February 10, 1969 — Monday

At 10 a.m. attended the meeting of the Board of Directors of Meralco, on the 13th floor, Lopez Building. It was announced there that the inauguration of the Lopez building will be held on March 14, which is the anniversary of the day when Meralco was granted its franchise (March 14, 1903).

The theater will be inaugurated on March 22, 1969 with a special program, for which invitations will be issued. The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Attended, at 5 p.m. the annual meeting of the Philippine Cancer Society. The Board of Directors was reelected with two changes — the Secretary of Health is to take the place of Secretary Paulino Garcia, and Dr. Pio Pedrosa who will take the place of Mr. Ramon Ordoveza who resigned due to his inability to attending the meetings.

February 15, 1950

Had conference with Jacinto, Milleres and Foster Knight at custom House. Jacinto had appeared before Budget Committees of House of Representatives this morning, and had told them that the Commissioner of Customs should be ex officio Collector of the port of Manila. He did not mention my alternative plan, i.e., complete separation of Commissioner and Collector. In view of the position he took, I said it would be a waste of time for me to draw up details of this alternative plan. Jacinto and Milleres both said that my plan might be the better in normal circumstances but, with the present set-up in the Custom House, the Commissioner must be the ex officio Collector in order to check malpractice by the present Deputy Commissioner and ex officio Collector Melicio Fabros!! And he must maintain his office in the Custom House in order to watch Fabros and company. A pretty nasty situation.

To dinner at Bing Escoda’s. She lives with two aunts — one single and one married — in a lovely house in Quezon City. Other guests were Mr. and Mrs. Hendry (he was born in China; she is part Filipina and very lovely); Mr. and Mrs. Ford Wilkins; Mr. Escoda (Bing’s uncle; Press Officer of House of Representatives); Mr. Roy, Chairman of the Banking Committee of the House of Representatives; and 2 other attractive Filipino couples. We had a delicious Filipino dinner — a whole pig, and Spanish rice and several other dishes. Excellent conversation. One of the guests was
formerly Philippine Cultural Attaché at the Legation in Buenos Aires. While in Rome last year, he called on Santayana, who was living in a hospital, cared for by English nuns. Santayana is 90-odd years old, but (except for deafness) in command of all his faculties. Mr. Escoda drove home with me, and we talked a long time in the hotel. I asked him about the Huks, and he said that the government had made progress against them recently. He said that he thought they would not be eliminated for 30 years; after the Americans took the Philippines in 1900, the rebels had only about 500 old-fashioned rifles, but it took the American army 5 years to suppress them. The Huks have 200,000 rifles, and plenty of machine-guns. Mr. Escoda said that the Huks live off the country, and are often cruel to the peasants, but that the Constabulary have treated the peasants even worse than the Huks! The Huks take one of his chickens; the Constabulary take two. Escoda referred to the US “surplus” scandal and said that a good many American Army officers made a lot of illegal money. One of his friends — a small saloon-keeper — was approached by an American officer who drove a truck-load of silk piece goods up to his shop and offered them to him for US $200. The saloon-keeper had only a few pesos at the time, but a wealthy Chinese came along, examined that silk, and a offered the officer $300. The officer said: “For $300 you have the silk and the truck.” The Chinese sold the silk for over US $100,000.

(At Lion’s Club lunch yesterday, the Sec. of Finance was dragged into the discussion. An awkward question was asked, and he said: “I feel like the fish in the market, who
remarked ‘If I’d kept my mouth shut, I wouldn’t be here.’” Ford Wilkins next to whom I was sitting, said that the original motto under the stuffed fish was:

“My address would still be Pacific South If I’d only remembered to close my mouth”.

Second line would be better thus:

“If I hadn’t opened my big, old mouth.”

February 14, 1950

To lunch at Lion’s Club as guest of Pio Pedrosa, Secretary of Finance. 9-10 had conference with Pedrosa, Jacinto, Jastram and Knight. Handed my memorandum re relationship between Commissioner of Customs and Collector of the Port of Manila to the Secretary. We had general discussion of the two alternatives I proposed, and the Secretary asked me to work out details of the two proposed, which he can submit to the Legislature. In the course of our talk, it was made shockingly clear how much the Customs is involved in politics. The present Deputy Commissioner and ex officio Collector at Manila (Fabros) has far more power than his nominal superior (Jacinto), and has placed relatives in several of the key posts in the Customs. He has very powerful political connections, and is, I fear, a thorough-going rascal.

The discussion at the Lion’s Club was about the desirability of creating a free-port, or foreign trade zone at Manila, and I have seldom heard more uninformed and half-baked ideas. It was a nice affair, however. The service clubs (Rotary, Lions, etc.) seem to be very popular in the Philippines. There must have been 150-200 men at today’s lunch. Called on Col. Soriano, president of Philippine Air Lines, San Miguel Brewery, etc. – one of the world’s rich men, I’m told. He was once a Spaniard, then a
Filipino, and is now an American citizen. We had half an hour’s talk about the Customs. Like everybody else, he says get politics out of the Customs and pay the staff a living wage. With Foster Knight, inspected the two principal piers with Delgado, the Arrestre contractor. The storage sheds are very capacious and well-built, and the stacking and handling of cargo are very well done. Lift-trucks and other mechanized equipment was in full use. Delgado took over the Arrestre contract last month, and his predecessor company did everything possible to sabotage the property and equipment. A very disgraceful performance. I had following to dinner here: Dr. and Mrs. Ray Moyer; Jim Ivy; Doris Bebb; Mrs. Pedigo. We had amusing time watching the dancing (it was Valentine’s Night). Many of the young Filipino couples were dancing the ?, which consists chiefly of facing each other 2 feet
apart and wiggling their behinds. Most of them kept very sober faces, and seemed to be taking their pleasures sadly.

February 8, 1950

Foster Knight returned last night from an inspection trip with Pio Pedrosa, the Secretary of Finance. It was nice to see him again; odd how our paths have crossed after all these years. I recall — many years ago — his stay in the German Hospital in
Shanghai, where he was found to have T.B. Then lost touch for years until we met in Washington during the war. Next, we met in Chungking. Last summer, when E.C.A. had to evacuate Korea, Foster Knight came to Tokyo, when I saw a lot of him. Now, we are in the same office — in Manila. Lunch with Representative Allas, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; he asked me my frank opinion of the Philippines Customs, and I told him — laying stress on the necessity of (1) eliminating political influence from the Service and (2) raising the pay of the staff to a living wage. Called on Pio Pedrosa, Secretary of Finance. Preached my little sermon, with which he professed complete agreement. He showed me two letters on his desk from the Speaker of the House requesting him to intervene in favor of two of the 180 Customs employees recently discharged. Pedrosa asked me to stay three months in Manila. I said “no can do”, but handed him a draft letter for his signature requesting E.C.A. to appoint Hugh Bradley as Customs Consultant here. Pedrosa agreed to send it in. Had Gil and Virginia “Gina”) Stuart, Ian and Daphne Bradley, and Foster Knight to dinner here. Ian impresses me as very “vital”, honest and good young man, with plenty of steel underneath a very pleasant and sincere manner. […]

September 8, 1945, Saturday

We took our breakfast at 5:00 o’clock. At 6:00 o’clock we were on our way to the airport. I could not explain why when we parted from each other most of us were silent and in tears. It was probably because we were not so optimistic as to what will be done to us in Manila. Or perhaps it was the result of about five months of paternal association among us. We arrived at the airport at about 8:00 o’clock due to the bad roads and stops caused by defects in the truck engine. The airport is near the town of Puerto Princesa itself. As we left the barracks and the colony itself, we felt something for these places that was hard to explain as they were the scene of our martyrdom for our beloved country.

At the airport we got a good glimpse of the might of the United States. There were countless B24’s which we saw in action in Manila and in Baguio, and B29’s which devastated and crippled Japan. We became more convinced that Japan had absolutely no chance.

We left the airport at about 8:30 a.m. in 24-seat transport of a line called “Atabrine”. It reminded us of the daily doze of Atabrine pills we took in Iwahig to protect ourselves against malaria. After going over countless small islands we arrived in Manila at about 10:45. There was nobody to receive us. Our guards had to telephone for trucks. One truck arrived at about 12:30 p.m.; we had been waiting impatiently on account of the extreme heat. The truck was small and one-half of it had to be filled up with our baggage. We had to be crammed in the small remaining space. The trip was as bad as when we were herded in a hold in a boat on our way to Iwahig. As we reached the main Manila South Road, and we turned left, it became clear to us that we were going to be incarcerated at the New Bilibid at Muntinglupa.

We arrived at this place at about 3 o’clock. There we were met by Minister Tirona, Mayor Guinto, Vice Minister Pedrosa and others. Later we met Don Miguel Unson.

May 15, 1945 Thursday

I asked Madrigal whether he had seen and talked to Osmeña and why Osmeña went to the United States. He said Osmeña had to go to Washington on account of the attitude of Senator Tydings, The Chairman of Insular Affairs. The U.S. Senator had said that we had to decide whether or not we wanted independence; and that if we chose independence, they would no longer meddle nor help. We would have to run our ship alone. If we wanted them to assist in the rehabilitation, we would have to ask the U.S. to withdraw their promise of independence or at least ask for the postponement of independence.

Coming from Tydings, it is quite a surprise. Independence was a settled question. We were to have it on July 4, 1946. Tydings was one of the authors of the bill (Tydings-McDuffie) providing for that independence. Why raise it up again? Why not just say, “Since you are going to have your independence, the United States can no longer help you in the rehabilitation.” We suppose that Tydings represents the opinion of his committee and the sentiment of the American people.

The statement of Tydings will cause a distinct surprise and disappointment to the friends of America in the Philippines. Before the coming of the Americans, almost every Filipino was waiting for the Americans, for many reasons. One of them is that some believed that it is of great material advantage to be connected with America. They believed that commercial preference like free trade would be continued. Some have connections with officials and employees of American firms and they wanted the Americans to come to be able to return to their former jobs. Unfortunately, there are many others whose motives were not very holy. They believed they will receive back salaries or back pay, pensions and indemnities for properties destroyed on account of the war. They believed that the United States would help us even after granting us independence. They consider it as some sort of compensation or recognition of the firm stand of the Filipinos in favor of America and the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Filipino lives for the triumph of American arms. To those people, the stand of America as expressed by Tydings will constitute a great disappointment.

Again the question of independence comes up. This question has divided us in the past and has been the cause of the stagnation of the development of Philippine economics. Instead of devoting their whole time and energy to the economic development of the country our public men devote their time to the discussion of political questions. Again, we will be losing time—time we need so very badly to prepare and carry out the program of rehabilitation and reconstruction. We should have a complete program for the economic development of our country.

We will again be divided and perhaps the campaign and speeches will be even more lively and bitter. I, for one, am in favor of independence right now. If America wants to assist in our work of rehabilitation, she can do so even with independence. Is not the sacrifice made by the Filipinos, the loss of tens of thousands of the flower of our youth, enough to merit assistance? But the Americans want the postponement of independence before they would help us. We are not stupid enough not to know that postponement means permanent retention of the Philippines by America.

In my opinion, the postponement of independence will merely delay the foundation of our nation. Whether we like it or not independence is coming. If we turn back and ignore the patriotism and sacrifice made by our forefathers to attain that which of right belongs to us—independence—and we now become anti-independence or propose the postponement of independence, you can be sure that other people will take up the cudgels. We may defeat them now because of our influence and means. But in the long run they will be the victors because their cause is just. It is the only goal that any self-respecting people can strive and fight for. The sacrifices for the sake of attaining independence were great and such sacrifices should not be in vain. Independence will come whether we like it or not. If so, let us begin early. Let us lay the foundation now for a united and strong nation. Why delay? Let us tackle fearlessly the problems now confronting us, and if America does not wish to assist us, then let us do it with our own energy and resources. We are not wanting in these, but there have been no concerted and well-defined programs for the full and vigorous use of such energy and resources.

Three news reports were received of interest to us.

The first is the formal surrender of Germany. It was received with joy, not only because we want the Allies to win, but also we believe that with Germany eliminated and the war in Europe ended, the war in the Pacific cannot last much longer. As a matter of fact, a good portion of the Army, Navy and their equipment is being transferred to the Pacific.

The second news is the occupation of Baguio by the American Army without much of a fight. We were worried because of friends and high government officials who are still there. We learned, however, with great satisfaction, the Ministers Emilio Tirona and Arsenio Luz, and Vice Minister Pio Pedrosa were safe and have already been brought to Manila to the concentration camp. It seems that the Japanese did not massacre or kill anybody before retreating as they did in Manila. This is was because of the fact that the Defense Commander of Baguio was General Babe, a very old retired general who had been sent to the Philippines to be the adviser of the Philippine Constabulary. He was a very kind gentleman with a feeling of true friendship for the Filipinos. When he was placed in charge of the defense of Baguio, we expected that no serious defense of Baguio would be made.

We began to ask each other whether it would have been better for us to have remained in Baguio like Ministers Tirona and Luz. The unanimous opinion seems to be that notwithstanding our hardships and sufferings experienced during our trip from Baguio to Tubao and the loss of almost all our personal belongings, we still do not regret our having come as we were able to avoid the dangers caused by almost continuous bombing and shelling, the menace coming from retreating Japanese and from men who were not real “guerrillas” but whose only purpose was to loot or rob other people.

The third news is to the effect that Balete Pass had already been taken by the Americans and that they are now in Sta. Fe. It took a long time for the Americans to capture Balete, which is a strategic ground for the defense forces. Now that this difficult natural barrier had been taken, it is now expected that the Americans will go faster in the campaign for the occupation of the Cagayan Valley.