(20th of a series)
Civilian movements monitored
MY FATHER was a teacher who rose to the position of public schools supervisor in the American schools system under the commonwealth government, and was known as a reader of written literature. “Beware of the kitten’s claws” was one of his favorite quotations which he took to heart during the war years. It guided him in dealing with the enemy and calumniators in the community.
A case in point happened in the early days of August where the cunning Japanese Constabulary officer Lt. Carlito attempted to hoodwink the dep. governor on leave with chicanery reports and stories.
Seeking audience with my father, he informed that “the people are getting restless and openly moving indifferently towards the Japanese.
My father added, “He was told to take up the matter with the mayors and the acting Dep. Governor. Lt. Carlito, as I observed, is serious in his constabulary work and I do not trust him.”
“Towards the middle part of the month, the acting dep. Governor Dulinayan and the district health officer went on inspection to Banawe. Upon their return they were grilled by the Japs for failing to inform the garrison of their going out. From this date onwards, the movements of local officials and any one in town were closely watched. Hence, anyone going out had to secure travel pass from the Japanese garrison.
“On August 22, a Japanese corporal soldier saw me in one of the stores and suspected me a new comer in town. He questioned me but Mr. Famorca, the store owner, informed him that I am the Deputy Governor on sick leave and had never been out in the open due to illness. The Japanese soldier apologized.
Filipino soldiers take on the warpaths
“On August 26, we heard of the encounters of our soldiers with Japanese patrols in Mankayan and Buguias towns. We also heard of the ambush upon an enemy patrol by Lt. Balanban and his men somewhere at the foot of Mount Pulag in the side of BarrioTinoc. Reports revealed that the Japanese patrol was annihilated without any lose on Lt. Balanban’s men.
“On August 28, Lt. Emiliano Dulnuan finally took to his decision to actively join our forces. He came to say good bye, and I gave him all the ammunition which I secretly kept. ‘Till we meet again’, he said; and I answered that ‘soon I will be over there.’
“He left the Japanese garrison with seven of his men, picked up those at Ibulao who were guarding the bridge and secretly proceeded to report to the hiding American officers. The rest of the native (Japanese) constabulary soldiers were left behind at Kiangan, waiting further orders (that never came) from him.
“Mr. Joaquin Dunuan, unknown to the enemy, is a Captain in our military. He secured a travel pass at the pretext of going to Isabela province to buy animals.
“On September 6, the absence of Lt. E. Dulnuan made the Japanese suspicious of his movements. Apparently, he told his Japanese superiors that he was going on patrol in Mayaoyao, but he failed to pass by the Japanese station at Banawe. A Japanese sentry was ordered to see me and inquire of Lt. Dulnuan’s whereabouts. I told him that there are short cuts and they patrol the barrios, not the roads.
“Later on Sept. 17, I received word that Lt. Dulnuan, Capt. Dunuan and a white officer and their respective men took the higher grounds in Antipolo bound toward the south.
“Earlier on Sept. 7, a public meeting was called by the garrison commander, Lt. Ogata to commemorate the (Japanese) Constitution Day of the Philippine Republic. Lt. Ogata installed his audience:
‘Never mind the coming of the Americans, attend to your daily work. They will never come back because we are here to fight them, that is our job, and we are here to protect you. All we want is for you to work in your daily occupations: if you are a farmer, work your fields; if office worker, go to your office.’
“This sounded good to us because we confirmed that they are aware that civilians knew something of the approaching Americans.
“There was a loud sound of hard thunder storm in the evening and we thought it a good sign, after the speech of the garrison commander.
“The next day, Sept. 8, two more Japanese constabulary soldiers ran away with their arms. The rest were all disarmed and detained in their barracks.
“On Sept. 18, Lt. Carlito of the Japanese constabulary went to Bontoc with his family.
“I noted the presence of Lt. William Dulnuan and some of his men, still disguise in civilian clothes, moving about town.
Allied planes take to the skies, a guerilla stimulus
My father noted that for the past two months, allied planes were daily patrolling the skies back and forth, north and south, and east and west. It was in the middle of the month when he noted something serious was happening north of the sub-province. He said: “Aero planes in fact had been centering their flying over the north for the last three days.”
The early days of October also saw faster pace of active dissident activities.
“On October 1, several of the boys who joined the hiding soldiers came to town and secretly met with me for information. I took this opportunity to inform them to ask the opinion of Capt. Bunol if I should report for active military duty. A certain Felipe told me that Capt. Bunol may come around some of these days.
“The men of Lt. Emiliano Dulnuan at the Japanese garrison were restive. They secretly requested me for advice. We had a conference with the acting dep. Governor and Lt. William Dulnuan with regards the remaining Japanese constabulary soldiers who have been waiting for orders from Lt. Emiliano. They informed me that if they hear from him (Lt. Emiliano) they will make a pretext of going out on patrol and would be allowed to get their arms in the garrison armory. No words were ever heard from either Capt. Bunol or Lt. Emiliano.
“The acting dep. Governor and I asked Lt. William to contact Capt. Bunol.
“Meanwhile, Lt. Balanban sent a messenger to give a receipt for the two rifles I turned over earlier to him. I also wrote him a letter requesting him to inform Capt. Bunol of my desire to report for active duty and join his battalion. Tomas Belingon, the messenger, left town unnoticed.
“On the afternoon of this day, October 6, Justice of the Peace, Ignacio Aguire, showed me a receipt of 2,000 Japanese money which he gave to the our hiding army (Nueva Vizcaya group) to help them. He told me that in spite of his help by showing his willing cooperation and indicating his loyalty, he was suspected by our hiding army as a real pro-Japanese.
“He requested me to help him explain the matter and to clarify his position before the hiding soldiers before it is too late. I told him I could not be of help since I am a sick man, having no influence with them. I did not trust the judge myself, because of his close contact most of the time with the Japanese. However, I suggested to him not to worry, but endeavor to clear the misunderstanding with the hiding soldiers the sooner, the better.
“Three days later on October 9, Judge Aguire told me he is going to Bontoc, to stay there, as he fears some of the hiding soldiers in our area. It was rumored that some soldiers came one night to get him out.
“Earlier on October 7, Mrs. Manriquez returned from Mankayan where she was taken by the Kempie during my illness in May. Her husband, Major Manriquez secretly came the next night to get her and members of the family out of town to unknown location.
“On October 15, Japanese soldiers came to ask me for cargadores, since they cannot locate acting Dep. Gov. Dulinayan. I referred them to the chief of police. It seemed they were not pleased, but I explained that I am no longer the governor, and besides I am not very well to move about.
“When it was learned that I rejected their request, Kiangan men and women took it as a clue to mount a drive of disobedience. On October 19, Lt. Hogata was very mad, telling Lt. William Dulnuan and me that their schedule is quite delayed. He was scolding me and on the act of slapping me, but I warned him, I am on sick leave as governor. He relaxed his anger and went along with his men to commander any cart in town. Locating a hidden cart at the edge of town, they packed their equipment and supply, and marched down to Ibulao.
“A new officer with eight men arrived in the afternoon. His name is Suniyama.
News of American landing in Leyte
“On October 20, one of my informers arrived from Nueva Vizcaya who informed me of reading the news about the landing of the allied forces in Leyte. He also informed me of incidents of plane dog fights in the Cagayan valley and the superiority of American planes.
On October 25, rumors of the Leyte landing were confirmed by our hiding soldiers from radio dispatches:
*That General MacArthur and President Osmena came back with the allied forces; and
*President Osmeña, in a public meeting, proclaimed the re-establishment of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.”
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.