After these two gentlemen had left I received a message from Overseer Nograles of Norala that the Japanese were already in Tacurong and that he was waiting for Supervising Overseer Larrabaster with whom he planned to go and meet the Japanese in Tacurong to report to them the Moro atrocities. This was in accordance with previous instructions I had given him.
Upon reading Overseer Nograles note I thought that the Japanese would probably proceed on from Tacurong to Koronadal and I decided to send my assistant, Mr. Tiongson, and General Store Manager Buensuceso to meet them at the Banga-National Highway junction. Before Messrs. Tiongson and Buensuceso could leave, however, Engineer Salazar, who had been detailed in Marbel for the last few days, arrived with the news that several truckloads of about 70 Japanese soldiers passed through Marbel at 10 o ‘clock this morning, and, after stopping in Marbel awhile, had gone on to the lower valley. Engineer Salazar reported that he did not actually see the Japanese pass but that the settlers along the Highway in Marbel saw them. The settlers reported that as the soldiers arrived they went out to meet them on the belief that they were Filipino troops sent to protect the Valley against Moro aggression. At closer inspection they were surprised to find them Japanese. According to Engineer Salazar, the spokesman for the soldiers told the settlers that hostilities had ceased in the province and that they should all go back to their farms and work to increase food production. They were told not to be afraid of the Japanese as they would do no harm to them, nor would they commit abuses on their women and children. Further, that they should no longer fear the Moros as the Japanese would see to it that these Moro bandits were completely wiped out of the territory. The settlers reported that the Japanese were surprisingly courteous and well behaved. There were said to have inquired for me and were told I was in Banga. Engineer Salazar reported that the Japanese would probably stay overnight in either Tupi or Polomolok.
I immediately called Messrs. Tiongson, Morrow and Buensuceso into conference and we decided that Messrs. Morrow and Buensuceso would go to meet the Japanese early in the morning at Tupi.
After support in the evening I called Mr. Morrow to give him the final instructions for his trip in the morning. I instructed Mr. Morrow to apprise the Japanese officer in charge of the troops of the Moro atrocities being committed all over the province and of the fact that the civilians were defenseless against them.I told him to tell the Japanese that I was in Noralia looking after the evacuees there but that I would be glad to meet them anywhere they would want me to.
Reports and evidences of Moro atrocities in communities outside of the NLSA Reservations are growing more and more alarming. Everywhere in these places homeseekers and landowners have been either killed or driven out of their lands, their homes looted, plundered, and burned. In all my many years experience with the Moros in Mindanao I have never seen nor heard of more vicious barbarism as that committed by the Moros of Cotabato now. Many of them are armed with high-powered rifles, since most of them were among those inducted into the erstwhile Moro Batallion in the USAFFE and whose arms had not been surrendered upon its disbandment. They have not only looted and killed, they have also taken captives women whom they abuse and sell to other Datus. To all these acts of outlawry the defenseless non-combatants of the province are laid easy prey. Very few of them have guns and ammunitions and their farm houses are far from each other. All Philippine Constabulary troops had been inducted into the Army and have left to join the main force at Malaybalay, The poor civilians have only themselves and their inadequate shotguns to defend them. Those who survived have come to the NLSA settlements for refuge and help. But even now the Moros are beginning to threaten our settlements and we are just as defenseless.
As head of the NLSA I feel it my moral duty to provide some protection fro all these people under me and those who have come to seek our help. I have tried in vain even contact our Army at Malaybabay and put through a message for aid. The Japanese have evidently overwhelmed our Army, and now they are here to occupy the province. They are the only ones left from whom we can expect to get adequate protection. This is the main reason I am sending Mr. Morrow to meet the Japanese tomorrow.