We held a general meeting with Mr. Stanford. He promised to do what he could. To reciprocate, we opened our hearts to him, and upon his suggestion, submitted copies of our memoranda containing accurate facts about our connection with the Japanese. Most probably, the originals were not considered at all since they were submitted on the day before our departure from Quezon City on April 29, 1945.
I wish to say one more thing about Minister Alunan who had been the strongest and most consistent advocate of the Americans. Even during the Japanese regime he could not hide his feelings and he was many times at the point of being arrested. He was saved only by President Laurel. I knew all these, so that during my first interview with the Americans where I was asked about some Filipinos, I asked them to get Mr. Alunan from Baguio immediately, kidnapping him if necessary before the Japanese arrested him. However, the next day, Mr. Alunan appeared at the stockade. What an irony that this man is also among those placed in the concentration camp by the Americans. It makes my blood boil. But Mr. Alunan, notwithstanding such an injustice, has not for a moment lost his faith and confidence in America. He seems content with everything, and he rendered me a great service when he comforted me in my moments of desperation and anger. During almost my entire life all my connections and relations were with Americans.
But last night, Alunan was seen weeping bitterly. A few days ago, a kind Colonel, a true blooded American, visited him in the concentration camp and told him that he (the Colonel) had been entertained by Alunan’s family in Manila. To reciprocate, he offered to deliver a letter from Mrs. Alunan. The Colonel did not bring the letter with him but he promised to send the letter. Days passed, no letter came. What moments and days of anxiety and despair! A letter from a dear one, who would not give anything to have it! I would give anything to hear from my family. We could not understand why such an important letter could not be delivered. So, we saw him cry for the first time. Tears of indignation perhaps. Fortunately, the letter finally arrived. He became the happiest man in the camp. His happiness however was our sorrow. I could not help shedding tears not because of envy, but I thought the Americans should at least follow the instruction of former Pres. McKinley to the members of the First Philippine Commission to respect the customs of the Filipino people, including their prejudices. The Filipino attachment to his family should have been understood and respected. But it seems that there is a premeditated plan to humiliate us, to make us suffer. We can write to our family only through them in order that our family cannot know where we are. What a punishment! Remember, we were brought here without giving us any opportunity to see our family to say goodbye, just to give them that satisfaction so that they would not worry. We are allowed to write only about certain family matters. Since there were so many things we were forbidden to mention, when we wrote them again, we were merely repeating the same things.
The mess is a big hall with several tables placed around the different places in the hall. Because it was cooler, we selected a table on one end of the hall. This table was taken away and the tables were placed close together so that we had to mix with the others. Why do they pay attention even to little things like this. But it is better. It gives us an opportunity to get to know each other better. I am very happy to know that they are not unprincipled men whose only inclination is to commit crimes. Some of them are more decent than many I have known in the higher classes of society. Some are very kind, very sincere and always willing and ready to help his fellow men. How many men are imbued with that spirit?
In the general meeting, Mr. Sanvictores reported about his conference with Lt. Severance. There were many details. He reported that hereafter, bringing in things from the outside or taking things out of the camp is absolutely prohibited unless done through Lt. Severance. This has put a stop to outsiders expressing their appreciation or their sympathy or approval of our conduct by means of material donations.
It was reported also that we could no longer send our dirty clothes outside to be washed. The order was caused by the fact that a guard caught somebody smuggling in laundered clothes, and he reported the matter to the Lieutenant. If such is the rule we have no objection. All of us are willing to do our own laundry. During the first weeks here, for the first time in my life, I had to wash my own clothes and I found it not an undesirable job. But we have no water in the quarters nor laundry soap. Fortunately, it had been raining everyday and we used to take baths in the rain and do a little laundry. We proposed that until facilities are provided, we be allowed to send the laundry outside. The Lieutenant would not give in. When he was reminded that we could not do any washing without water, he merely shrugged his shoulders, stating that nothing could be done. In this respect, they are extremely unreasonable. They do not care to listen to reasonable and absolutely justified petitions.
Today was a black day for us. The treatment accorded us was stricter and very rough. We had two guards who must hate non-white people. They treat us just like small kids in school. They line us up four by four, ordering us in an imperative and insulting way. One constantly cursed.
It rained very hard and we could not cross the street to wash our mess kits without getting wet. The guards watched every one; anybody with more utensils than what he should have because he offered to wash the plates and utensils of somebody else, was made to return them. Filipinos are courteous and helpful. The sick ones, like Gov. Urquico, were offered help. This was not permitted. The guards would let the sick men die. It is not even human. When we were lined up and about to march, one of the guards remarked: “I will straighten you up.” We do not know what he meant by that.
We do not in the least object to the strictest discipline meted out to us. In fact, we have been obeying without any complaint. There was one guard who perhaps was the stricter than the others. But he was not abusive and we like him very much. We ask no favor or special consideration. All we want and expect is treatment dispensed to human beings and not to animals.