June 25, 1945 Monday

It is reported in the newspapers that prices in Manila are very high. Meat costs ₱8.00 per kilo; fish ₱4.00, etc. It is also reported that more than one million people live in Manila. They must be suffering very much. I am worried about my family. The immediate cause of course is the operation of the law of supply and demand. Goods, especially foodstuffs are not produced or brought to Manila fast enough to keep up with the demand and buying power of the people. But the main cause is inflation which generally accompanies wars. But there are different ways of combatting inflation, at least of minimizing the effects of inflation. Apparently, the necessary measures are not being adopted. I shall discuss more fully the inflation problem.

It is reported that Don Vicente Singson Encarnacion was appointed Secretary of Agriculture, and ex-Representative and ex-Governor Marcelo Adduru as Secretary of Labor. As constituted, the rest of the Cabinet is as follows: Interior, Confesor; Finance, Jaime Hernandez; Justice, Delfin Jaranilla, Acting; Public and Communications, Cabahug; National Defense, Cabili; Health and Welfare, Gen. Basilio Valdes, and Public Instruction and Information, Maximo Kalaw. The general comment is that it is a very poor Cabinet. The present Cabinet is not a credit to the appointing power. Probably, service as “guerrillero” has been the predominating consideration. Also political consideration must have entered into the selection. There are some that believe Pres. Osmeña had also been swayed by personal considerations. I hope the present Cabinet will show that in accomplishment it is not behind other Cabinets.

I had been giving a description of some newcomers. Among the latest newcomers are boys of eighteen of less. Should they not be separated so that the youth would not be under the malevolent influence of hardened criminals. There is a very old man who is a paralytic. He could hardly walk to the mess. I do not know whether he was effective in the performance of activities attributed to him. Certainly he cannot render any effective service now. I would release him even under parole. The detention of these persons seem to be un-American.

At this juncture, I would like to mention again an old timer, Gov. Jose Urquico. He is suffering from tuberculosis of the vertebrae—spinal cord. He is very sick as testified by American Army doctors who have have examined and X-rayed him in the military hospital at Iwahig. He is getting weaker and he may die soon. He cannot be treated here, but he is afraid to go to a hospital in Manila as he may be placed again among foreign war prisoners as what happened to him before they brought him to Iwahig. For the sake of humanity, he should be released so that he can be given proper food and be attended to in his home.

In connection with the election of Jose Zulueta as Speaker, it will be remembered that I had to withdraw from the race on account of the fact that Pres. Quezon, then President of the Senate, and I were both Tagalogs and from the same Senatorial District. It was feared that this would weaken the party. The election of Zulueta means that regional considerations and politics no longer prevail as he, like Roxas, President of the Senate, are both Visayans and come from the same Senatorial District.

Tonight there was cinematograph show at the Recreation Hall. The films were good, especially the main feature. It explains the victory of the United States—many equipment and the most modern. Their firing power is tremendous. The tanks emit flames which are very destructive and deadly.

June 22, 1936

At office; visit from Becker from Aparri, who has always been a sort of confidential agent of the Government on affairs in the far north. Says he cannot persuade his two handsome mestizo sons to go to the Military Academy to become army officers. He came down to Manila to try to induce the President to visit the Northern Islands–as to which I talked later with Quezon and he agreed to go to see the Batanes, Camiguin etc “in between two typhoons,” tho he spoke rather ruefully of a typhoon getting him and me! Becker also asked to have one of Quezon’s confidential advisers sent up to Aparri for a while.

Becker says the Japanese are settling in isolated places on that coast, getting sea weed (for iodine)–they pay 5 centavos a kilo for the sea weed and sell it for 22. They also take camagon wood from the forests and load it in Japanese ships returning from the South. The island of Camiguin is heavily wooded with fine timber, and is people by those of Aguinaldo’s small force who escaped northwards when he was captured in Palanan by Funston. Becker says the Japanese fish these waters with ice-supplied boats which are periodically visited by a mother ship.

The country of the northern coast is a fine source of supply of rattan, and there are thousands of hectares lying idle in the interior. Ilocano emigrants are slowly trickling into Cagayan province. Many Negritos are in the cordillera east of Lake Cagayan, which, by the way, is not nearly so large as is shown on the maps. There was, he added, no danger of attack from the Negritos unless one goes armed. The Apayaos and Kalingas no longer disturb travelers from Ilocos immigrating via Abra across their country. The Aparri breakwater is not yet finished. Once a month a subsidized Tabacalera steamer calls at Batanes with supplies but gets practically no cargo there.

Later from 10:30 to 1:40 on the balcony at Malacañan Palace with Unson, Yulo and Marabut checking up on Quezon’s message on the budget–later we were joined by Quezon, Osmeña and Vargas–(Osmeña came on other business but took part in this discussion).

After having his office in Malacañan air-conditioned, Quezon turned the “conditioning” off and sits outside on the balcony to do his office work. (Those of whom I enquire here seem to be of two minds concerning the advantages of air-conditioning–a process new here, tho I first experienced it in Buenos Aires six or seven years ago!)

Visit from Ramon Diokno and Eulogio Benitez with the former’s draft of my landlord & tenant bill; he has amplified it by including amended portions of the Civil Code, rice tenancy law and sugar tenants law–a remarkable bit of legislative drafting. If this bill is adopted it will free the “serfs” on the land and provide in the Philippines an exit from the feudal system.

Talk with Unson concerning the plan to make the Governors of Provinces appointive instead of elective (qua France). It will have support in the Assembly since this measure would enhance the prestige of Assemblymen, who will then be the chief elective officials in the provinces. Even if he favours this centralization of power, Quezon will hardly come forward to advocate it, since it appears superficially to be a step back from democracy!

Unson reports that the disappearance of fish from their former haunts in the Philippine waters is due chiefly to dynamiting. He said further that agents from the Department of Labour foment “safe” strikes in order to have the credit for settling them. His last bit of official gossip was that the Philippine Army is to buy old type Enfield rifles, and .45 caliber revolvers–a size Unson thinks unsuitable for Filipinos.

When Quezon joined our group, his budget was gone through, and he was particularly concerned to change the last paragraph which as originally drafted, sternly admonished the Assembly not to touch the surplus of the government–(thirty-one million pesos nominally–nine millions real unencumbered surplus)–Quezon asked us what we thought of appropriating the government’s surplus. Unson spoke up at once, pointing out that the system had been different here than elsewhere. In England and France they budgeted only for expected actual expenditures. Quezon and he agreed that the real riches of a nation were to be found in the pockets of the people and not in the Government vaults. I told of the first United States surplus under President Andrew Jackson, which was divided up by the government among the states. Quezon then modified his budget message so as to leave a door open to use the nine million surplus later if needed; said he wanted to get his tax laws through first, then take five millions of the surplus as a revolving fund for the development of Mindanao. He went on to say that the trouble in using a surplus would not be with the Assembly, but with the United States Government which under the Tydings-McDuffie law has powers to intervene here in financial matters–that the High Commissioner was always at him to keep a surplus and to balance the budget–principles which, however, Murphy did not himself observe when Mayor of Detroit, and which are certainly not followed by his chief, President Roosevelt. “I could manage Weldon Jones” he said, “but it is hardly worth while for he will not be Deputy High Commissioner for long; from what I read in this morning’s paper, Murphy will be back in a few months; in reference to a proposed nomination for Governor of Michigan, he now states that his work in the Philippines is not yet finished.”

The President then invited me to lunch with him after all the others left, and told me how he had left Manila dead beat on Friday but as soon as he got to Atimonan and had a swim he wanted my company and thought of wiring for me to join him on an excursion to Alabat Island where the sea bathing is so wonderful. He had talked to the school teacher at Alabat and found that in the schools practically no Filipino patriotism is taught. Said he had gone in swimming again at Sunset Beach, Cavite, “but if I had not been enough of a man to go through with it, I would have refused on account of the jelly-fish.”

I handed him the Landlord & Tenant bill. He said Secretary Torres had come to him a day or two after his message to the Assembly last Tuesday, and had told him that his passages referring to the land system had killed all danger of disturbances; especially now that he has reversed his former position and has come out against purchase by the government of the great estates. I asked him if the church was not disappointed. He said “Yes, for they expected to sell their lands to the government at a terribly high price.”

He had been reading a Spanish work of the early conquest of the Philippines and expressed regret that the high reputation of the Filipinos for commercial honesty in their early dealings with the foreigners was no longer maintained today. He also said he was sorry that the Spanish expeditions of long ago against the Moluccas and Borneo had failed–for by now they would be the center of a great empire. I remarked that this would come to pass anyway in the future. Quezon agreed.

I enquired whether he wished the Survey Board to proceed with their attempt to consolidate scientific laboratories or to wait, since, against the wish of his own expert adviser, Dr. Manuel Roxas, he had wired to ask for some export from the Mellon Institute, to come out here to help us to reorganize. He said: “Yes, go ahead.” The President is determined, if possible, to prevent “overlapping” and we dealt with the extreme difficulty of getting at the real facts from the bureaus concerned here!

I asked him to request Washington to prolong the service of Consul General Hoover at Hong Kong for one year (to the time of Hoover’s retirement). He at once drew up a cable to the High Commissioner to that effect, which was very complimentary to Hoover.

Told him that Doria and I wanted to go to Bali for a couple of weeks:–he replied that he did not understand the interest in Bali, adding: “We have plenty of Balis here.”

Quezon then said he was celebrating a great event today telling me that a month ago, spots had been discovered again on his lungs. He had been dreadfully worried, and told nobody, not even his wife, but today another examination had been made and he is now absolutely clean of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, he had taken exercise and had avoided the sun. This dread of tuberculosis hangs over all the truly brilliant prospects of his remarkable career.

Asked him for the pardon of Evangelista in San Ramon and he said he would attend to it.

He had asked Unson about amending the sales tax law so as to collect it at a higher percentage but with a single incidence, and thus to stop tax evasions. Unson said it was impossible to stop Chinese evasions, and that collection at the source would penalize manufacturers instead of falling on the merchants.

In the afternoon, tea dance at Bilibid for the birthday of General Santos. Quezon was there, but did not seem to enjoy himself much.

June 13, 1936

At sea–caucus between Quezon and members of the Legislature. Most convincing evidence of good will and cooperation of the executive and legislature upon a high level of intelligence. The President’s method of address to the Assembly was perfect:–extreme seriousness in presenting his plans, and terminating many a subject with a pretty wit which brought roars from his audience. I believe he will get his whole program through, and very progressive it is: increased income tax and inheritance tax; increased taxes upon the mining industry (where not still in the exploration stage); change of cedula into “school tax”; progressive land tax on large estates to solve agrarian problems without the necessity of government purchase of all the Church haciendas (my contribution); regulation of transport by omnibus so as not to lose government investment in the railroad; trebling of sales tax, but to be imposed only once–and at the source. He said that without these taxes there would be only one million pesos surplus in the budget–which left nothing extra for the “pork barrel,” i.e., public works. If passed, he would see that the Assembly had at least three millions more to spend on public works. He also recommended Boards of Arbitration for fixing minimum wages, etc.–said they had been going slow heretofore in labour legislation being recommendations from the Department of Labour are “too theoretical” and might possibly cause damage greater than their good. Time, he thinks, has now come to make a beginning “for we have done nothing as yet for the labourer and small farmer.” (To my surprise, when Quezon broached his “somewhat radical” plan for a progressive land tax, Roxas who sat next me turned and said “splendid”).

Quezon told the Assembly that he would recommend nothing bearing on the tariff laws, until after a trade conference with the United States; and nothing changing the currency laws as at present.

Then Osmeña spoke, gracefully and eloquently. It was a very passionate and convincing address. The first part was about the development of Mindanao, in which he made references to work in the past of Quezon, Carpenter and me. Then turned to leprosy problem (Culion)–Quezon is anxious to abandon Culion and have separate leprosia in different provinces, so as not to separate and isolate the lepers so horribly. Osmeña (and Dr. Cañizares) believe leprosy is contagious and especially so in childhood. Roxas says the annual increase of lepers in the Philippines is one thousand; all they can do is to take care of them. He adds that the Philippine Government has, so far, spent twenty million pesos on Culion–chiefly in subsistence and transportation.

Quezon finished by saying that hereafter, bills for legislation would not be transmitted to the Legislature by the Executive but even if prepared in the Executive branch would be handed to Chairmen of Committees. He concluded by saying that there is no reason for calling this a junketing trip, due to the serious and productive conferences aboard. At the same time, he did not deny that there had been recreation on the journey, adding: “For my own part, when I became a candidate for the Presidency, I did not become a candidate as Obispo.

Visit to the Culion Leper Colony: Quezon was very emotionne and quoted Dante’s inscription over Inferno--Osmeña once more did the honours, and made the speech. Cured lepers, who are discharged, are not wanted any longer at home especially if they bear traces of their former disease, and after 6 months or so they usually write asking permission to come back here and settle in the “Negative Barrio.” Private capital is doing good business in this town of 7000, with a cinema, electric light plant and Chinese tiendas. After a drive around by motor, in which many facts were discussed in relation to the disease, back to the Negros–and off on our last leg towards Manila.

At lunch there was an interesting discussion between Quezon, Roxas and Sabido over labour. Roxas says there are no labour problems in the Philippines except in two or three large towns. They all condemned the attitude of the Bureau of Labour (now a Department) in trying to stir up trouble. Murphy’s creations of Parole Courts and Public Defenders were attacked;–evidently Secretary Torres is going to have a rough ride in this National Assembly.

Quezon said “someone” (F.B.H.) had told him how agents of the Department of Labour went around asking labourers if “there were any complaints” and he had given Torres a severe dressing down. He added that the right man for Secretary of Labour is Varona, whose attitude is always reasonable–he has common sense and a great hold over labour audiences. Quezon also remarked that the labour leaders in the Philippines are generally “crooks.”

An interesting constitutional question arose between Quezon and Roxas as to impeachment–Quezon is opposed to the unicameral system; he says esprit de corps will cause the Assembly to impeach the Executive and so long as the Commonwealth endures, ultimate safety lies in the President of the United States having the last say. After complete independence the situation would be dangerous–he says a vigorous Executive would send General Santos with soldiers to close the Assembly! This may be prophetic.

At dinner with Quezon and Roxas alone, I commented on how little things change in the Philippines–here were the two of us together again twenty-three years later! Quezon answered: “Isn’t it beautiful.”

Long talk later with Floor Leader Romero of Dumaguete.

May 27, 1936

Luncheon alone with Quezon at Malacañan. He appeared in very good spirits; is swimming daily in his tank, and played golf at Wak-Wak at 5 o’c. this morning. Spoke with pleasure of my appearance of good health and asked me to go with him on the Negros trip to the Southern Islands June 3-15, with the members of the Assembly. I accepted. He spoke also of the speed with which he had acted at once on Miguel Unson’s recommendation for the creation of a budget commission and had appointed Marabut at the head. I said the Governor of Leyte would think this was the result of his public complaint when we were in Catbalogan in April because no Leyte men were high in government office–a complaint which the President had denounced blisteringly before the crowd (advocating a national, not a local outlook). Quezon said this was so, and as he had so many sound reasons for doing so, he would suspend that Governor for one month, to avoid his increasing his undesirable influence over his province thru the appointment of his friend Marabut.

I spoke to the President of the good time we had had at the dance at Masbate–he invited me to a small dance at Malacañan Friday night–said he had sent for Corpus from Masbate to come to Manila on government business, but the latter had not had the sense to bring those charmers with him!

I asked him (for Unson) what his attitude would be on the question of the transfer of the Provincial Treasurers from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Finance (Quirino?). He said that was a subject as to which as much might be said on one side as the other–that he would accept the recommendation of the Survey Board. (Later I told this to Unson, thinking he would act at once as I advised, but Unson began to deliberate!) I enquired of Quezon about the repeated kicks emanating from the United States Congress towards the Philippines nowadays, and whether they could not later be reasonably straightened out. He seemed doubtful, but evidently is not ready to talk about it. (Nazario tells me that at the last press conference he said it was “up to the American businessmen,” and hinted at reprisals by the Filipinos.) I told him the simile of American psychology–when a son grows up the father does nothing more for him; Quezon liked that. I said that some Americans appeared to be peevish now because after all that had been done for them the Filipinos had insisted on separation. He replied: “Well! then why did they give us independence?”

I called Quezon’s attention to the controversy over appropriations for the Department of Labour between Secretary Torres and Miguel Unson, in which Torres called Unson “not interested in the poor man”–Quezon at once said Unson was extremely interested in the welfare of the poor. He added that he had one Cabinet minister who was “useless” and “worthless,” namely Torres; that he had nearly fired Torres several months ago; that Torres kept calling up (3 times) in a recent Cabinet meeting the proposal to build four story concrete tenement houses for labourers. Quezon finally snubbed him, and explained that tenements to house 100 families would only make the other 900 families wild; that a four story building was “too much work” for a labourer to climb; that concrete as a material in this climate was too hot–“why not leave them in their nipa houses?”

An article in the Bulletin, May 29, described a quarrel between officials of the Department of Labour and some labour leaders as to which group should get the credit for the “higher wage” movement. Apparently, government officials claim the labour leaders are “trying to steal the show.” “There is no reason for this sudden antagonism” a high labour official stated, “as in the past we have always sided with the labour element.” This displays an utter lack of public responsibility, similar to the debates in the Municipal Council of Manila over the cochero registration ordinance–these speeches are only cadging for the cochero vote.

Quezon spoke highly of Sandiko–as did I–I told him Sandiko wishes to go to America to study the labour question there. He was interested.

A. D. Williams was brought in by Vargas, to receive instructions about air-conditioning the President’s room at Malacañan Palace. Was asked to have the work finished in two weeks–Quezon adding: “I don’t want to do it for my successor.”

We talked of Geo. White’s visit and of our old friends in Congress–Quezon said he had liked the Ohio delegation of that day, except R. J. Buckeley who had voted against independence for the Philippines offered in the Clarke Amendment (1916).

Quezon agreed with me about the type required for “Public Defender.”

May 23, 1936

Trip to San Pablo with Colonel Craig, Mrs. White and Miss Wolfson. The manager of the dessicated coconut factory there (Stofford) told of periodic visits from four or five agents of the Department of Labour, enquiring of workmen whether they had “any complaints.” As a matter of fact there were none, since the eight hundred employes receive one peso a day and good treatment. This is the wrong way about for these agents: they should be schooled now to make proper enquiries, like life insurance agents. There was also a complaint by Stofford of the administration of justice in San Pablo.

Marguerite Wolfson told how, before Murphy’s arrival, they all had been prejudiced because what she called a “Mick” had been appointed, but at her very first meeting with him, he won immediately her support and championship by his modesty and simplicity. He said to her: “My sister and I are very simple people, and have never been used to all this social life. We didn’t appreciate the complexity of this position.” So she turned in and helped all she could. She said T. Roosevelt was a disaster because as Governor he was too undignified in his relations with the Filipinos.

Conversation at luncheon at San Pablo about Japan. Stofford and Mrs. White very friendly to Japan and full of admiration for its accomplishments.

May 22, 1936

Newspaper blast purporting to come from Secretary of Labour Torres to the effect that the Department of Labour could not get funds for its expansion from the Survey Board, nor from the Budget Commissioner–that “Miguel Unson was not interested in the poor man”! This was followed later by a contradiction from Unson and a disavowal by Torres; nevertheless I believe Torres was quoted correctly. A few days later they printed rumours of a “general strike” with an editorial in the Bulletin questioning whether this complaint did not come from the Department of Labour because they couldn’t get all the funds they wanted. Next this was denied by Torres, who went so far in his denial that the labour leaders became balky. It is evident that the Department of Labour under Torres considers itself the political leader of the discontented.