(19th of a series)
Deputy Governor’s health deteriorates
“Doing the right thing is costly. Others would avoid the cost for their own personal gain.”
THIS is how my mother, Angeline, who whole heartedly supported her husband’s role as Deputy Governor during the dark years of the war, described how my father sacrificed his health so as to protect his constituents. Weak and exhausted, he had to obey orders more so when enemy soldiers on patrol needed his personal presence for their protection. My mother then believed her husband was used as a shield from ambush by Pilipino soldiers and guerilla units.
“On May 13, Lt. Eto ordered me to accompany his subordinate officer on patrol to Mayaoyao. We left for Banawe. At Banawe in the afternoon, I had high fever that continued the whole night till morning. I did not proceed any more with the officer and his men to Mayaoyao but returned to Kiangan.
“In Kiangan, I sent a telephone message to the Provincial Governor asking him to grant me an indefinite leave of absence due to my illness which continued and was getting worst. I again asked that Kiangan Mayor Jose Dulinayan be designated in my instead in acting capacity.
“On May 22, in the afternoon, Major Yamasta arrived in Kiangan with his physician, Dr. Tokonosta. They came to visit me and the doctor examined me. They suspected I was making a pretext of illness and to leave the office.
“The doctor finally pronounced me very sick of pleurisy. He said: ‘many water inside. You want me remove water?’
“I consented and he sucked, by the use of his large siren and removing 22 ½ ounces of liquid from my left lungs. I began to improve the next day.”
Apparently US Army Major Blackburn, one of the two Americans in hiding, received a report of the Dep. Governor’s health and the visit of the Provincial Garrison commander and his physician. Blackburn sent “a letter wishing me well.”
Despite his being on “house arrest” by my mother, my father’s network of informants was feeding him developments in the sub-province.
“On July 8, Lt. Eto and all the soldiers left except for a few who guarded their garrison. Eight trucks came to transport them and their belongings. They were going to the south, as Lt. Eto told me when he came to say ‘Sayonara.’
“Three days later on July 11, the new garrison commander arrived, Lt. Ogata by name. The acting sub-governor Dulinayan gave notice to all prominent citizens that the new commander is giving an evening acquaintance party at his barracks.
“On July 12, Rev. Father Moerman came to visit me. We had a lengthy and interesting confidential conversation on the progress of the allied forces, both in the European and Pacific theatres. I, too, informed him that our secret organizations (the Pilipino soldiers and guerilla units) in the forests are progressing and doing well.
“On July 16, Mayor Baywong of Burnay district called on me and informed me that his people are now realizing the bad effect of surrendering their arms. He told me that most of the young men in his district are secretly joining our Pilipino resistance organization. I advised him to implore his people to continue playing the game with the enemy to avoid discovery.
“Later in the day, a Mr. Onagawa of the Mankayan Mines also arrived to recruit more laborers. It appeared that many of the native laborers were escaping despite rigid security measures by Japanese soldiers.
“No Ifugao went with him, with the alibi that the people are busy working the ricefields. He came to ask suggestions but I told him that I have no more connection with the function of the government. And I am sick to do anything. I told him to have a talk with each individual mayor in the sub-province.
“On July 21, Rev. Fr. Moerman came again to visit me. He told me that Bishop Jergan and several other priests were taken by the Japanese and brought to the concentration camps. I assured him that we will do everything to convince the Japanese, in case they will arrest missionaries in the sub-province and bring them to the concentration camps, even if I am no longer the deputy governor.
“It was through our absolute guarantee that the Belgian missionaries in the sub-province were allowed to continue their Christian missions in Ifugao, instead of being sent to Baguio or in places that the enemy wanted them to gather.
“On July 24, a certain Rafael Tabdol of Burnay, a member of the Japanese Constabulary disappeared and reported drowned in the Ibalao river. This boy was very active in the collection of arms; in spite our confidential advices for him to slow down in his efforts.
Signs of imminent military confrontation
“On July 26, American aero planes were heard flying high from the north. They were in V formation flying to the south.
“On July 28, reports reached me that Japanese soldiers were marching from Bontoc to Nueva Vizcaya. It also appeared that many Japanese trucks were moving to the north and civilian travelers were prohibited to walk the roads for one and a half weeks.
“The people began to murmur and whispered among themselves of the coming of the Americans. The Japanese in town were closely watching everyone and were rather suspicious of any one. I advised those who visited me to be vigilant and cautious because rats are never absent everywhere.
“On July 29, a copy of the Tribune newspaper was secretly brought to me. It revealed that the allies occupied the Mandated Islands (consisted of islands in the North Pacific Ocean that had been part of German New Guinea within the German colonial empire until they were occupied by Japan during World War 1...
Wikipedia) including Guam. This probably account for the general maneuver of the Japanese throughout the Philippines.
“On July 31, reinforcement of about Japanese 30 soldiers arrived from Bontoc. They probably had a drinking party as they had been singing and yelling throughout the night. The next day on August 1, they marched down to Ibulao bound for Nueva Vizcaya.”
For three days, my father observed the skies over the sub-province were being patrolled by allied war planes, back and forth; north and south, east and west. The roaring noise of the planes gave hope of liberation from the Japanese, he noted.
“On August 5, we heard of the resignation of Premier Tozyo with his cabinet. General Kuruiso replaced him.
“We also heard of the message of condolence of Emperor Hirohito to Hitler, for having been bombed. This information was published in the Tribune of July 21st.
“Earlier on August 2, a messenger came with a letter of Major Blackburn, asking me to surrender now the rifles I was keeping secretly. One rifle and one long shotgun were surrendered. The other two arms, I informed the Major will be surrendered as soon as arrangements will be made with the man hiding them for me.
“Mr. Puguon came and received from the messenger receipt of the surrendered rifles to Major Blackburn. Mr. Puguon was the one keeping the rifles secretly and usually kept the barrio folks informed of the progress of the allies.
“The messenger or go-between with Maj. Blackburn came at night on August 7. I gave him 27 rounds of ammunition and for him to inform the major that the two other rifles were surrendered to Lt. Balanban.
“On August 9, a messenger from Hungduan came and informed that the people were seeking advices from me as regards furnishing food subsistence to the hiding Pilipino soldiers and guerilla units. I told them to go ahead since the Japanese soldiers thereat already left. In addition, I warned them to be aware and watchful of betrayals.
PH Presidential office moved to Baguio
“On August 11, we heard of the transfer of the office of the President, Philippine Republic, to Baguio City. The office of the Japanese Commanding General followed suit.
“On August 12, we read in the Tribune of the death of President Manuel Quezon on August 1.
Food shortage for Filipino/Guerilla soldiers
“On this day Aug. 12, Antonio Bilibli came to town and secretly came to me with the information that Major Blackburn left for the north and that he commissioned Sergeant Alfredo Bunol, Captain and Commander of the First Battalion, in Ifugao. He also asked, in behalf of Bunol, to help inform the people to provide food subsistence to the increasing number of Pilipino soldiers under his command.
“I assured Bilibli that even I am no longer the deputy governor, having not returned to office, I will inform all the mayors concern. I felt that the confidence of the hiding men in me was unquestionable, for instead of asking the acting dep. Governor all the help they wanted, they always sent their messengers to me.”
The problem of providing food subsistence to the hiding soldiers and guerilla units seemed to be getting serious with the Japanese and their spies getting wind of supply and deliveries.
“On August 14, ex-Mayor Balajo of Mayaoyao came to visit me and informed me that the guerilla organization in their area is going on smoothly. He informed me that he will soon report for active duty, and asked me if it is time to join. I advised him that it was not yet ripe, and too early as the few men in the forests are having a hard time securing for their subsistence.
My father wrote further: “Not till proper arrangements by the acting dep. Governor with the people to provide subsistence to the hiding Pilipino soldiers, is made then it will be time to call back to service those who have had any trainings. I told him that I too will report when the time comes.
“On August 17, a messenger came to inform me that Mayor Rafael Napadawan of Hungduan was taken by our hiding soldiers, tied and brought to their HQ. I told him I am helpless and cannot be of help as I was on sick leave. I have knowledge that he was one of the headmen who doubted giving (openly) subsistence to our soldiers, since no arrangement was yet made by the acting sub-governor.
“On August 21, the acting dep. Governor, Mayor Jose Dulinayan came and conferred with me about the problems in the Hungduan district re: movements of the hiding soldiers and their subsistence. I suggested that he makes proper arrangement with the people to avoid any further misunderstanding, like what already happened to one of his district mayors or presidents.
“I further suggested for him to contact Capt. Bunol so as to have real understanding and arrangement in the procurement of food supplies.”
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.