October 12, 1972

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9:40 PM

Oct. 12, 1972

Thursday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Met with about 2,000 Land Reform or Dept Agrarian Reform Field Technicians. I have diected the DAR to generate 3,000 Field Technicians and the ARC and BPI to generate 6,000 Field Technicians so that there would be 9,000 technicians for the 715,000 tenants to be serviced.

I have about ₱50 million for the organization of cooperatives and loans for them. Sec. Melchor told me this morning before the conference that the AID is ready to raise $50 million for land reform. I would put it into the Land Ownership financing.

So I have set the guidelines for acquisition of land for the tenants.

Then I met the Catholic bishops who explained the second letter which expressed reservations about martial law and my decrees was signed by 17 bishops most of whom were misled into thinking they signed the first resolution of support.

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Oct. 12th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Tonight I met Sec. Abad Santos and Sol Gen Estelito Mendoza on the dismissal of CFI and CAR judges. They also took up the attitude of the Supreme Court justices which has turned for the better.

And authorized the new newspaper –Herald Tribune, the conversion of the Government Report into a weekly magazine.

April 1, 1942

A friend of mine was shocked. He was standing near one of the Japanese garrisons in Manila. He saw a major entering the gate and all the soldiers stood at attention. The major was his former gardener.

Preparations are being made for the next rice planting season. The Bureau of Plant Industry is in charge of the production campaign. They have formulated plans towards increased production. Contrary to the general opinion, the NARIC has nothing to do with planting. We only take care of procurement and distribution.

Planes have been active the whole day. It is midnight and I can hear their droning. My chauffeur said he saw ten truckloads of Japanese dead passing through Avenida Rizal last night There must be heavy fighting in Bataan.

Sumatra is now completely under Japanese control, according to Domei. Half of the captured enemy troops were Dutch and British, according to the report. The Japanese sun is rising higher and higher. When shall it set?

February 14, 1942

Asked an old man of eighty years which regime he prefers: Spanish, American or Japanese?

The old man thought for a moment. Then he answered and there was a sparkle in his eyes: “The best regime is our own regime. A Filipino regime!”

There is much wisdom in the old man’s answer. A foreign regime, no matter how benevolent, cannot be preferred. A master is always a master. Spain may have given us Christianity; America, democracy; and Japan, racial dignity. But only we can give ourselves national sovereignty. It is useless to await the fulfillment of promises of independence. Independence is not given. It is always there, sometimes completely suppressed, sometimes partly chained. And it is up to the people to declare themselves independent and to make that independence a reality. Words do not make it. Only actions.

Meeting of rice-producers at the Bureau of Plant Industry. Present were Sanvictores, Silayan, Juan and Jose Cojuangco, Alzate, Mrs. Rustia, Mrs. de Leon, Belmonte, Cajucom, Alfredo Santos, L. de Leon, Virgilio Rodriguez, Quisumbing, Balmaceda, Gabaldon and myself. Supervisor Noya presented the plan of the NARIC regarding the purchase of the harvest. The producers were told how much they would be paid for their rice. While their opinion was sounded, the final decision rested on the NARIC. The price fixed by the NARIC took into account both the ability of the consumers to pay and a reasonable profit for the producers. The NARIC is the neutral body standing between consumers and producers. If someday the producers control the rice industry and they are the ones to dictate the price of rice, the industry will collapse because the balance maintained presently by the NARIC will be removed. The determination of the price of rice must always be placed in the hands of a disinterested body.

Two Japanese soldiers were knocking at the door of my friend’s house. Since they were asleep, because it was midnight, they were not able to open the door immediately. When they finally opened the door, the Japanese were very angry. They slapped my friend and threatened him with Fort Santiago. He came to me this morning complaining. He wants to know how he can obtain redress for grievances.

“In these days,” I told him, “patience is better.”

Fire can be extinguished by water.

January 26, 1942

Must encourage the people to do some home gardening. Every available backyard should be planted to vegetables. The Bureau of Plant Industry can provide the seeds to interested parties. Planted tomatoes, cabbage, pechay and radish in my garden. This will help increase the food supply. “Little drops of water make an ocean; little grains of sand make a mountain…”

Things don’t look so rosy in Singapore. The radio says that the three main Japanese mechanized columns smashed through the western, central and eastern sectors of the Malay peninsula penetrating through the 130-kilometer radius of the British Far Eastern base. Looks like the sun that never sets on the British Empire will set on the East.

Many society boys and girls now ride on streetcars. This will do them a lot of good. Soft life begets softies. Youth when tempered in fire, becomes stronger—like steel.

Curfew has been extended from 8 to 10 p.m.

The Japanese have no sense of humor. I was at a party at the Manila Hotel. Seated beside me was a Japanese major. A Japanese civilian, who has been in the States, introduced a hostess to me in joking terms: “Dr. Buencamino, I would like you to meet this young girl. She is thin because the price of rice is exorbitant.” Some Filipinos present got the joke and laughed. I did too. But the Japanese major got sore. He looked at the Japanese civilian angrily and said very tersely “After office hours, no talkee business. Understand?“ The Japanese civilian bowed respectfully and apologized. Must remember to give him my condolence, the poor man!

My statement has not been published. I thought so.

January 18,1942

“You can’t put a good man down,” they say, and the cochero is that good man. He is king of Manila again, as virtually all gasoline-driven motor vehicles, with the exception of military cars and vehicles authorized by the Army, disappeared from Manila’s streets. I’ve given up my Super-Buick. I’m using a small Crossmobile. It is very economical. It has only two cylinders and very small tires. These are not days for luxury. Any old rattle-trap will do as long as one gets to his destination.

Saw a Japanese wearing a dirty undershirt with a towel wrapped around his neck riding in a Packard. “The worm has turned,” remarked my chauffeur.

The rice mill at 1010 Azcarraga was opened this morning. The following things were found:

(1) About 100 sacks of palay.

(2) Hessian cloth that will probably be enough for 40,000 sacks.

(3) Sack-making equipment, which has a capacity of about 15,000 sacks per day. Japanese soldiers accompanied Tanco to the mill and he asked them to guard it.

Supervisor Noya suggested a re-arrangement of desks in the office. He moved his desk next to mine. No objections.

Lt. Takeda will release NTC papers after 2:00 p.m. We can close 1941 accounts.

“NARIC,” said Mr. Noya, “may become the Controlling Foodstuff office.” He said that he admires the way I handle the office, notwithstanding my age. Do I look so old? Except for the dash of grey hairs and wrinkles, I feel young. I am young. He agrees.

Vicente Sabalvaro, manager of the National Food Product Corporation, reported this morning the result of his survey of the 200 hectare vegetable project in Marikina, Montalban, and San Mateo. He said that we should obtain permits from the Army for the delivery of seeds to Montalban and San Mateo, as per our requisition from the Bureau of Plant Industry. According to him, the municipalities of Montalban and San Mateo will turn over to us all their communal lands on condition that they be paid a yearly rental of ₱1,200 and ₱600, respectively. “The farmers,” he said, “are now harvesting the present crop. It is necessary that they be directed to prepare the land for the next planting. To rush the project, which is essential to supply the needs of Greater Manila, please get permission from the officials of the Japanese Army, so that we may proceed with the project without delay.” Passes and permits, permits and passes from the Army for anything, for any silly old things. Pretty soon you’ll need a pass to visit your own grandmother!

The fighting in Bataan must be fierce. Ten truckloads of corpses covered with vegetables passed Avenida Rizal.

Dead men tell tales, after all.

June 27, 1936

Saturday; in a.m. at Survey Board. Unson says June 30 is the dead-line for presenting their recommendations to Quezon–after that the President must act in reorganization of the government only thru the Legislature. I dictated a hurried memorandum on separating the routine functions of the Bureau of Science from those of research, and transferring most of the Bureau of Science from those of research, and transferring most of the former to the School of Hygiene, Bureau of Plant Industry and Bureau of Health.

In the afternoon, long meeting of Survey Board in which they voted as to their conclusions on many vexatious points, especially as to Provincial and Municipal Governments. They are firm for appointive governors. (This will meet with support in the Assembly, but I fail to see how Quezon can recommend it to them as his own proposition!); election of provincial board of five members; transfer of Provincial Treasurers to the Department of Finance; designation of Cabinet members as “Ministers” with discussion of Presidential Governments and Parliamentary Governments elsewhere. Discussion of the phrase “by and with the advice and consent” of the Assembly and of the sound reasons for the recent rejection of the word “advice” by the Constitutional Convention in the Philippines; discussion of “National Police” and “Guardia Civil”; creation of a Department of National Defense (asked for by the President); creation of the Department of “Interior and Labour” by consolidation (also probably asked for Quezon!). I had to leave at 6:15 p.m. before the end of the session. Miguel Unson is easily the leader out here in the science of government and has mature, sound and kindly judgment, and a saving sense of humour. Paez is cautious, silent and extremely watchful–evidently is convinced that “shoemakers should stick to their lasts,” and that he should not get entangled in government snarls; Paez has a broad forehead and intelligent, sympathetic eyes. Trinidad (an Indonesian type) is solemn, cautious and conservative, with positive, thundery opinions–but it is often difficult to get an expression of his ideas out of him. Very sound men, all three. As secretary, Rustia, is efficient, respectful, silent:–the typical portfolio man; I suspect he is boiling with ideas.

May 6, 1936

Visited Director Camus of the Bureau of Plant Industry. He is a relative of Judge Camus who was present. This director is a fine example of the energetic, clean, highly educated public servant. The poor chap was zealous to show se his whole industrial plant in the short time at our disposal, which was interesting but exhausting. My seeking him was to ascertain whether there is any “overlapping” with the Bureau of Science; as, indeed, there turned out to be in the work of soil analysis, and probably in other botanical and agricultural enterprises. He said Quezon and Murphy had been there. The latter allowed him 10,000 pesos for a house to install his looms, and he put it up in twenty-five days to get the whole appropriation before the end of the year. He also makes cotton yarns of Philippines cotton, with old second-hand machinery. His purpose is to show the people that their cotton will find a market. He asserts that he could also make of hemp all the sugar and copra bags needed in the Philippines, and better than those made from imported Indian jute. He is also perfecting a process of manufacturing coir.

In p.m. bridge here for Guevara, Banqui and Nazario. I asked Pedro Guevara about his successor Resident Commissioner Paredes. Guevara replied that Paredes didn’t understand American Congressional psychology; said he (Guevara), without any speeches, got thru the authorization for the payment of the $23,000,000 “depreciation of gold” deposits of the Philippines at the end of a session of Congress, and even Senator Adams stood by him. Now Paredes is getting nowhere with all his speeches and public statements. Guevara also predicted the election of Landon (if nominated) over F. D. Roosevelt. Said organized business would defeat the latter. If elected, he thought, Landon and the Republicans would come out for a permanent dominion status for the Philippines and that there would never be complete independence here. Although this is exactly what Guevara himself has been working for he said he was in favour of F. D. Roosevelt because the latter was “good for the Philippines.” Also he had advocated selecting me as High Commissioner. Said when I was here it was all “like one happy family, and none of that anti-American feeling which is now growing up.”