(15th of a series)
Crossing boundaries for food supplies
ON JULY 8, there was panic and alarming confusion among the inhabitants of Payawan, an agricultural hamlet, and those along the road toward barrio Lamut within the Kiangan District. Across the Lamut river is the town of Bagabag in neighboring province Nueva Vizcaya where a separate Japanese command garrison is located.
“The inhabitants of that place were ordered to move to Lamut near the vicinity of the Japanese patrol post. That order, they say, will free them from suspicion of feeding hiding soldiers who may be moving about in the neighborhood of Hapid, Bannit, and then to Mayaoyao.
“That order was rather conflicting because it was said that it came from the garrison commander at Bagabag while other reports said from Kiangan.
“The commander here in Kiangan says he is not aware of such directive, and so he ordered the people of Payawan and those residents towards Lamut to remain until further orders.
“Had we not informed him, the garrison commander of Bagabag would be stepping into our territory and making the people believe that he is their (occupation) commander. It came about that his interest was to sequester animals and agriculture products from the area.”
Provincial governor clapp visits Ifugao
“On July 15, the Provincial Governor, Dr. Clapp, arrived in Kiangan. Residents awaited him for a town hall conference following his directive the day before, and relayed via phone messages from Bontoc thru the Banawe lines.
“Dr. Clapp met with local officials and barrio leaders where he introduced one Japanese civilian by the name of Furoya. He is the representative of General Nagasaki, the army general in-charge of all civil affairs in the Philippines. Governor Clapp thought that by showing him all the sub-provinces except Apayao, Furoya will fully see for himself actual conditions for conveyance to General Nagasaki.
“We gave them some good entertainments and the party was pleased. Except for Banawe, the Governor howled at Mayor Apilis because there were no people to meet them when they arrived from Bontoc. Only the local officials and the Mayor met the party, and so they did not stay long in that district.”
Sleazy snakes everywhere
“Meanwhile on July 27, I was warned by Lt. William Dulnuan that someone was reporting me for the rifles I was keeping secretly in the barrio. I told William to watch that fellow, if he will really make further reports; we will arrest him quietly and turn him over to our hiding soldiers to answer for such malicious and acrimonious gossip. Nothing happened ever since and the rifles were safely and secretly kept until they were turned over by me to Col. Blackburn, the following year.”
“Sleazy snakes are everywhere to spit their poisonous venom” says the Deputy Governor. This brought him to Bontoc again on August 11 for a conference with the Provincial Governor.
“The meeting developed gradually around various matters. He was rather irritable and somehow treated me somewhat indifferently. I could not understand him at all, finding little faults of mine and made it appear big. I told him I am under his disposal, to change me anytime he wants.”
Dr. Clapp, the Provincial Governor, seem to have been stunned with the blunt position taken by my father as he wrote his feelings in his personal diary. He further expressed his sentiments that his physical presence in the company of his family coupled with his failing health was paramount yet due to public insistence, he has to continue performing his patriotic duty by standing guard against the occupying enemy.
Back in Kiangan on August 15, “I was awakened at mid-night by Japanese soldiers to send a messenger to Antipolo to recall Lt. Eto per order from Bontoc. He arrived in Kiangan the next day and proceeded immediately to Bontoc. This kept me wondering why the urgency.”
District and town inspection
“On Aug. 25, I went to Mayaoyao accompanied by the Mayor of Banawe, Mr. Apilis. This is the first inspection I had of Mayaoyao since the outbreak of the war. We held conferences and meetings with the people and local officials.
“Confidentially we told them that it is still stormy days, sarcastically telling the people that the Japs still control the air in our country.
“On Aug. 28, Lt. Tokonaga, the garrison commander of Mayaoyao, invited us for lunch.
“On Aug. 31, on my return from the trip, I passed by Cababuyan in Banawe, Hingyon and Piwong in Burnay. At Piwong, I met Sgt. Belingon of the Philippine Constabulary who was still in hiding. In our confidential talk, I advised him to contact the rest of those in hiding in the villages to report to the ‘whites,’ rather than for them to move freely in their villages where each one is suspicious of the other. Sgt. Belingon is in-charge of that area.
“On Sept. 6, the new garrison commander by the name of Zuiky, ordered me to join him to Hungduan for inspection, arriving there about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He ordered a meeting among local folks and emphasized the maintenance of peace and order. He so ordered a similar meeting in Maggok, a nearby village on Sept. 8.
“Burnay District Mayor Baywong, for whatever reason, was told to join us in Maggok.
“While the meeting was on-going, three reservists sought my advice if it was wise for them to surrender to the garrison commander. I told them to decide for themselves. I did not tell them to report to the ‘whites’ because I doubted their sincerity and any desire to join the army or the guerilla movement.
“They did not surrender, but their arms were given to a town councilor to be given to the Japanese patrol that was looking for them.
“On Sept. 11, Governor Clapp ordered that he will meet all the mayors of Ifugao in Banawe. However, he failed to arrive and so I had to immediately send them all back to their respective jurisdictions, especially those who came the farthest like Mayaoyao Mayor Atluna and Hungduan Mayor Napadawan.
“On the same day, I was ordered to recruit 20 men and send them to Bontoc for training in the constabulary under the enemy.
“On Sept. 14, the garrison commander ordered Kiangan Mayor Dulinayan and myself to go with them to Lagawe, in Burnay District. His soldiers were in full packs in battle gear that made me wonder why and perturbed. He ordered a mass meeting and upon our arrival, some 500 men and women were waiting.
“I felt nervous and disturbed because the garrison officer required the people to line up, and at once I was reminded of what the Japanese did in Aringay, La Union, where they lined up the people and machine gunned them all. The people of Lagawe are considered by the Japanese as non-cooperative because they could hardly furnish cagadores whenever the enemy asked for them.
“But he addressed the people, and I was relieved of my unfounded suspicion. He emphasized cooperation, peace and order, and respect by bowing to the Japanese.
Another call to Bontoc
“In the afternoon, we returned and I found in my office a rush telegram message from the Governor. He required the presence of all officials and District Mayors in Bontoc on Sept. 20 for a meeting on Kalibapi and to elect a provincial representative to the National Convention in Manila.
“When the day came and we went, we found out that few officials came on account of bad weather. Election however, proceeded and Mr. Florencio Bagwan was elected by the influence of Governor Clapp. Mr. George Tait withdrew his name from the list of candidates to give Bagwan a chance.
To be continued...
Note: The narrator is the youngest son of the late Luis I. Pawid of Kiangan, Ifugao and Angeline Laoyan of La Trinidad, Benguet. He is a journalist by profession, former town Mayor of La Trinidad, Benguet, and former Executive Director of the defunct Cordillera Executive Board, Cordillera Administrative Region. He now resides in New Jersey, USA.