January 5, 1942

Very busy day in the office organizing rice distribution for the people. Thank goodness, the rice situation is now more or less under control, but I am losing weight.

Almost everything in the market has gone up in price. A pound of meat, for example, has risen from 60 centavos to ₱1.50. Soap, cigarettes, medicines, and canned goods are going up fast. Only rice is stable, I’m proud to say. Its price must be kept down by all means, because it is the index-commodity, being the staple food of the people. Had another meeting at the Army and Navy Club this afternoon with Colonels Mazaki and Yoshida. Others present were Mayor Nolasco, Director Silayan, Col. Buenconsejo, Dr. Icasiano, Undersecretary Bayan, Dr. Gonzalez of the Census, Director Misa and representatives of hospitals and other welfare institutions.

It was agreed, during the meeting, to fix the amount of ration of rice for each inmate in different institutions as follows:

“Hospitals—200 gms; orphanages—300 gms; police stations 350 gms; city jails—200 gms; Muntinglupa prisons—200 gms.”

The number of inmates, it was understood, was to be checked daily by Japanese officers. If found incorrect, the ration of the whole institution would be cancelled.

Delay in the delivery of rice to the markets this morning, because Japanese soldiers arrived very late. Hundreds and hundreds of people were waiting in the different markets for its distribution. In three or four markets, there were no dealers to sell the cereal, and so I had to order NARIC men to undertake the sale.

There are rumors that the U.S. convoy will arrive in Corregidor. They say it’ll be this week. People expect the USAFFE in Manila by the end of the month. Some say, “Hell, it’ll take ten years!” There will always be dreamers and defeatists. My wife is a dreamer and yet she cries. Women are bundles of contradictions.

January 3, 1942

Looting continues unabated. War brings out the noble and the degrading in man. Saw three Japanese soldiers talking with two women with painted faces in a street-corner.

Thousands of people mobbed our warehouses. The bodega on Batangas street was completely looted. Asked Chief Torres and Mayor Nolasco for police protection, but they had none to offer.

After consultation with Sec. Vargas, it was decided that I take up the problem to the Japanese authorities. I called up Consul General Nihro, but he was not in his office. Vice-Consul Itoh attended me instead. I made the following representations, having nothing but the people’s welfare in mind. Firstly, the people must be assured of their rice supply; otherwise there will be riots, bloodshed, deaths. Secondly, NARIC warehouses must be provided with military protection. Thirdly, sales must be authorized in Pureza, Evangelista, Batangas, and Azcarraga. All these selling points must be well protected. Fourth, NARIC trucks must not be confiscated. Rice distribution must not be hampered in markets, sari-sari stores, schools and NARIC warehouses.

Mr. Itoh was courteous, understanding and helpful. I think he realizes the seriousness of the food situation. We went to the Manila Hotel to look for the Army’s quartermaster. Finally, found the supply officer at the Army and Navy Club. The Japanese commander said he would study my propositions tomorrow, Sunday, and he promised to give his decision on Monday.

A government official’s job is a thankless one. I’d like to leave my work right now, stay home, sit on my sofa, and read books. That’ll free me from a lot of headaches, gossip and a strained health.

There are bombers again. I can hear their drone. It must be another raid on Bataan. I wonder if my son is still alive. I keep telling myself there is nothing more glorious than the death of a soldier in the battlefield. My eldest brother Joaquin died in the war of 1898.

Thinking of the eternal sleep keeps me from sleeping.