The food problem is getting worse every day. Imported goods such as milk, flour, potatoes and canned goods, when available, cost from ten to fifteen times higher than the original price. Medicines are very hard to find. Even local products such as rice, sugar, meat, eggs, vegetables are scarce, and prices are soaring. Since there is a lack of transportation, the Japanese don’t allow those items to be brought in great quantities.
Because there is unemployment, money is not abundant. People are not dying of hunger but are hungry. The camote and the ube are good substitutes for potatoes.
It is rather difficult to get an idea of the government organization set up by the Japanese. The newspapers have published something about the duties and responsibilities of each one of the seven departments and the different bureaus.
A French humorist once said: “The King of England rules but does not govern; the President of the French Republic neither rules nor governs.” The Philippine government does not govern. The military authority, whose organization and relationship with the Civil government is unclear, rules and directs the destiny of the Filipino people.
Every Department Secretary, every Bureau Director, every Provincial Governor, every City or Municipal Mayor has a Japanese counterpart. The legislative branch of the government has been replaced by the Council of State. The Municipal Board of Manila has been revived, but only as a consultative body.
Many public officials, especially the judges, are getting fed up. They must go to their offices every day but they do not have much to do. “I never thought it was so tiresome doing nothing,” said one of the judges. And one of the Department heads told me that he has a Japanese as his adviser. The Japanese speaks only the Japanese language and the Filipino does not understand a single word of Nippongo…!