us.

12:50 a.m. Paredes reports that the cook of Gilfilan stated that he had overheard a conversation to the effect that we were going to be released.

Notwithstanding the apparently reliable sources nobody paid attention to them.

9:00 p.m. Col. Gilfilan came to our quarters and bade us farewell. He was very nice and jovial but left no encouraging words. All hope vanished — general gloom.


August 4, 1945, Saturday

We read in the Free Philippines the speech of Pres. Osmeña on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Pres. Quezon. Among other things, he said that “if Quezon had stayed in the Philippines, he would have preferred death rather than cooperate with the Japanese.” It was of course an attack against Roxas.

In the same issue, the paper praised Osmeña lavishly and stated that he was a worthy successor to Pres. Quezon. The Free Philippines is the official organ of the Army. It must reflect the policies and opinions of the Army. We supposed that as regards fundamental matters, MacArthur will have to be consulted. We interpret the editorial therefore as meaning that MacArthur and the Army support Osmeña. This is to be deeply regretted, not because we are against Osmeña, but because the Army should never meddle in politics. America took the necessary precautions to prevent rule by the Army. Army rule is always dictatorial. It is one of the evils that has cursed many nations. If MacArthur’s Army decidedly works for Osmeña, he will win. It is just too bad for Roxas.


January 31, 1945

There is no Foreign Legion in the American Army. But there is one particular group composed of daring characters who court death and who are sent on missions behind enemy lines. These are the “Rangers”. When sent on missions they do not wear the military uniform in order not to be detected by the enemy, but a special one by which they will not be mistaken for spies.

Two of these rangers, one of whom is a Mexican friend of ours, came last night from a humanitarian assignment. They narrated that there are a hundred of them, guided by 200 guerrillas who have penetrated the enemy lines sixty kilometers towards Cabanatuan where some 500 American war prisoners are being detained. After a brief battle all the Japanese soldiers were killed. They had a hard time convincing the prisoners that they had come to liberate, not to kill them. The prisoners could not believe them. Many of the prisoners had to be carried because of their weakness. Two of the rangers and twenty guerrillas were killed in the operations. The liberated prisoners were brought to hospitals in various towns of Pangasinan until they could be transported to their country.

No one can explain why there are hardly 500 prisoners in Cabanatuan when there were an estimated 10,000 of them in 1942. How many had died of hunger, sickness or torture, or brought out of the Philippines or died in Japanese boats sunk by American submarines or planes? We doubt if any satisfactory explanation could be made on this. All we have now was a cold fact, as sad as it was eloquent.

In September of last year, after the first American air attack on Manila, some 1,500 American prisoners were loaded in a boat for Formosa. The boat was sunk by American planes and only 600 were rescued. Such is the cruel and ironic tragedy of war.


January 27, 1945

We would frequently meet soldiers who say, “I am Spanish.” Curious as to how there could be Zamorans in the U.S. Army we asked one of them:

“From what province are you?”

“From California”. And he explained, “My father was Spanish and my mother Mexican, and I am an American citizen. We’ve just arrived and we feel like talking in Spanish. Tomorrow we might be dumped into another place where there are Japanese still remaining.”

They took pride in talking about their countrymen, and we enjoyed listening to their sweet accent and diction, their picturesque expression and their language interspersed with hispanized English words.

We came across some authentic Spanish who told us he was from Sevilla or from León or from Valencia. There was even one who insisted in referring to himself as an “Asturian from Texas”.

“In the Army” one officer told us, “there are no socialists nor communists as there are no Democrats or Republicans.” Among the Mexicans with whom we chatted, there are no partisans — Toledans or pro-Tolstoy or pro-Stalin. They are all good Catholics.

Also with the expeditionary forces were thousands of Filipinos who were connected with the auxiliary services. Fighting in the first lines were the locally enlisted Filipinos, especially the guerrillas who served as links to the American forces. They are excellent combatants. Unfortunately, though, many dissident elements in Tarlac and Pampanga would pass as guerrillas and they would attack the Americans. The Army, unable to distinguish the grain from the thistle, had to dissolve all groups — Sakdalistas and genuine guerrillas alike, confiscating all arms until they could clear the area and pick out the marauders from the same elements. The communist threat is real and is transcendental.

As long as the Army is in control, they will be able to keep the different dissident groups in check. But the day the politicians return to power, the political leaders of Moscow and Tokyo will be back to fish in the confused river of politics. We know who’s winning in war. But who’s going to win in peace?

Wars can be won by force of arms; peace can be gained only by justice — justice tempered with charity. To win in the grand final battle there is a need for men, organization, equipment and supplies. To win the peace, all these are needed, directed by the powers of the spirit. The course and recourse of these faculties is charity. I do not know of any other antidote to hatred than love, nor any other antidote to avarice, pride and ambition than charity!

If hatred is to win the war, what kind of peace shall we expect? Were the millions of lives lost sacrificed to this end?

“I don’t mind losing my life”, an officer told me a few days ago, “but I would certainly want to lose it for a noble cause.”

What these soldiers have to contend with is not Germany or Japan, both of which have already been defeated, but Russia or, if we might personify, Stalin.


September 3, 1941

Our Q-Boat depth charge firing exercises against submarine targets will continue during the week to finally complete the training program. Then, I understand the selection Board headed by C,OSP Capt. Andrada will announce the permanently  designated officers and crew of Q-111 Luzon; Q-112 Abra; and Q-113 Agusan. There are only six slots for Os to come from fifteen prospective candidate that are undergoing this rigid training.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. For EMs, there will be only 17 coveted slots.

Aside from the FA, CAC, and PAAC Training Schools activated two days ago, the following Training Schools are activated today to train the hundreds Os being mobilized:

  • Medical School at Ft. McKinley under Maj. Joseph U. Weaver MC USA
  • Medical School at Camp Murphy under Maj. Jack W. Schwartz MC USA
  • QM & Motor Trpt. School at Port Area, Manila under Maj. Michael Quinn QMS
  • US Signal School at Ft. McKinley under Capt. Lassiter Mason SigC USA
  •  Engineers School at Ft. McKinley under Lt. Antonio C. Chanco CE PA USAFFE
  • Infantry Schools at every Mobilization Centers in all Military Districts.

Manila News today say Nazi forces overran Smolensk after three weeks fighting Stalin’s Army and is now about 200 miles from Moscow.  Meanwhile, British and Russian forces invaded Iran announcing their intention is only to get rid of German Agents and Technicians residing in Iran. They said their forces will withdraw as soon as the threat of German invasion or 5th Column Operation is nullified.