On board 777 THE PRESIDENT at 9:00 PM I am about to take dinner in the dining saloon in this 2,400-ton Presidential yacht which is a carry over from the administration of President Garcia from 1957 to 1961. It was ordered reparations at an alleged cost of five million pesos. If ordered today it will probably cost double the amount. It is the length of a destroyer and originally intended for 18 knots but it is travelling only at 15 knots, never dry-docked or serviced during the time of President Diosdado Macapagal. It had to be repaired by its original manufacturers in Japan in 1966 so that it might continue to be in operation otherwise it would have been sold for scrap iron — such a pity since it is such a beautiful ship. In twenty minutes it will be turning to the point at Surigao street as we have just come from Tandag, Surigao del Sur.
we woke up at 4:30 o’clock in the morning of July 4th to discover we were anchoring between two islands that guarded entry into Tandag port. The passage from Tandag on the Pacific left side was rather rough some of bottles in the bar room either fell from the tables or or broken.
I returned to the ship at 3:30 o’clock in the afternoon and I went to sleep at around 4:00 p.m. It was marred by noise in the Pacific side which somehow affected my golf which I attempted to exercise at about 5:30 p.m. I went around on the face on the deck for one-half hour and practiced petty ball net for another half hour after which my usual shower and massage while I worked on some papers and documents.
We have been away from Manila since the 29th of June and we departed from Pier 5 at 11:30 AM to arrive at San Juanico street at 11:30 following morning and off Tacloban at 1:30 p.m.We anchored at the port to wait for the fluvial parade which started at 4:00 o’clock p.m. and which we participated. This fluvial parade is for the Santo Niño of Tacloban. I have been Hermano Mayor for this year and I was transferring the Santo Niño to Tacloban to the new Hermano Mayor, Secretary Eduardo Romualdez of Finance, cousin of Imelda. In the evening I dedicated a new song “IMELDA” in Tacloban, the music of which was composed by Mike Velarde and sang by Ric Manrique, Rita Rivera and Cely Bautista. At 11:30 in the evening we took the 777 THE PRESIDENT for Maasin, Leyte del Sur after the dedication of the song. We left Olot where the 777 was anchored for Maasin where we arrived at 6:30 following morning, July 1st, where I was supposed to participate in the Ninth Anniversary of the creation of the Province of Leyte del Sur. Imelda was to take a small plane for the airport at Hilongos and take one of the LOT US small helicopter for Maasin which was one hourdrive by car away. Instead however she took the DBP jet helicopter from Olot directly to Maasin which she made in 40 minutes to arrive 10:00 o’clock in the morning just after I had finished inspecting different projects like cementing of the roads, capitol building, school houses and was ready to start the program after the parade at the grandstand of Maasin High School referred to as Pilot High School in as much as it is the pilot project for high school and manpower training in the province. This was obviously the first helicopter that ever landed in
Maasin and it attracted attention so much so it endangered the lives of the spectators who milled around the small helicopter. I ordered the two helicopters based at Hilongos at LCT to come to Maasin to seek cover. The reason I am taking the boat is first my nose is clogged and the doctors advised me “Do not fly while I have severe cold because any sudden changes in elevation may cause a rupture in eardrum or a return of my congestion of the inner ear and at the same time Imelda dreamt of accident in airplane because of the death of President Magsaysay at Mount Manungal on March 17, 1967. Because of the raw reports lately to the effect that the men of the Opposition candidate, Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr., are planning a sabotage and they are after to assassinate me, she insisted that I do not take plane or helicopter any time now. And there have been on several instances of suspected sabotage of the Presidential plane – Fokker 29 – and the Presidential helicopter which crushed off Bohol made and crush landing in the water in Bohol and sunk after 40 minutes. After turning the point at Surigao del Norte and passing by the Mindanao deep at Dapa the seas have become even and quiet and the boat was quite stable. I find my visit to the provinces by ship more restive as there are none of these hurry and scurry which attend by plane.
I also have an opportunity to rest in the afternoon after the meetings. When I went to Maasin on the first of July and after we finished the meeting Imelda flew by helicopter back to Olot, Leyte which she reached in 45 minutes. The five minutes delay of her arrival was apparently caused by her flying all over the various valleys throughout Leyte to acquaint herself with the agricultural areas of the Province. This is the first time she flew southward along the Pacific area by helicopter. I attended the lunch at the Governor’s house (Gov. Yñiguez) where I conferred with former Governor Bantug, Governor Bernardo Torres and the three LP mayors – Mayor Espina of Malitbog and the Lim brothers. At 2:30 p.m. we left Maasin and reached Olot at 9:30 in the evening. I was able to reach the guest house after a separate passage which is around 800 meters away off from the shore. The waves were quite probably about two feet high.
But on the way from Maasin I went to sleep taking a short nap from 3 to 4 p.m. and to work on some papers and read some books.
Same thing is true from Tandag. I was able to finish the conference at the Municipal hall at Tandag at about 2 o’clock p.m. I brought Congressman Gregorio Murillo and Congressman Constantino Navarro with Governor Modesto Castillo and Governor Sering of Surigao del Norte on board with me with some of the mayors, board members and councilors. We were finding solution for the organization of the party and the operations that we are conducting for registration of voters, and information on agricultural development. Agricultural development because we discovered in Surigao del Sur that up to now it has no irrigation system.
I observed on the way to Tago, especially the way to the inauguration, of the road which we have opened a stretch of about 80 kilometers from Tandag to Leñgig, the road now having reached the last barrio of Surigao del Sur at San Roque and ready to reach Cateel of Davao at the cost of P2,600,000. For the first time the Bayabas-Kaguit and another town of South Agusan which was used to be unconnected with road are now connected by road. We are trying to finish the bridge at Gamot, Tago – the biggest voting town with the previous registered voters of more than 8,000. Tandag, the capital town, is about 5,000 only.
We are also finishing a 4,000 hectares guaranteed irrigation project in Cantilan in the coast. It should be inaugurated before my birthday on Sept. 11.
Four years ago in 19&5 at about this time I have already finished campaigning throughout the entire Philippines but I remember that in the birthday of Imelda she had a small party going to Olot and I landed like Magellan from a small motor launch which could be brought within a meter of sandy beach and from which I jumped into beach itself. As soon as I became President I recommended to Congress in my State of the Nation address on January 23, 1966 to limit election expenditures and period for campaigning. I recommended the period for campaigning for national offices be limited to 120 days and for local offices be limited to 90 days.
This was adopted and which is known as the Tañada-Singson law, because they were the ones who authored the bill I presented to both Houses of Congress. Because of this nominations to national offices such as the Presidency, Vice-Presidency and Senators have been delayed. On June 15, 1969 the Opposition or the Liberal Party, after much confusion and a costly consensus as well as a directorate meeting, all presumably financed by the candidates for the Presidency, the presidential nomination in the Opposition listed the officially nominated candidates; Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr., Senate Minority Floor Leader Ambrocio Padilla and former Speaker Cornelio Villareal whom I have helped to depose in March 1967 because of the need for a fully controlled House of representatives in as much as the members of the Senate even in my own party were beginning to show antagonism towards my proposals who wore too revolutionary for their conservative taste. In his place I used my moral influence over the House of Representatives to support now incumbent Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr. I often wonder as to what would have been happening if this was not materialized because as of now I occasionally received reports from the Laurel family including one lady, senator whom we have helped to elect from our funds and actively campaigned in 1967 elections.
Senator Salvador “Doy” Laurel has an ambition someday. I gathered information he is preparing for 1973 Presidential elections to coincide with the termination of the Laurel-Langley agreement. Either Speaker Laurel or Senator Salvador Laurel is aspiring for the Presidency. Our experience with a lady senator have been rather sad. Imelda personally chose Senator Helen Benitez, President of the Philippine Women’s University, her Alma Mater, as the lone representative of the ladies for senator in that election. We practically ran the nominations through the directorate meeting against the violent opposition of the old party leaders. She was specially mentioned by me in all my speeches in the campaign of 1967. She was given P200,000 for her personal expenses by the First Lady and yet a few days ago as Committee Chairman, in the Senate Committee on Housing, Urban Development and Resettlement, allegedly according to the papers for I have not received a formal report on this matter, she used uncalled for remarks attributed to me that we have violated the law and that the 16 million-dollar contract of machinery between National Housing Corporation and the Hildebrand for low cost housing was a waste of funds because an American Corporation presumably headed by Lock had testified that he could have produced 1/32 of the cost. As J. V. Cruz said in his column – HERE AND THERE – in the Manila Times, this naive assumption by the Committee which adopted this testimony of this American firm is not totally without any reservation nor any concern about the truth and basis of his statement has questioned the integrity of such men like Chairman, Board of Directors of the Development Bank of the Philippines and most prestigious bank, the President of the Philippine National Bank, the Administrator of the Social Security System and the General Manager and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Government Service Insurance System who were organizers of the National Housing Corporation which purchased this equipment.
This is in accordance with my plan to set up a massive low cost housing construction program over the Philippines. This is because according to the experts we need to build 400,000 units every year to meet the requirements of housing shortage in the Philippines, 300,000 of which will be constructed in the urban areas and 100,000 units for mostly hard hit typhoon and fire victims and squatters and low income in the labor group.
It was my intention to build houses for the laboring class costing not more than P5,000.00 each with two bedrooms and all the necessary facilities including kitchen, bathroom and toilet and small sala and dining room. No down payment whatsoever payable for a period of 20 to 25 years at a low rate of 6%. The amortization will probably be P1.00 a day. This could be afforded by our laborers residing in the urban areas. We are now hoping that the low-salaried earners will save in the form of rental at an average of P2.50 a day. Thus we have to purchase the equipment necessary to meet the needs for this massive housing. The conflict here arises the boldness such program was initialed for the capital outlay is indeed staggering initially since it is about 16 million pesos but perhaps over a period of _____ years the down payment of 16 million pesos which has already been paid in the form of funds of the national government by some financial institutions which made a complete study of the project from the view point of experts whom they have consulted. We havemet this problem with the effort to cut red tape in the purchase of equipment. But the Panel-Lock homes succeeded in getting some __________ of a judge issuing injunction. Incidentally one of these judges who has been rude before the Supreme Court as having been guilty of issuing injunction even without a hearing was suspended by me and later on removed from the judiciary, another bold step that we have to take which is unthought of in this society for which respect for the judiciary was at its highest type. We have to maintain the judiciary although grievances of people reaching the point of litigation will be probably redressed.
For after the usual formality and the losing parties have obtained the services of our politicians in the legislature to bring about a legislative investigation to block the project. This was purely the obvious reason for the opposition by the second contractor who claims that they will be deprived of legitimate source of income by the government. When they were called by Chairman Licaros of the DBP and offered the contract to them to build the houses at the same rates and under the same rates confessed that they could not build those houses and yet the zarzuela continues their connection. It was made by no less than the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Resettlement, Senator Helen Benitez, who owes her position to the First Lady and myself. Perhaps it is necessary to record that recently she lost out in a conflict of boundary in a forest concession in Polilio, Province of Quezon to the Universal Timber Corporation. Before that she had been persisting in demanding the establishment of a sawmill presumably near her farm which I discover from the charges filed by incumbent minority floor leader of the House, Congressman Justiniano Montano, on the road to which she has spent part of the P200,000 that I released for typhoon damage from her provincial allocation. She has sought to obtain some deals in reparations which I refused to participate in and before the war damage educational fund was allocated among the private universities she wanted monopolize the amounts set for private institutions in medical center in the Philippine Women’s University all of which I turned down. I wonder what affected her change of position in the Senate.
We are now proceeding towards Cagayan de Oro City which should be reached by five o’clock following morning. We may be able to proceed from here to Malaybalay, Bukidnon which I have not visited for sometime since I became President. Incidentally Cagayan de Oro City is within the Province of Misamis Oriental, the home province of Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, former Vice-President of President Diosdado Macapagal. He was my principal opponent in the convention of November, for Presidential nomination in the Nacionalista Party. I campaigned for my nomination from the date I joined the Nacionalista Party in April, 1964 up to the convention time, except the period when I was ill from an infection of the gall bladder in me for about one month. I was told by my doctors it was necessary to be operated on and the alternative was antibiotics but the second attack should probably be dextrose if I were not operated immediately. Imelda said I should not be operated as this would adversely affect my nomination in the coming convention of 1964. This was a chance that had to be taken and had to limit my diet to almost no meat and oil whatsoever. I had the gall bladder removed in January, 1967 immediately after my State of the Nation Address on January 23, 1967 when I suffered pains and several attacks before the Joint Session of Congress. Dr. Sison, my attending physician, at the time thought that the campaign was…..
The Presidential yacht is No. 777, the number of votes, that made me win the convention of 1964 as against Senator Emmanuel Pelaez who received 444 votes, in the second balloting in the convention.
Senator Pelaez campaigned for President Macapagal bitterly attacking me on any pretext and ground whatsoever to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in that election of 1965. In 1967 when noticed that he was beginning to come along to my point of view on any issues where he claims he thought I was right, he decided to re-join the Nacionalista Party and run for the Senate. Most of the party leaders objected to his candidacy for the Senate. We were however able to push his nomination and he came out No. 5 in the election.