Lt. Miyasaki Eases Anxiety
THE short stint of Lt. Miyasaki as garrison commander in the sub-province of Ifugao was a respite from the fretful uncertainty of life during the Japanese occupation, my father, the Deputy Governor observed.
He described Lt. Miyasaki as cordial and a good-natured soldier who excelled in community relations. Within a week after his arrival:
“On October 26, Lt. Miyasaki ordered 2,800 pieces of pop-rice cakes for the school children who will come to help celebrate the Meiji’s birthday on November 3.
Two days earlier there was information that Japanese General Araki would be visiting Ifugao on October 29 and for this, the Burnay Bridge must be finished and passable.
“The following day however, I was told by Lt. Miyasaki that the General will not any more pass by this road. This is the first time that a Japanese officer tells me in advanced the itinerary of high-ranking officers, whereas before that, they never tell us whenever we asked why. They always say: “military secret.”
“On November 1, there was a party given by Lt. Miyasaki in his quarters, the former supervisor’s school cottage. He invited prominent citizens of the town, including some ladies. Lt. Teramoto from the Lamut detachment came about with a string orchestra to provide fiesta atmosphere with music and songs.
“On November 2, Lt. Teramoto left for Lamut. In the afternoon, hundreds of school children from the barrios arrived. Lt. Miyasaki came around to help us, see the children properly housed.
“On November 3, the program began with the singing of the ‘Kimigayo’, the national anthem of Japan. With the bowing business over, Lt. Miyasaki explained the significance of the occasion. It was followed by a literary program with the school children singing Japanese and Tagalog songs. English songs were not usually included in such occasions.
“The afternoon saw the children playing games while a pick-up group of local folks was organized to play an indoor ball game against the Japanese soldiers. The civilian group defeated the Japanese ending the day. Lt. Miyasaki was well pleased with the activities of the day as he distributed the pop rice cakes to the children. He paid the cost of the cakes out of his own personal pocket.”
My father further observed that the young officer Lt. Miyasaki loves the company of civilian crowd. A month later, the Japanese commander: “informed me that all Mayors in Ifugao must celebrate December 8 (date of the declaration of war) with programs. I informed the Mayors to comply with the order of the Japanese.
On December 8, the barrio folks came to help celebrate the day. A program was presented by the school children. It was a rainy day and there were no other activities. The garrison officer noted that there were few people and he asked me why. I told him that it is the bad weather, besides his orders for the celebration was given late. And that was the end of the conversation.”
New Mayor appointed for Banaue
“On November 7, I started for Bontoc, the Governor having called me for a conference, arriving there on November 9. The conference was about the Mayor of Banawe who was the subject of negative reports by some of his constituents to the Governor. Gov. Clapp decided to replace Mayor Apilis for the good of the service and for the personal good of the Mayor.”
The Deputy Governor opined that negative reports against Mayor Apilis emanated with the campaign for the surrender and collection of firearms and ammunitions.
“The Governor and I personally advised the Mayor to be careful and to refrain from actively collecting the arms. I strongly recommended that Mayor Apilis may be relieved of duty at the end of the month, instead of the day the governor mentioned. He agreed. Mr. Julio Duntogan was appointed mayor and I went to Banawe on December 1 to induct him.
“Mayor Apilis had quite a hard feeling against me, but I explained the whole situation to him that it was for the good of the service that the Governor thought of relieving him. I believed it was also for his own personal good in the long run. He thought that I was the one who caused his immediate relief or removal.”
Inspection by ranking Japanese military officer
While the Deputy Governor was still in Bontoc, Lt. Miyasaki arrived on November 11 to meet with General Araki who was on his way from Baguio City. Two days later, the visiting general together with Col. Sabaka, the Mountain Province commander, started for the Cagayan valley passing through Ifugao.
“One truck of soldiers went ahead, followed by the car of the general and the provincial commander and then another truck drove behind them. Lt. Miyasaki, Road foreman Manuel Dunuan and I rode in a jitney behind the convoy.
“On the way, there were many landslides caused by heavy rain for the last two days. When we arrived at Kudog, Burnay District the advance truck skidded and almost fell into the precipice, if not for a boulder of stone that held the tires. General Araki and all the soldiers including ourselves helped to pull up the truck to safety. The truck was partly damaged ... so the soldiers stayed behind overnight while the general and party continued to Kiangan.
“He left the next day, November 14, after inspecting the soldiers.”
Two Kiangan guys hung
“On November 29, the Provincial Governor telephoned me that two (Japanese) constabulary soldiers from Ifugao, attached to the Bontoc Company, were killed in Cervantes (Ilocos Sur) and that their cadavers were on their way to Ifugao. The two were identified as Teodoro Arcaina and Joaquin Pawid, the later a distant relative of mine, were killed by the hiding (Pilipino) soldiers in Cervantes.
“The two were sent there to observe the conditions of that place by the Japanese officers of Bontoc. An encounter between the hiding soldiers and the Japanese soldiers in an outpost resulted in the takeover by the former of the town. All civilians were investigated and finding that the two were not from that place, they were suspected as spies of the Japanese. As I heard later on, the hiding soldiers were right as the duo made their confessions. They were hung after which they were buried, and their comrades from Bontoc went to Cervantes to recover their cadavers.”
The month of December started with more visits by Japanese officers from Bontoc. On December 10, an officer whose name escaped the mind of the Deputy Governor came to recruit and train Ifugao young men as “Yowin”.
They will be inducted as soldiers of the enemy, but their actual function will be to do odd jobs such as cargadores, messengers and road guards.
“No one from Ifugao joined this new move of the Japanese but a few months afterwards, some young men from Banawe were forced to enlist. The reason for the force recruitment was made because most of the Japanese soldiers were daily called down somewhere for duty.”
“On December 17, a certain Lt. Iwa-o from the office of Col. Sabaka came for an administrative inspection of garrisons in Ifugao for his superior. Before Christmas day, my father received ex-Philippine Scout Piknihon “who asked his advice if he can still hold his firearms with him in the barrio. I told him to report to Major Volkman in order that he will not be roaming around, which may lead to the discovery of his companions and the Americans. He turned over his rifle to the Major and was assigned to observe the enemy in town. He comes secretly for any useful information from and for the ‘whites.’”
“Mayor Baywong of Burnay came in the afternoon and confidentially informed me that the (Pilipino hiding) soldiers in his district are publicly moving about. I instructed him to contact them personally and talk the matter over to the effect that they will not be discovered, since there are untrustworthy persons in his district.”
Japanese’s offer of amnesty
“On December 28, Lt. Miyasaki called me to proceed with him to Banawe. Upon arrival, I discovered that Lt. Miyasaki and the garrison commanders of Mayaoyao and Banawe opted to hold public meetings to offer and explain a general amnesty for any (Pilipino) soldier who may surrender.
“The day was also considered by the ‘Kalibapi’ as the beginning of tree planting activities up to Rizal Day, December 31.”
1943, a peaceful year
“The year 1943 ended and as I reviewed the events and activities throughout the year, I was not mistaken in my way of judgment that it was a year of peace and order in my jurisdiction; and that the Japanese, in spite all their demands, materially as well as our cooperation, treated us generally speaking, as fairly as was possible.
“Then I also felt happy that no one of our hiding soldiers were ever discovered; and that the Japanese were fully convinced of the absence of any ‘bandits’ as they always called our hiding soldiers.
“I also feel gratified that the hiding soldiers were instrumental in the maintenance of peace and order throughout the sub-province.
“The progress of the Allies as we learned secretly from radio news from the hiding Americans was very inspiring and my people had reasons to be thankful to the Americans who are with us.”
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.