Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Filipinos WW11 US Military Service

War Diary of Ramon Alcaraz

Home
Names A
Names B
Names C
Names D
Names E-F
Names G
Names H-K
Names L
Names M
Names N-O
Names P
Names Q-R
Names S
Names T
Names U-Z
USAFFE
Philippine Scouts (OLD)
Philippine Commonwealth Army
USAFFE Philippine Division
Recognized Guerrillas
Philippine Military Academy 1940
Hukbalahaps in WW2
(NEW) Philippine Scouts
Ethnic Minorities in WW2
Filipino Muslims in WW2
Filipino-Chinese in WW2
The Pinays in WW2
Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Prisoner of War Medal
Military Unit Award
Phil Defense Medal
Congressional Gold Medal for POWs
Memorials in the Philippines
Memorials in California
Memorials in Florida
Memorials in Hawaii
Memorials in Illinois
Memorials in Indiana
Memorials @ Ft. Riley Kansas
Memorials in Minnesota
Memorials in New Mexico
Memorials in Ohio
Memorials in Texas
Memorials in Washington State
Memorial in Israel
Filipino WW2 U.S. Veterans Fight 4 Equity
WW11 Merchant Mariners Fight 4 Equity
Library of Congress Oral History
J. Wertz: Writer Seeking 1941-1942 Filvets
Unpublished War Diaries
Published War Stories
War Diary of Ramon Alcaraz
Post War Court Cases
Historical Notes
Photo Correction: Death March
WW2 Veterans Advocacy
Guest Webpage: Civilian Internment Camps
Guest Webpage: Manuel L. Quezon
Guest Webpage: New Mexico Nat. Guards
Guest Webpage: Mexican Air Force in the Philippines
Guest Webpage: Japanese Memorials
Guest Webpage: Japanese Occupation
Guest Webpage: Japanese Holdouts

http://www.geocities.com/comralcaraz/diary.html

A 1940 pioneer graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, which was patterned after West Point by two great Americans -- Douglas MacArthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower -- Alcaraz is an authentic war hero.  He was promoted on the spot and decorated personally by General MacArthur in Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action in January 1942.  He had shot down three Japanese dive bombers as Captain of a zig-zagging "Q" (torpedo) Boat in Manila Bay facing Bataan and Corregidor.  As a result, the war planes failed to bomb their shore objectives.

WWII DIARY OF

COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ

World War II Journal entries

Jul 1942 to Feb 1943 Copied here

 

May 1941 to Mar 1942

1942

May 10,1942.  I learned today that even if Gen. Jonathan Wainwright attempted to surrender only Corregidor and the surrounding Fortresses at Caballo, Carabao and El Fraile Island, (Forts Mills, Frank, Drum & James) he was forced by victorious Gen Masaharu Homma to surrender USFIP all over the Phil.  Accordingly, the hapless vanquished commander issued surrender orders to key USFIP Commanders with the following officers directed to serve said "Surrender Orders," Lt Col Kalakuka USA to Lt Col Guillermo Nakar '32, Comdr 14th Inf, in Cagayan Valley; Col Jesse T Trayvick Jr USA to Maj Gen W F Sharp, CG Vis-Min Forces; and Brig. Gen Guillermo B. Francisco '08 to Southern Luzon & Bicol Regions.  These representatives of Gen Wainwright are accompanied by ranking Japanese officers and provided adequate land and air transportation.

 

Wainwright's surrender orders became a favorite topic of private discussions among officers at Malolos POW Camp.  To the question, if you were Col Nakar, and you received the written order, will you surrender?  I am happy to note that after heated private discussions, all Philippine Military Academy graduates were unanimous in disobeying the order.  Two reserve officers have strong reservations that if they disobey the "lawful order of their superior" they can be liable for court martial later.  It will be interesting to find out how those concerned actually reacted later.

 

As a lasting tribute to the courageous gunners who manned those big guns at Corregidor and also to immortalize the names of the twenty batteries that fought valiantly against the enemy for 26 continuous days and nights since the Fall of Bataan, here they are in alphabetical order:  Batteries Chenny; Crockett; Cushing; Geary; Gruggs; Hamilton; Hanna; Hearn; James; Kysor; Monja; Maxwell; Morrison;  Ramsay; Rock Point; Smith; Stockade; Sunset; Way; and Wheeler.  My everlasting Salute to both Comrade Gunners and Batteries!!!.

 

May 15,1942.  Since the Fall of Bataan, several small group of guerilla units started organizing in Central Luzon led by escaped Bataan USAFFE officers according to Judge Roldan.  It is an indication of the people's resentment against the invaders and unshakeable faith on MacArthur's promise to return.  The most active and best organized at present strangely, according to him, is that pre-war socialist peasant group under Pedro Abad Santos, reorganized under the leadership of one, Luis Taruc, renamed Hukbo Ng Bayan Laban Sa Hapon, known as HUKBALAHAP with Hq at Mt Arayat.  At the start of the war, they took advantage of the confusion and increased their firearms and ammo supplies from those thrown away or discarded by retreating USAFFE units to Bataan.  They are active in selective ambuscades.  However, their Socialist philosophy have changed to Communism.

 

I remember the Commando Unit smuggled into Zambales on the night of March 11, by Q-113 of Lt Santiago C. Nuval with instructions from USAFFE Hq to start guerrilla organization and operation that early.  When I told this to the Judge, he said that is perhaps the guerrilla unit under a certain Col Thorpe operating from Mt Pinatubo and some of his officers are former Cavalry Officers from Ft Stotsenberg that managed to escape from Bataan Death March such as Lts Ed  Ramsey and Joe Barker.  They were joined by Filipino volunteers from Zambales willing to continue fighting the Japanese.

 

The Judge also mentioned a small guerrilla group somewhere in Rizal led by former PMA Cadets Mike Ver and Terry Adevoso.  I remember Adevoso, a member of Class '44 disbanded with Class '45 at Santo Tomas University last Dec and told to go home while Classes '42 & 43 were commissioned and became a part of the 1st Reg Div of Gen Fidel Segundo that saw gallant action in Bataan.  I saw Adevoso in tears disappointed when told to go home and unable to join us to Bataan.  Judge Roldan surprised me when he got from his pocket a clandestine one page mimeographed anti-Japanese Newsgram circulated from Manila.  Now I know the Judge has underground connect.

 

In Bulacan, an unidentified USAFFE Captain that managed to escape the Death March from Betis, Pampanga is reportedly organizing a guerrilla unit at the foot of Sierra Madre Mountains. This is perhaps the unit my younger brother, Narcy, joined.

 

May 20,1942.  LCol Nakar's unsurrendered USFIP Unit in NL were remnants of 11th & 71st Div cut off from Bataan, reorganized per Gen MacArthur's order as 14th Inf under LCol Everett Warner USA last Jan 24 to operate as guerrillas in Cagayan Valley.  When Bataan surrendered, Warner and fellow USA Os gave up so Gen Wainwright appointed Nakar '32 as new CO, with Maj Manuel Enriquez '34, my TacO at PMA, as ExO.  Other Os with him are Lts Ed Navarro '40; Melito Bulan '41; Tanabe, Nery & Quines all '42.

 

Today, I learned from Judge Roldan that LCol Kalakuka USA travelling under a flag of truce accompanied by a ranking Jap O located Nakar in Cagayan Valley and tried to serve the surrender orders from Gen Wainwright.  Nakar directed my classmate, now Capt Ed Navarro to meet Kalakuka in Bayombong.  Instead of following Nakar's orders, Navarro went to Enriquez and together saw Nakar in Jones, Isabela. Navarro convinced Nakar and Enriquez that after Gen Wainwright surrendered, he lost his authority completely.  And so Nakar agreed with Navarro, his Unit did not surrender and managed to report accordingly by radio to MacArthur in Australia.

 

Judge Roldan also informed me that the former mobilization center facilities of the 91st Div in Cabanatuan is being prepared for the transfer there of the American prisoners in Camp O'Donnell thereby leaving only Filipino POWs in Capas.  With the kind of info I am getting from the Judge, I am convinced he has underground connect - a brave and patriotic Judge.

 

May 25,1942.  LCol Jesse T Trayvick USA, Wainwright's emissary traveling under a flag of truce accompanied by a representative of Gen Homma, did not find difficulties delivering the "surrender orders" to Visayas-Mindanao USFIP CG, W F Sharp who, in turn, immediately issued written surrender orders to all his subordinates:  B/Gen Albert Christie, Panay; Col Roger Hillsman, Negros; Col Irvin Schraeder, Cebu; Col Arthur Grimes, Bohol and Col Ted Caroll, Samar-Leyte.  It is reported that all USA personnel and a few hundred Filipinos surrendered in compliance with Gen Wainwright's orders but many PA units led by their Os, specially in Panay and Negros refused to surrender.  In Panay where the bulk of the 61st Div is assigned are my classmates Lts Amos Francia, Ramon Gelvezon and Pedro M Yap who believe Gen Wainwright had no more authority to give orders after he became a POW.  Apparently, they were able to convince their Philippine superiors like Majors Macario Peralta and Nick Velarde and so when their Div Comdr Christie told them about the surrender at Mt Baloy, Peralta and Velarde categorically replied their refusal stating their plans to continue to fight the enemy.  Gen Christie seemed to understand and even left the remaining funds to the Div Fin O.  Meanwhile, in Negros my classmates there are Lts Uldarico Baclagon, Abenir Bornales and Epifanio Segovia and they also were able to convince their superiors, Captains Ernesto Mata and Salvador Abcede, to disregard the surrender orders of Col Hillsman.  In Southern Luzon and Bicol Area, surrender emissary B/Gen G Francisco delivered the orders and like in the Visayas, only the Americans and a few Filipino USPIF members complied and surrendered.

 

May 31,1942.  It is reported that the transfer of the about 6,000 surviving American Bataan Death Marchers from the POW Camp O'Donnell to Cabanatuan is about completed.  The new POW Camp in Cabanatuan was the former mobilization and training center of the USAFFE 91st Div before the war and have better facilities.  Judge  Roldan informed me the Corregidor POWs that were transported by ship to Manila were paraded and marched to their destinations.  Filipino POWs marched to Tutuban Railroad Station, loaded in the train for Capas.  The about 3,000 American   POWs marched from the Pier to Bilibid Prison in Azcarraga where they are temporarily detained but gradually transferred to Cabanatuan.  Judge Roldan speculated that the Americans were transferred from O'Donnell to prevent them further seeing the distressing 500 Filipino POWs dying daily adjacent to their Camp.  American POWs death rate in O'Donnell is reportedly much lower at 60 per day.

 

Our situation at Malolos POW Camp is comparably better than Capas.  We were originally 20 POWs last April 10,and increased by 3 to 23 later.  Although there were few malaria and dysentery cases, the provincial health officers took good care of us-no death so far.  Our camaraderie is stronger and morale good.  Our hope for ultimate redemption springs eternal.

 

June 5.1942.  I am surprised to learn today that my high school mentor in Math is among the American POWs in Cabanatuan.  He was seen by a relative tending a group of carabaos in a Cabanatuan rice mill, pulling carts loaded with rice supply for POWs.  Let me pay tribute to this great hero named Aaron Kliatchko.  He was a Russian Jew, native of Belarus, migrated to US in 1907, enlisted in the Corps of Engineers, saw action during WW I under Gen John J. Pershing in France, later assigned to Corregidor in 1919 as a Master Engineer to build Malinta Tunnel.  When his enlistment expired, he joined a US Engineering Co in Manila (Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co) that constructed various projects in the Phil.  One such project was Angat Dam and Irrigation System wherein Kliatckko was the project engineer with the center of activities in my hometown, Quingua, Bulacan.  Being a bachelor, he boarded with the Garcia Family that resulted in his marrying my relative Vicky Cervantes.  He decided to build his residence next door to our ancestral home.  e was 35 when he got married to Vicky, 22, in 1922.  In 1932, he retired from Atlantic Gulf Co, purchased 50 hectares of riceland in Quingua and Bustos and become a gentleman farmer while raising a family of nine.

 

Engineer Aaron Kliatchko became my mentor in Math during my high school years since 1932 and continued till 1936 when I took the exam for PMA.  Am informed that after WW II started, he felt that beause he was a former member of the US Army and a US citizen, it was his duty to join us in Bataan. And so in mid-March 1942, he managed to go to Bataan during the lull period, via a rented motor boat from Malolos.  A few weeks later, Bataan surrendered, was taken POW, joined the Death March and Concentrated in Camp O'Donnell until he was transferred to Cabanatuan.  As a farmer since 1932, he is good in handling carabaos and I am not surprised of his assignment by the Japanese.  What surprised me is why he joined us in Bataan at age 55 when he could have been detained only in Santo Tomas as an American civilian national.  For me, my former mentor is a patriot, a hero.  He helped build Malinta Tunnel, Angat Dam that supplies fresh water to Manila and the Irrigation System that covers the farmlands of Bustos, Quingua, Guiguinto, Pulilan, Bigaa and Bocaue enabling the farmers to harvest rice twice a year.

 

June 10,1942.  This is my 62nd day as POW in Malolos Camp.  Today, for the second time since last month, Judge Roldan shared with me for a few minutes, contents of a secret one page underground news tabloid "Free Philippines" with short wave radio foreign news summary.  The first one he shared with me in the confines of his quarters last month was about what I considered a fantasy story I did not believe.  It tells about the alleged bombing of Tokyo by a group of bombers led by a certain Gen James Doolittle that came from Shangrila, according to Pres Roosevelt.  I thought that was a cruel story as the enemy have superiority of the air and sea at Western Pacific area where there is no Shangrila.  I thought its purpose was to boost the very low morale of the US public after our Bataan humiliation.

 

This time, the news from the Judge seems believeable.  It mentions about a supposedly great air and sea battles in the Midway Island area between US and Japanese naval forces that started June 3 and lasted four continuous days and nights resulting finally in the withdrawal from engagements of the Japanese Naval Forces after three of their Aircraft Carriers were sunk, three battleships badly damaged and a dozen others damaged.  The US admitted the loss of one Carrier USS Yorktown, and destroyer USS  Hammon.  If this news is even half true, it will be very bad ultimately for Japan whose ability to replace their losses is very inferior compared to the industrial capabilities of USA.

 

June 16,1942.  The Malolos Women's Club under the leadership of Mrs Cristina Magsaysay Cuenca continues to help the Malolos POWs.  As mentioned before, when they found out that we were sleeping on bare cold concrete prison floors during our early days here, they lost no time providing each of us mattresses and other beddings including mosquito nets.  Today Mrs Cuenca accompanied by her able assistant, Miss Luming Flor R Cruz (whose brother, Perico, is graduating from West Point this month) visited us.  I learned from them that they have already made two trips each to Camp O'Donnell and Camp Cabanatuan bringing medicine.  They told us the deplorable conditions of POWs at O'Donnell where daily deaths are reported at 400 to 500.  Other Ladies Group leaders performing similar civic assistance to POWs at Camp O'Donnell Mrs Cuenca mentioned are Mrs Josefa Llanes Escoda, Mrs Pilar Hidalgo Lim (wife of Gen Vicente Lim) and Miss Lulu Reyes, a prominent social worker of Ermita well known to OSP student officers of Class '41 that boarded with her.

 

And so today, let me salute all our courageous and patriotic women for all their effort to help our POWs where ever they are.

 

June 20,1942.  Today, being a Saturday, Bulacan Gov Emilio Rustia attended the weekend evening Mass with us at POW Camp Malolos.  After the services by Fr Lipana, I invited him in my office to express my gratitude for his medical officers effort taking good care of our sick.  There are no casualties so far in this POW Camp, we even increased in number by three since our arrival last April 10.

 

I had a most enlightening private conversation with the governor about Realism and Idealism.  He started saying peace and order in Bulacan have virtually returned to normalcy and this is confirmed by reports of my relatives in Plaridel.  He had recommended to Japanese Authorities for the opening of classes in all schools.  He said, after a secret meeting of all elected municipal and provincial officials early last Jan, they unanimously decided to collaborate with the new masters as a realistic strategy to serve our people because if they did not, the Japanese would have appointed other individuals who were not elected, inexperienced in public service with selfish ends.  He claims their collective strategy appears  working as they have good rapport with the Japanese and obtaining conditions in Bulacan looks good.  For one thing, we have nothing to complain about as POWs.

 

Gov Rustia cited the case of the island of Panay, particularly the province of Iloilo whose elected Gov Tomas Confesor and his Municipal Mayors chose the Idealistic Strategy of not collaborating to appear patriotic and courageous by trying to fight back.  The Japanese appointed a medical doctor Fermin Caram as Governor and his followers who were not duly elected as Municipal Mayors with the result that the Japanese landed thousands of troops to hunt down Confesor and his followers and the entire island still in turmoil.  Gov Rustia believes Confesor's decision to be idealistic does not serve the good of his people due to lack of logistics and trained military of his own.  When Pres Quezon designated his Exec Sec Jorge Vargas to head a group to collaborate with the Japanese before he moved to Corregidor, that was realism.

 

I thank the governor for that enlightening conversation and after he left, it occurred to me that I also committed the same idealistic notion as Gov Confesor when I threw my PMA Class Ring at sea (a foolish thing I did) when I was surrounded by the enemy and realized I was a POW.  How I longed for that ring that gave me inner strength when I wore it.

 

June 25,1942.  Today I got good and bad news.  The good news from Mrs Cristina Magsaysay Cuenca is that according to reliable information from the Japanese Adm, with their new policy to get the good side of our people, will begin releasing sick Filipino POWs at Capas by the end of this month.  I requested her to ask Gov Rustia to inquire if we are not included in this release policy as we also have 'several sick' POWs in Malolos Camp and she promised to do that.

 

The bad news is from the underground "Free Phil" latest issue saying that after the fall of Tobruk in Africa, the British Forces were badly beaten and pushed 60 miles from Libya to Egypt by German Forces under Gen Rommel with 25,000 British taken POWs.  This news is, however, offset by the announcement that Maj Gen Eisenhower has assumed command of the US Forces in the European Theater of  operation signaling a decision to open a second front in Europe.

 

June 30,1942.  Per my request, Mrs Cristina M Cuenca, Malolos Women's Club President, asked Bulacan Gov Rustia to find out from the Japanese Adm if the Malolos POWs are not included in the announced "benevolent Filipino Sick POWs Release Policy".

 

Early this morning, Gov Rustia and Mrs Cuenca visited Malolos POW Camp to inform us of his findings. He said that, according to the Japanese Adm, all Filipino sick POW releases will be done only in Capas and the first batch is scheduled today.  He, therefore, suggested that if we want to take advantage of the release policy, that we request for transfer to Capas.

 

Because even our friend, Mrs Cuenca, agreed with the suggestion of our good governor, as the senior officer of our group and on their behalf, I requested that we be transferred to Capas, Tarlac where the rest of our POW comrades are being held. The governor promised to transmit our request for transfer to the Japanese Authorities concerned.

 

July 11,1942.  Today is a happy-sad day for me.  After going around Camp O'Donnell the past three days, I finally found PMA classmates Bart Cabangbang, Tom Tirona I used to chat with in Corregidor and Dodong Caballero, Joe and Rey Mendoza of the Bataan group that made me happy.  However, I learned from them that my dear friend and former roommate (and soulmate), Washington Sagun had died last May 16.  This made me so sad as we bonded like brothers when we were roommates and I want the whole world to know the great legacies he left at PMA.  A talented artist, during the early days of our plebe year, he was tasked into designing the original PMA cadet uniforms, insignias, diplomas, class rings, and other graphics like that of the "Corps" and "Sword".  He was one of the two starmen of our class for four straight years and graduated No. 2 but I still believe he should have been No 1.  He left his belongings (class ring, cash, effects) to our classmate, H B Tuazon after he died.

 

As CO of a unit of the 31st Engineers, he dynamited Calumpit bridge after the last USAFFE unit from the south had crossed it last Jan 1.  He saw gallant action in Bataan front lines with the 31st Div.  Our nation lost an outstanding officer with great potential when he died.  I consider it a great privilege to have been his roommate at PMA for two years.

 

According to Cavs Tirona and Cabangbang, it was also reported two other classmates, Alberto Aranzaso and Damian Pavon have died even earlier than Sagun.  Before the surrender of Corregidor, Aranzaso and Pavon tried to convince them to escape from Corregidor to Cavite by small boat.  They took separate boats that later capsized and sunk.  Cav Aranzaso was a heroic P-26 pilot that challenged the Jap Zeros with Capt Jesus Villamor last Dec 10 and together, were the first recipients of Silver Stars personally awarded by Gen MacArthur.  Cav Pavon was a 3-year starman qualified to be with the CE but chose to be with PAAC.  He is another officer with great potential lost at a very young age 26.  Aranzaso was 25 and Sagun 27 when they passed away.  A sad day for me, indeed.

 

July 14,1942.  Despite previous announcements that all sick POWs in Capas would be released, as in fact many were released already, there are still many sick POWs in Camp that the daily death is still about 100.  This may be a big reduction to the 500 daily deaths when my roommate Sagun died last May 16 but the living conditions - facilities, food, sanitation, flies - are still sub-human compared to Malolos POW Camp.  I was just talking with a comrade from Bayombong yesterday who was pale but not bedridden.  He died last night.  The same with another comrade from Tayabas in our building who died the other day.  Today, I discovered that those released sick POWs came from provinces whose peace and order condition are rated by the Jap Adm as having returned to normal.  And so those sick POWs remaining in Capas are from provinces still considered not peaceful or not returned to normal

 

Capt Eugenio G Lara '38 my former PMA uppie visited his classmate with us, Lt E Baltazar '38 this afternoon.  He shared with us stories of the horrors, brutalities and experiences he had during the death march.  He was Ateneo ROTC Comdt when WW II broke out and proud to tell us the gallant actions of his Ateneo ROTC boys that became a part of his Bataan Anti-Tank Co.  He introduced a young Atenean with him, Sgt Alfred X Burgos.  I will not forget the fascinating story of Lara about his CO, Maj E Cepeda USMA '32, our former PMA Comdt.  Sometime last May when 500 POWs were dying per day, he suggested to Cepeda that they escape.  According to Lara, Cepeda bawled him out that he felt so small and ashamed.  However, two days later, Lara discovered Cepeda gone - he escaped.  An hour after Capt Lara and Sgt Burgos left, my Mistah Job Mayo came to visit me and we had a long chat.  I gave him  four tablets of sulfa.

 

July 17,1942.  Yesterday morning, Cav. Maning Gomez '41, my irrepressible ExO, after coming from our Bulletin Board excitedly exclaimed, "Eureka, we will be liberated from Capas tomorrow."  I went to the BB and saw a long list of officers alerted for transfer to Camp Dau, Pampanga.  All from our Malolos Group are included in the list.

 

And so at 0800 today, we assembled with our belongings at the Camp's main gate where we  boarded trucks for Capas Railway Station.  This is a big group, all officers who all seem healthy the way they marched.  We boarded the southbound 1100 H train and debarked at Mabalacat, Pampanga RR Stn, thence transported a short distance to nearby huge former FA Training Camp Dau where we saw several cattle grazing that whetted our appetite for steak dinner.  We were systematically assigned to our respective barracks with spacious living quarters, running water and toilet facilities that made us feel like human beings again.  The food is better than Capas and we, POWs from Malolos, are very thankful we only stayed eight days in Capas.

 

The entire day is devoted to setting us up in our new place - organization and familiarization.  I learned that our group is about 1,400 not so sick POWs and the main purpose of our being here is to undergo "Rejuvination Training" starting tomorrow.  I am suspicious what this rejuvination is all about and what will happen after.  However, I am happy to see many classmates and officers I know personally with this group I had no time to locate during my short eight days in that big sprawling and frightening Capas POW Camp.

 

NOTE:  Regular posting of this Diary was interrupted by near fatal accident last July 25, 2002 and is resumed though delayed.

 

Aug. 1,1942.  Rejuvination Training for the 1,400 POW here had been going on for over two weeks now under a Japanese Adm team headed by Mr Hamamoto with his impeccable Harvard English and American knowledge that impressed us.  The majority of the POWs are definitely biased concluding that we were simply being "brainwashed."  I listened to every guest speakers and tried to understand what they were saying.  That way I can determine not "who" is right but "what" is right.  There  are many subjects discussed relevant to an independent Philippines we expected in 1946.

 

This Training will terminate in about a week and I heard we will all be asked to serve the new Phil Govt under the management of Jorge Vargas.

 

Aug. 3,1942.  The subjects discussed during the Rejuvination Training Seminar type of lectures were varied, relevant, interesting to me although dismissed by most as “brain washers.”  I wish I was able to keep records but the Japanese are so logistically poor to provide us even bare pencils and paper.  So far, so many prominent Japanese and Phil officials had spoken to us, among them were Claro M. Recto and Jose P Laurel.  Hilario Moncado and wife, Diana Toy also came to entertain us.  I noted Japanese speakers were careful not to offend the POWs even referring to us as excellent examples of Malayan soldiery the manner we fought in Bataan.  One Jap Gen said, "Being orientals, we should not have been at war.  The Americans used you as pawns.  Look at the comparatively few American POWs compared to Filipinos.  Most Americans escaped to Australia."  And one Japanese official brought the subject of discrimination, how Filipinos are only paid half what their American counterparts are getting yet they belong to same unit.  Why the Phil was only using obsolete P-26 planes while the Americans are using the new P-40.  The harshest words I heard was from a Jap General whose unit was apparently wiped out during the battle of the Points in Bataan.  He said, "Why forbear what was difficult to forbear. It would have been easier for us to subject you to wholesale extermination instead of being magnanimous now.  This, I leave to you who understand the basics of humanity."

 

The "Bamboo Mail" of Malolos operated by Judge Roldan is still operational with Mrs Cuenca as chief courier.  Today I received a letter dated last Jul 25 from my mother via the Bamboo Mail delivered by Ms Lulu Reyes from Mrs Cuenca.  The good news is Plaridel is back to normal with my uncle Jose Mariano. the elected mayor assuming leadership again.  My mother also said that she took my wife Lucy to live with her in our ancestral home in Plaridel as she is due to deliver our first child anytime now.

 

Aug. 5,1942.  When the 1,400 POW names were posted in the Camp O'Donnell BB last Jul 16, it was announced that they are comparatively the healthy survivors remaining in Capas.  The sick started being released last June 30.  This healthy group are now about to complete Rejuvination Training in Camp Dau.  Let me talk about this group as every passing day I came to know many of them for the first time..

 

When we first assembled at Capas Main Gate to leave for Camp Dau last Jul 17, everyone was on his feet marching with their bags but did not look as strong as our Malolos POW Group.  As the facilities and food at Dau was better than Capas, we all improved physically.  There were no deaths in Dau.

 

Our group represented a cross section of surviving USAFEE soldiery, all ages, cultures, military education, experiences, etc. From among senior PCA grads are Cols Claro Lizardo '15; Tomas Domaoal '17; Manuel Turingan '17; Lamberto Javalera '18: Leoncio Tan '28; Jesus Vargas '29 to contemporaries like Pelagio Cruz, Done Ojeda, P Q Molina.  Early pioneers of ROSS like Alfredo Santos, S Villa, C Barbero, L Villareal; Friedlander; fellow alumni of PMA Cl '40; 41; 42 & 43; and the unforgettable young group of Ateneo ROTC volunteers like Sgts Fred X Burgos, Ramon Pamintuan and Bagatsing under Capt E G Lara of Angono, Rizal.  From Baban of the Ibaloi  tribe to Sulo's Pulong Arpa.  Then we have this Maj E Batongmalaque '31 whose tales of experiences in Mindanao seem endless specially about his weirdo CO, the legendary Lt Canuto better known as King Canuto.

 

I was also able to have an idea of the intellectual capabilities of each group.  Early PCA grads had the equivalent of high school education with knowledge of criminal procedures and law to bring cases before the court.  They were basically police officers but are very proficient in verbal and written communication. Those with baccalaureate degrees like from PMA or ROSS have better intellectual capacities to analyze problem situations. It is here I understood what Gen Vicente Lim once said, "I will only be happy when the  Chief of Staff is a PMA graduate."

 

Nevertheless, I am very proud to be a part of this roll of USAFFE officers' - all tough survivors from  the crucible of Bataan, Death March and POW Camp O'donnell.

 

Our morale remains high and our Camaraderie is much stronger.  We can only hope and pray for happy future.

 

Aug. 10,1942.  Today is Graduation Day for all POWs that underwent the Rejuvination Training.  After a brief but impressive ceremony at the Camp Dau FA Auditorium, each of us "graduating POWs" were given our "Graduation Papers."  Our Grad Speaker said we are expected to help the new Phil Govt to be granted her independence by Japan later, in any manner we can, to make her a worthy member of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.  The most ranking Filipino official present is former Defense Sec Teofilo Sison.

 

Among my "Grad Papers" is one saying I am paroled to the Bureau of Constabulary where I am "ordered" to report at Torres High School, Gagalangin, Manila to commence Police Training on August 30,1942.  It turned out this is our day of liberation, we are now free to go home and see our family.  I have my release papers with conditions.

 

In my Malolos Group, I and M Gomez '41, my ExO are both to report for police training but the others (Lts E Baltazar, C Oanes & R Corbilla) all artillery officers are paroled to the AA Command.  My Malolos Group bade goodspeed.  I do not know how our assignments are determined but those assigned to police work are former constabulary Os like Cols Lizardo, Domaoal, Javavera, Diano, etc and they all welcomed it.  They claimed we are lucky not to be with the AA Command

 

Another vital insight I got of our training is that if the Philippines wants to be great as an indepedent maritime nation, it is to follow the example of Japan by fully developing her maritime and sea power potentials.

 

After the ceremony, most of us proceeded to Mabalacat railway station where I boarded the noon train for Manila, debarking from Malolos station at 2:00 PM, then proceeding home to Plaridel to the pleasant surprise of my family.  I found my wife, Lucy, so beautiful, happily waiting with our lovely first born daughter, Cecilia (born Aug 3rd) in her arms.  It was a most happy coming home to my beloved mother, brothers and sisters all taking care of my new family.  All my sufferings and heartaches as a POW suddenly disappeared.

 

Aug. 27,1942.  Since my release as a POW last Aug 10, I've appreciated my freedom and Jap benevolence, the only tangible among numerous rhetorics.  Our people can not forget the plunder and atrocities as slappings of civilians by Jap soldiers continue.  Filipinos remain loyal to USA.  My thoughts are with our American comrades still POWs in Cabanatuan and elsewhere for a long duration.  To date, the Japs have occupied virtually all the western Pacific area up to the approaches of Australia'

 

I doubt that even with the vaunted industrial might of America if we can be liberated in a year from now - meaning, by Aug '43.  However, our people are hopeful with all their fate in MacArthur's promise to return

 

Two days ago, the Mayor of Plaridel gave a testimonial lunch for all her USAFFE sons that survived Capas.  Gov Rustia, Judge Roldan. Mrs Cuenca and the Flor Cruz sisters all from Malolos were there that added sentimentality to the gathering.  I cited them for their invaluable assistance when we were POWs in Malolos.

 

Aug. 30,1942.  In compliance with my POW Release Paper, I reported at 1400 today at Torres High School, Gagalangin, Manila.  I found this old Manila HS is now designated by the Jap Adm as the Bureau of Constabulary Academy (BCA).  A week ago they have graduated 150 to start the BC idea to help in the peace and order situation.  They recruited from among civilian volunteer college graduates with aptitude on security.  I understand our group of POWs coming from Camp Dau number 300 and most of them are former Consbulary Os.  I know many among those already here.  As a matter of fact I already met several PMA classmates like Cabangbang and Tirona.  I expect our police Training  will be interesting in many respects.

 

We were processed, issued IDs, Training Schedules and assignment of Quarters.  Classes will be from Mon to Fri; weekends we are free and can be with our families.  Our Training will last for one month.

 

I moved my wife, Lucy, and our baby, Cecilia, from our Bulacan home to her parents Calle Tennessee house in Malate, Manila yesterday to enable me to be with them as often as possible.  My mom sent along my younger sister, Effie, to help care for Cecilia.  Lucy's Dad (Mr Richard Johnson) and sister, Helen, both US citizens are interned at UST and only step-mother, Maura, is living alone in Tennessee. Tomorrow will be my 27th anniversary so Lucy prepared a sumptuous lunch to celebrate my birthday before I reported for training today at BCA.

 

 

Sept 2,1942.  The BC Academy Classes Opening ceremonies yesterday was brief but informative with a bit of surprise.  There is a list of Sec A & Sec B dividing our class to two sections. Sec A are mostly the older group of PCA grads ages 30 and above that included Col Lizardo '15 the oldest, age 52.  Sec B mostly PMA grads ages 30 and below.  In the first formation we had, the BCA Kempeitai Tactical O formed us to two sections and to my surprise, that Tac O is Lt Fukushima our captor at Hagonoy Coast during our attempt to escape after the fall of Bataan responsible for our being Malolos POWs.  Then he called my name to step forward announcing I will be Sec A Marcher.  Minutes later, after I told him Gomez is also around, he called my ExO, Lt M Gomez '41 announcing he would be Sec B Marcher.  I wonder what my classmates were thinking about our being singled out but apparently, the rapport, friendship and mutual respect we had with Lt Fukushima counted with him.  I told Gomez not to make any comments whatsoever re: our promotion to Marchers as I will take care of it.

 

Among the VIPs in the ceremony are Gen Jose delos Reyes '05 BC Dir with his staff Col J Guido '20, Int O & Maj P Jaminola, Adm O.  Col A Natividad '16 BCA Comdt and Kempeitai Supervisors Maj Suguiyama & Lt Fukushima.  The keynote speaker stressed the importance of peace and order to the prosperity and traquility of our people to return to normal lives.'  It is expected that after our class graduates, all provinces will have their respective constabulary commands as majority of the current students are former PC officers.

 

The subjects scheduled are mostly concerning police officers duties unlike the varied subjects we took at PMA.  Subjects like criminal law, procedure and investigation; Relations with Prov & Mun officials; Mess Management; Company Management; Accountability; Recurring Reports; Patrols; will be easy review courses for PMA grads.  I do not know how the old fogies will fare.

 

Sept 4,1942.  Yesterday PM, Lt Gomez & I were given special instructions on Japanese drill commands preparatory to our close order drill sked this PM.  By this time we have been exposed to the Japanese anthem "Kimigayo" every morning and many Japanese common terms like  "Ohayo", "Ikaga desu ka" and "katakana".  Aside from Cabangbang and Tirona mentioned earlier, my other PMA classmates in this present class are Escobar, Javier, Piccio & Rodriguez and together with our underclassmen of '41, '42 & '43 in this class, are elated in my being Sec Marcher.  However, there are skeptics that have negative comments and I told Gomez not to comment, to let the gossips run its course,

 

At 1430 today, our class was transported to Luneta Park for Close Order Drill.  After the Section are assembled to start drill, I walked to where our Tac O, Lt Fukushima is and addressed the class:  "Comrades, I would like to let everyone know my admiration on Lt Fukushima.  He was responsible for the capture of my OSP crew in Manila Bay after the Fall of Bataan.  He treated us well and made us Malolos POWs".

 

His ego titilated, Fukushima asked the class to form a circle around him, then started drawing diagrams on the ground describing how his two patrol boats tracked Q-112's escape towards Hagonoy coast till it disappeared after scuttling and later finding our group of 20 to be captured by him.  It took him about half an hour to tell his story that shortened our drill which was just to familiarize everyone of the Japanese commands like Kiotsky (Attention); Wakare-Atsumare (Fall Out and Reform; etc.  And for the first time, our classmates realized how Lt Gomez and I were made Section Marchers and the malicious gossips about us disappeared.

 

Today being a Friday, we are all looking forward for this weekend to be with our families.

 

Sept. 7,1942.  I enjoyed my weekend with my family at Tenneessee St, Malate and my visit at UST where my father in law, Richard, and sister in law, Helen, both US citizens are interned with virtually what used to be the American community of Manila.  Because my wife has close contact with Mrs Lulu Navarrete, I was able to visit my former Sqdn Comdr & CO, Q-111 in his secret hideout in Sampaloc.  Q-111 was intercepted by enemy destroyers during our attempt to escape to Panay last Apr 9 and although Q-111 was captured, the crew managed to escape to Batangas. Navarrete '35 is still recovering from malaria.  He recounted that they stayed for a week in the hinterlands of Batangas before going their separate ways.

 

The sad part of his story is that Chief Wm Mooney, our chief Torpedoman who was with him and helped pioneer the OSP since 1940 died of dysentery in a lonely hut in Batangas.  Maj E Jurado USNA'34 OSP Chief is recuperating and hiding in a Batangas town with Danday's relatives. Lt Alano '40 managed to get a boat ride home to Bohol.  Lt M S Castillo USNA '38 and Lt A C Campo USNA '40 are with their families in QC.  Navarrete also told me that Q-113 managed to escape in the Navotas area late last April and the crew are all hiding with their families.  Lt Nuval '38 CO Q-113 is reportedly in La Union while his ExO, Lt L Picar '40 is somewhere in Singalong.

 

From the way I see it, my OSP comrades who are able to escape are now living like fugitives as all unsurrendered USAFFE personnel are in the wanted list of the Japanese.  Our status with the BCA appears better - we are not in hiding and we are at peace with ourselves.

 

Sept 11,1942.  BCA Academics are progressing smoothly.  However, every passing day I come to know my classmates individually that today I can say I know all of them.  It can be recalled this group started with that 1,400 "not sick"  survivor POWs from Capas released and transferred to Camp Dau for Rejuvination Trng last Jul 17.  I knew more than half of them as my former associates and underclassmen at PMA.  From this group 300 of us were sent to BCA and since our class started, I came to know those I did not know before, mostly senior PCA grads.

 

Among the Sr PCA grads are Cols Lizardo '15 Regmtl Comdr 41st Div, much decorated in Bataan; Col Tomas Domaol '17 C/S 41st Div of Gen Lim; Cols Turingan '17, Javalera '17; Magsino & Diano '19  Front Line Bn Comdrs; Majs Fidel Cruz '27, Francisco Luna '28, Leoncio Tan '28 brilliant Div Staff Os.  Then we have Maj Batongmalaque '31 a Bn Comdr under Gen Capinpin with his tales about his former CO, the legendary Capt Canuto, better known as King "Canute."  Then we also have two bright combat lawyers, Lts Amado Aleta and Francisco Bautista who earned decorations in Bataan for gallantry in action.  Lt Bautista was also the Captain Ball of the Phil Olympic Basketball Team of 1936 that won 2nd place for our country next to the US.  We also have my former PMA mentors Capts  Alfredo Santos, D Ojeda, S Villa and E Duque.  Of course my classmates, Cabangbang, Tirona, Piccio, Escobar, Javier and Rodriguez.  Then my underclassmen from '41, '42, & '43.

 

In the battlefields, the group earned more than 300 DSC, SS, BS, Purple Hearts with many having multiple awards.  This is an awesome group that fascinates me no end.  I am privileged to be a member of this group, indeed.

 

Sept. 18,1942.  It is my impression that, since majority of the members of our class are PCA graduates and former Constabulary Os, we are generally in favor to serve as police officers to help preserve traquility for the welfare of our people to help them resume normal lives.  Like the provincial and municipal elective officials of Bulacan who are collaborating with the Japanese Adm, their situation had virtually returned to normal with minimum interference from the Jap Adm.  The fact is at the end of May 1942, the Japanese guards at Malolos POW Camp turned over their duties to the Prov Sheriff and shortly after public schools opened.  Unlike in Iloilo province where the elective officials headed by Gov Tomas Confesor refused to collaborate (branding collaborators as traitors) the Japanese appointed Dr Caram as governor and a new set of mayors to serve sending thousands of troops to maintain order in Iloilo.

 

Today I learned of some undercurrents among a few members of the class that are not willing to serve in the BC.  This group is led by Maj Romulo Villaflor, an artillery officer and his followers are non-PCA grads.  What they are trying to do is to fail intentionally the course and like at PMA, be dismissed and not graduate.  I commented to Maj Villaflor that the Japanese has a strange sense of humor and may not follow what they expected and return them to Capas.  Apparently, he did not believe me.

 

Sept 28,1942.  Today is Graduation Day at BCA and all that passed the course were announced  and given commissions as police officers with ranks from 5th Class Inspectors (Lts), 4th Cl Insp (Capts), 3rd Cl Insp (Majs) & 2nd Cl Insp (LCols).  Majoriy are 5th Cl Insp and I am one of them.  Those that failed and expected to be dismissed are given appointment as NCOs, thus to Sgts are Maj Romulo Villaflor, Lt J Artillaga '41, Lt A Astete '42, Virgilio Danao '42, to Cpls Lt Nicolas Camello, Lt Jose Fernandez and Lt Marcos Simpao.  They failed intentionally thinking that BCA will be like PMA, dismissal.

 

Our orders of assignments also came out and to my dismay, I am assigned to the province of Lanao with Insp Tomas Domaoal as my Sr Insp with Insp Francisco Bautista, a lawyer.  I was expecting assignment in the Tagalog provinces but never in this land of juramentados.  I was very upset and my blood was boiling but kept it all to myself.  My classmate Joe Javier is assigned to Jolo and seems not bothered about it.  I have to think deliberately and wisely on how I can avoid going to Lanao.  Maj E Batongmalaque is assigned to Davao and happy about it. My classmates Cabangbang and Piccio are looking forward to their new assignment in Cebu

 

Oct. 1,1942.  Yesterday morning, upon learning the ship that will take us, the newly commissioned BC officers to their  assignments in Visayas and Mindanao will leave Manila in four days, I decided to enter San Lazaro Hospital.  My cousin, Dr A D Lipana UST '27 has a classmate who is an official at the hospital and was able to make arrangements that I be admitted as emergency patient ostensibly suffering from severe malaria.  This way, I thought I will miss the ship and my Lanao assignment.

 

At 0800 this morning, an ambulance from the hospital took me from my Tennessee residence in Malate and effective today, I am a patient at San Lazaro Hospital "suffering from severe malaria duly recorded with high fever".

 

I sent a letter to BC Hq, copy furnished my friend Lt Fukushima, about my hospitalization. I also requested my cousin to make sure the documentation of my hospitalization and illness are complete for any future investigation.

 

Oct. 7,1942.  Maj Suguiyama, the Japanese kempeitai supervisor of BCA, sent an investigator to San Lazaro Hospital to find out details of my hospitalization.  Apparently, he learned I was unable to take my ship to Lanao that left three days ago (Oct 4).  The hospital furnished all the documents about my case from the time I was admitted Oct. 1 to the present.  In my own testimony, I said I had a severe recurrence of malaria with high fever early morning of Oct 1 when the ambulance of San Lazaro Hospital came to my rescue.  At present, my malaria attacks are subsiding and perhaps in a week, the hospital can release me.  The investigator who seemed sympathetic to me confided that Maj Suguiyama is furious and if it can be proven I was malingering, he will send me to Fort Santiago as an example.  I can only have my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.

 

Oct. 11, 1942.  Being a Sunday today, I got a special half day evening pass starting 1500H  from the San Lazaro Hospital to visit my sick wife with the provision that I will return immediately should there be a surprise check by BC Hq.  Providentially, after alighting from my bus at Taft Ave corner Tennessee St, walking eastward towards where my wife resides, I was surprised to see Maj Manuel P Enriquez (Manolo) our Tactical O at PMA, walking in opposite direction near Colorado St corner.  Manolo seems surprised too to see me and since my wife's residence is only a block away, I invited him to come with me for a private talk.

 

I knew Maj Enriquez is not supposed to be in Manila as he is the  ExO of LCol G Nakar of the 14th Inf Guerillas in Cagayan Valley.  After arriving home and finding my wife's fever had subsided, Manolo and I secluded ourselves in a private room.  Maj Enriquez told me he is on a secret mission for the 14th Inf.  I told him I was paroled to the BC and my predicament is that I refused to go to my assignment in Lanao.  He claimed to have a man at BC Hq named Maj Pedro Jaminola.  Manolo then asked me, "If I can have you assigned in N. Vizcaya where my units are, are you willing to work with us?"  Without hesitation I answered in the affirmative.  He said he will contact Maj Jaminola accordingly and that he will be in touch with me later after he got my wife's address and phone number.  With that understanding, Manolo left.  I am very hopeful that Maj Enriquez can do something to help me out of my predicament.  Meantime, I stayed with my wife who felt much better by midnight when I returned to the hospital as if nothing happened.

 

Oct. 16,1942.  Yesterday my wife received a coded note at our Tennessee St residence from Maj Enriquez which, in effect, stated that he was able to contact his man at BC Hq and for me to prepare for the "good news."  He also stated that when I get the note he will be back to his unit but that I will hear from him later.  And so today, I requested San Lazaro Hospital to release me from the sick list as I "have recovered completely from my malaria".

 

At 1000H today, I left the hospital, went home and reported to BC Hq at 1500H. The Adm O directed me to the Misc Casual Gp with instructions to report every morning. This Gp is composed of BC officers  waiting to proceed to their new stations. I wonder if I still have to proceed to my original Lanao assignment otherwise I may be back at the hospital if there ever is a ship for me.

 

Oct 23,1942.  Since my release from the hospital more than a week ago, I have been reporting  daily to Misc Gp, BC Hq commuting between our Tennessee home and BC Hq.  Am still apprehensive about the result of the investigation ordered by Maj Suguiyama about my failure to report to my designated station, Lanao.  Today, I got the good news apparently clearing me.  The hospital records and my written testimony proved the validity of my hospitalization.  I also understand Lt Fukushima believed my malaria story.

 

Today, BC Hq issued orders rescinding my Lanao assignment. In another paragraph of the order, I am assigned to BC, Bayombong, N. Vizcaya with orders to proceed thereat on first available transportation. It is apparent that Maj Enriquez has a man at BC Hq with this development.

 

Oct. 27,1942.  My San Lazaro Hospital maligering helped me escape that Mindanao assignment and in the process, my providential contact with my former PMA mentor Maj Mauel P Enriquez, ExO 14t Inf Guerillas of LCol G Nakar, made possible my new assignment in Bayombong, N Vizcaya.  I look forward to going to my new post, specially what Maj Enriquez has in store for me.  I plan to go to  Bayombong alone leaving my family in Manila to adjust to my new environs but my problem is transportation.  It is a problem nationwide.  There are no public transportation anywhere since the Japanese occupation.

 

Last night, a man visited me at home with a note of introduction from Maj Enriquez saying that bearer, Pablo Naval, is his man from N Vizcaya that may be of help.  With regards to transportation, Mr Naval confirmed no public transportation but only private business traders using trucks are available going to Cagayan Valley.  And so today, Mr Naval accompanied me to Azcarraga St and helped me book with Mr Go Beng, a chinese merchant leaving Manila Nov 3 arriving Bayombong Nov 4.  Mr Naval also suggested that I check in Bayombong Hotel on my arrival there as he will make reservations for me when he returns by the end of the month.  Now that my transportation problem is solved, I started preparing for my journey to Cagayan Valley where the 14th Infantry is operating.  Before Mr Naval departed I asked him if  it is possible I could meet Maj Enriquez Nov 4 or 5, or before I report to the Senior Inspector, BC in Bayombong who does not know my arrival date.

 

Nov 5,1942.  Go Beng's Truck came to pick me up at 0830 three days ago (Nov 3) at my Tennessee residence for my trip to N. Vizcaya.  It was a pleasant surprise to see Mr Go Beng himself who told me he was going to Tuguegarao.  Before bidding my wife goodbye I introduced her to Mr Go Beng, then started our trip with me seated in the front seat with Mr Go Beng and the driver.  There were five other passengers accommodated with the merchandise area.  I developed a good rapport with Mr Go Beng who owns six trucks trading merchandise from Manila to Cagayan Valley.  Trucks like he has are rare with shortage of fuel and travel very slow with the mixture of alcohol and gasoline as fuel.  We finally arrived in San Jose, N Ecija (after a short stop in Cabanatuan for lunch) at 5:00 P.M. or eight hours that normally only takes four.  We stayed overnight in San Jose and early the following day, Nov 4, we were climbing the rugged Cordillera Mt  towards Santa Fe, the first town of Vizcaya.  The area we just passed is an excellent place for ambuscade, reason for not traveling at night.  We then passed the town of Aritao and had lunch in Bambang after which we proceeded to Bayombong arriving at Bayombong Hotel at 1400H.

 

While checking at the hotel, the Manager, Mr Verzosa, handed me a note from Lt Col (not Major anymore) Manuel Enriquez that he wanted to see me ASAP.  I have an excellent accommodation and at 1700H, Pablo Naval knocked at my door and once inside, told me the bad news that LCol Nakar and his men were captured by the Japanese at Jones, Isabela area and that LCol Enriquez took over the command while the rest of the units are on the run.  Naval told me that Enriquez wanted to see me ASAP and since he knows where he is, I agreed to go as soon as it gets dark.  He had a caretela ready and took off towards Solano as soon as dusk fell.  At barrio Bonfal, we debarked, walked about two kms westward and arrived at the place where I will meet Enriquez.  It is 9:00pm and I waited another half hour at this place which is at the foot of the mountain, where a group of men that included Enriquez arrived.

 

Manolo Enriquez was excited and embraced me like a long lost brother.  Needless to say I was very happy and grateful.  He then introduced me as Major Alcaraz, handing me my appointment with the 14th Inf.  He said it was unfortunate Col Nakar was captured but we have to carry on the mission.  I was to Command the new N. Vizcaya Bn to compose the company under Capt Guillermo Aban and the company under Capt Fernando Asuncion together with the BC Company.  Capts Aban and Asuncion were introduced to me and then we moved to another room for confidential intructions and info that include the fact that the 14th Inf is on the run, the need for secrecy discipline and that he is moving his Hq to Baguio area.  I demanded that there be no written communications, that messages between him and me would be transmitted vervatim by an intelligent loyal courier for which Pablo Naval was agreed upon.  It was also agreed that our initial activities are to lay low, organize and collect intelligence while I familiarize myself with the people and terrain of N. Vizcaya.

 

I stayed the entire evening catching up events with LCol Enriquez as we slept on adjacent cots.  He told me he will inform other unit Comdrs in the Field like Maj. Romulo Manriquez, Capt Patricio Dumlao and Lt Luis Casumpang about me and the new Bn I will command.  He also mentioned that Don Juan Elizalde is our Financial Supporter and that other associates like Col Alfredo Ramirez and Capt Juan Calvo may contact me later.

 

Early this morning, after breakfast, Pablo Naval escored me back to barrio Bonfal where the caretela was waitng and I went back alone to Bayombong Hotel. After lunch, I dressed up with my BC uniform as 5th Class Inspector, and reported to Hq, BC Bayombong whose Senior Inspector  Antonio C Diano '19  is so happy to welcome me.  I found that we have a BC Company composed mostly of former PA and Phil Scout soldiers many of whom are Bataan veterans.  I  like my assignment here specially the temperate climate like Baguio. My reporting formally to this BC post makes my written obligations signed as a POW fulfilled.  I feel free again!

 

Nov. 8,1942.  When I reported to my new BC post three days ago (Nov 5), needless to say N Vizcaya BC Sr Inspector Antonio C Diano '19 my superior and BCA classmate, was so happy to welcome me at his office where we had a private conversation.  He knew my Lanao assignment but I have to tell my "malaria story" that allowed me to escape from reporting there but said nothing on how I was sent to Bayombong.  He briefed me about our BC Co and expressed his desire that I relieve the present CO (Insp M Alvarez) who belongs to the first BCA graduates and no previous military experience.  He commented that we are lucky to be assigned to a sparsely populated province with a temperate climate like Baguio whose peace and order is manageable now that the guerrillas are on the run since the capture of Col Nakar '32 and death of Capt Agustin Prudenciado '33.

 

Nov. 6, a Friday, Sr Inspector Diano accompanied me to the offices of the provincial officials and introduced me to the provincial governor Demetrio Quirino, Prov Fiscal Atty Madarang and Judge of the Court of 1st Instance, Nicanor Roxas and the Mayor of Bayombong, Victor Bobila, who happened to be there.  This serves as my courtesy call also on them and I was welcomed warmly by everyone.  Sr Insp Diano, however, warned me to be careful of all of them as they are appointed by the Japanese administration whose loyalty is uncertain, great remarks by a USAFFE comrade I shall remember.

 

Nov. 7 is a Saturday and I formally took command of 1st N Vizcaya BC Co from 5" Cl Insp M Alvarez.  I conducted Saturday Inspection of the Co and took my lunch at the Company Mess with the EM.  After lunch, I gave a few remarks regarding services for our people during our present trying time.  Our BC Company occupies the former St Mary's High School with spacious buildings and parade grounds.

 

I am still staying in Bayombong Hotel but am looking for a house to rent.  Today, being a Sunday, I went to Church to thank my Divinor for All His Blessings and Guidance in being safe here.  After Mass, I met the Parish Priest Fr Lambreth, a Belgian who is outspokenly pro-American after learning I am a USAFFE Officer who saw action in Bataan and was a POW.

 

Nov. 10,1942.  This morning, I made a courtesy call on the N Vizcaya Kempei-tai Chief, Lt Kumatsusaki at his office.  I was warmly received knowing we are expected to work together om peace and order.  When I asked him if he knew Maj Suguiyama and Lt Fukushima, he said he worked with both of them before specially Fukushima.  Our rapport became better after I said Lt Fukushima is my friend.  I then asked him what problems we have on peace and order and he said since the capture of Col Nakar '32 in Isabela, head of the Grla Gp operating in Cagayan Valley, and the death of Capt Agustin Prudenciado '33, peace and order have improved as the Grlas have disbanded.  However, he mentioned remnants under certain Lts Quines, Dumlao. Dela Cruz, and Navarro probably under Major Enriquez in his list.  He also mentioned three American officers  namely Cols Moses & Noble as well as Capt Ralph Praeger with another group in his wanted list.  I said I am new in the area and don't know anything but appreciated all the info he gave me.  I assured him of my cooperation for the sake of peace and order for our people, with the hope that we can work together closely by exchanging information.  Finally, when I asked Lt Kumatsusaki who is the overall boss of the Kempei-tai to whom he reports, he said he is Col Akiro Nagahama whose Hq is in Manila.

 

I noted that the Kempei-tai office in Bayombong has only three uniformed military and the five others I met were civilian Japanese men who probably lived in the Phil before as they can speak Ilocano and Tagalog.  They were all formally introduced to me by Lt Kumatsusaki.

 

Nov. 12,1942.  Today I checked out from Bayombong Hotel and transferred as a boarder with Mrs Maria Reyes who operates a Restaurant adjacent to BC Compound.  The Reyes Bldg is a large two storey one with the Restaurant on the first floor and the second floor a Clubhouse with three rooms for rent. Mrs Reyes hails from N Ecija, I love her Tagalog food and her place is very near my office.  The Clubhouse serves as the Hq of the Lions Club and rentable for social affairs.

 

Last night, I was invited by Belgian Fr Lambreth for dinner at his Parish residence.. As mentioned before, after he learned I am a USAFFE  O  who saw action in Bataan, he manifested his hatred on the Japanese due to their cruelty. After dinner, he showed me his hidden short wave radio and listened to a news broadcast from a station in San Francisco that narrated gains of the Marines and the US Navy in Solomons area. The Allies are also reported gaining in the African Front. At one point, Gen MacArthur's Hq adviced the Guerrillas in the Phil to lay low and just concentrate on training and on gathering of intelligence info. This is no time for combat due to lack of firearms and ammo which can not be supplied yet, it added. Possession of short wave radios are prohibited by the Japanese as they do not want the people to know foreign news. Those with short wave radios are risking their lives.

 

Nov 16,1942.  Since my arrival in Bayombong, I started familiariazing myself with the town area and people.  I visited all sectors and met many families such as the Madellas, Mendozas, Zuraeks, Gonongs, Prudenciado-Lozano, Reyeses aside from the provincial and municipal officials appointed by the Japanese Adm.  The peace and order appears artificial as the people live in fear of the Japanese that committed atrocities during the early part of the occupation.  I can gauge their  true feelings from the Madellas I gained rapport as one of the members of the family I knew  lived in Malolos, Bulacan when I was in high school.

 

With permission from my Sr Inspector, I began familiarizing myself with other towns.  There are only seven towns in N Vizcaya and last Nov 13, I went to Bagabag town accompanied by two NCOs.  Bagabag is the northern most town, met the town officials and police chief who briefed me on peace and order. In the afternoon, I visited barrio Paniqui where Capt Guillermo Aban is waiting.  I conferred with him in private reminding him to keep control of the members of his company while laying low and to keep the 15 firearms secured under his personal care.  He gave me a roster of his troops totaling 55.  I am impressed with barrio Paniqui and the people's attitude

 

The following day, Nov 14, I visited Solano town, met the town officials and had a briefing by the Polie Chief.  Then I visited remote barrio Ibung at the foot of Cordillera Mt where Capt Fernando Asuncion and Cpl Pablo Naval were waiting.  I was specially happy to see Naval to know that he belongs to Capt Asuncion's Co with the rank of Cpl.  I adviced them in private to be careful, that they are lucky not to be in the Watch List of the Kempei-Tai and to facilitate their contact with me, I will appoint them BC Special Agents by the end of the month.  Capt Asuncion furnished me also a roster of his troops totaling 53 with twenty firearms hidden at the foot of the Mt. I reminded them to lay low, keep control of the troops and gather intelligence to be reported by Naval verbally, nothing in writing.

 

Yesterday, Nov 15, I spent the whole day in Bambang town and today, in Dupax to meet their town officials and briefings by their Police Chiefs.  It also serves as my courtesy call on them which was appreciated.  After visiting five of the seven towns of N Vizcaya and observing the peace and order conditions, I am beginning to think this place is much better place to reside at present than Manila or Bulacan.  I ,therefore, requested Mrs Reyes to help me find a house I can rent to bring my family in Bayombong before Christmas.

 

Nov. 20,1942.  Yesterday I visited the town of Aritao, hometown of Cpl R Salazar one of my BC escorts and met the town officials including the Chief of Police who briefed me on the peace and order situation.  They were all happy to receive me.  The Mayor tendered a dinner for me and we stayed overnight at Cpl Salazar's spacious family residence.  I learned that the 14th Inf Grlas was initially organized in this town in Jan 1942 from units of the  11th and 71st Divs, USAFFE, that retreated here after superior Japanese landings in Lingayen Gulf and could not make it to Bataan.

 

Early today we went to the strategic town of Santa Fe and met the town officials.  This town is the northern most town where Balete Pass is located and acts as a cork to a bottle.  Access to this province is controlled here.  The Chief of Police and the Mayor briefed me of the apparent peaceful situation.  In my remarks I always stressed faithful service for our people and the importance of peace and order to normal life.

 

By early evening I arrived back in Bayombong, happy to have completed my reconnaissance visits to all N. Vizcaya towns.  I am pleased to have met all the officials I have to work with.  I am, more or less, impressed with the province and the people which made me decide to bring my family to Bayombong as soon as I can.

 

Nov. 24,1942.  With the concurrence of my BC Sr Inspector, I formed an Intelligence Unit initially composed of BC Sgt Norberto Aquino (Nautical School Grad), Guillermo Aban, Fernando Asuncion & Pablo Naval.  Aban, Asuncion & Naval are key members of the underground 14th Inf, considered civilian informers I issued official I.D. Cards to facilitate our contacts. Sgt Aquino is my close confidant but does not know the three civilian informers are underground members.

 

Today, Lt Leandro Rosario paid me a courtesy call telling me he is a surrendered former Intelligence O of LCol Nakar 14th Inf, now working with Gov. Demetrio Quirino with a group that were former GANAP followers of Benigno Ramos an anti-govt subversives during the Commonwealth years.  Lt Rosario said he and his group are working for peace and order and wants to coordinate with the BC.

 

Yesterday, Mrs Reyes found a house of the Sadang family available by Dec. 15 for rent. I found the house spacious with three bedrooms, big sala and dining room so I signed a month to month lease at P35.00 per month.  The house is only a block from my office, in an excellent neighborhood in front of the governor's residence.

 

Nov. 26,1942.  This morning I gave SA (Sp Agent) Pablo Naval his first mission to contact LCol Enriquez with following msg: "That I have visited all towns and met their officials; Aban, Asuncion & Naval have SA IDs; Units under control but laying low.  I will be in Manila to get my family first week Dec to transfer them to Bayombong.  While in Manila I would like to contact other associates, if possible.  Peace and order good.  Situation looks good". As msg is not in writing for security reason, I required Naval to repeat the msg verbally and to my satisfaction he did it verbatim to my surprise.  I am happy Naval is very intelligent and a safe courier.

 

This afternoon, Lt Leandro Rosario,a surrendered Int O of Nakar, visited me  with interesting revelations.  That there are a few American POWs still in the local Japanese Army garrison who helped in the surrender  campaign of guerrillas led by LCol Theodore Kalakuka, emissary of Gen Wainwright; LCol E. Warner; Capt Arnold A Warning;  Lt Albert Ziegler; Lt Hurley Hieb. Rosario said Warner surrendered to Kalakuka; but Warner was responsible for the capture of Nakar in Jones, Isabela with the help of the Chief of Police of Jones who earned P1,000.00 cash reward from the Japs.  However, last Oct 31, Kalakuka died of cerebral malaria and buried at Bayombong Catholic Cemetery according to Rosario.  Lt Ziegler also died four days after my arrival in Bayombong due to dysentery. Lt Rosario claims that LCol Warner is also very sick with malaria.

 

Nov. 30,1042.  Since I reported to my post as BC Inspector, peace and order in Vizcaya have been good which makes my job easy.  The BC have peacetime routine sending  patrols to outlaying barrios to contact our people for us to know how they feel - they do not like the Japanese.  The present condition is brought by the surrender or capture of guerrilla leaders like LCols Warner and Nakar plus specific instructions from Gen MacArthur for the guerrillas to lay law.  LCol Enriquez, who took command after the capture of Nakar, moved out of the province after my arrival leaving me two of his companies that are laying low.

 

The Guerrilla Idea originally came from USAFFE Hq in Corregidor that when Gen MacArthur and party escaped Corregidor via PT Boats last March 11, at the same night, Q-113 under Lt S Nuval transported a special US Army Commando to inaugurate guerrilla operations landing them at Zambales Coast.  They found their way to Mt Pinatubo where LCol C Thorpe, Capt B Anderson and Lt R Lapham established their Hq to recruit natives.  After the surrender, Bataan escapees like Maj Moses & Noble, Capt R Volckman & D Blackburn of the 11th Div managed to organize guerrilla units among the Igorots in Mt Province. Two other Bataan escapees, Capt Joe Barker and Lt Edwin Ramsey of the 26th Cav ended up in Western Bulacan where they met another escapee, Capt Alejo Santos of the 31st Div. Later, Ramsey went to Pangasinan where he organized his unit.   All these guerrilla organizations were going on quietly all over the entire country and the many hundred recruits voluntarily joining is an indication on how the people feel against  the Japanese.  After organizing, the units went on secret training waiting for further developments.

 

 

December 3,1942.  Through the BC Check Point in Bayombong, I learned that Mr Go Beng's truck enroute to Isabela will sleep in Bayombong evening Dec 7 on return trip to Manila.  I made arrangements to board that truck Dec 8 for Manila to get my family which I have alerted a week ago that our house to be rented will be ready and available on Dec 16.

 

On the subject of check points, the Constabulary (BC) of Vizcaya maintains three check points namely (1) Balete Pass in Santa Fe that controls the entrance to the province; (2) Bayombong where BC Hq is and (3) Bagabag the northernmost town.  The main purpose of a check points is to check all civilian vehicles for unauthorized firearms, subversive elements and other items listed from time to time that may be inimical to peace and order.

 

December 10,1942.  In  accordance with my plan and with the approval of my Senior Inspector, I boarded Mr Go Beng's Truck for Manila 2 days ago (Dec 8) to get my family in Manila arriving yesterday noon at our Tennessee Residence.  Mr Go Beng told me their next truck going to Cagayan Valley will leave Manila Dec. 15 and he agreed to accommodate my family going to Bayombong.  Needless to say my wife, Lucy, was so happy to see me back with the good news that she is coming with me Dec 15 with Baby Cecilia now a big baby at four months.  Needless to say it was a happy homecoming after an absence of more than a month.

 

Upon my arrival yesterday, my wife gave me a note from SA Pablo Naval requesting me to call him at a certain phone number when I arrived which I did.

 

This morning, I got a surprise phone call from Ms Lulu Reyes inviting me to a stag dinner come Saturday Dec.12 which I accepted.  I knew Lulu since I was a cadet at PMA as she was a prominent socialite.  Now she is a social worker working with Mrs Josefa L Escoda helping former POWs.  Her Malate house is only a few blocks away.  Since I have not seen Lulu for some time, I am eager to attend her dinner wondering how she knew my presence in Manila and my phone number.

 

December 13,1942.  After Miss Lulu Reyes phoned me the other day about dinner last night, I was curious and intrigued about it - I've not seen her more than two years, how did she know my phone and presence in Manila.  What intrigued me more was when she cautioned me that the stag affair was a confidential surprise.  I was to be there at 6:00PM last night but I came 20 minutes late.  Lulu greeted me warmly and led me to a dimly lighted room where her guests were having cocktails.  After I got my drink (scotch & water).  Miss Reyes started to introduce me but to my surprise, LCol Manolo Enriquez, (CO 14th Grla Inf who replaced LCol Nakar) my grla boss, took over from Lulu to make a few remarks saying I am Maj Alcaraz, now the senior officer in command of all 14th Inf Gra Units laying low in N Vzcaya.  He added that I am the Asst Senior Inspector of the Constabulary, N Viz and my assignment was arranged by him through his contact with BC Hq which made me a double agent.

 

Manolo then introduced me to Don Juan Elizalde of the wealthy members of Elizalde family in Manila; Captain Juan Calvo, famous Spanish aviator who made the first solo flight from Manila to Madrid: and Col Alfredo Ramirez '14 former UST ROTC Comdt - all three as his associates in the undergground movement.  I also noted the presence of my SA Pablo Naval sitting quietly.  Manolo made many favorable remarks about our comradeship since PMA days and that knowing each other can facilitate our future operation.  After I was requested to make a few remarks, I said it was a privilege knowing and working with such a distinguished group.  I reiterated, however, my understanding with Col Enriquez, that to insure security, I am not making anything in writing which to me means death warrant, but all my messages - reports, requests, vital info - will be transmitted verbally by my trusted courier, SA Pablo Naval, who I asked to be recognized.  We have been using that system successfully for more than a month now with Col Enriquez, I added .

 

Apparently, this gathering was the idea of Col Enriquez, a good friend of Lulu way back during our PMA days.  It was Enriquez who informed Lulu about my phone and presence in Manila.  Lulu still looks beautiful but frankly, I was very uncomfortable with this anti-Japanese Group.  Even if Enriquez is the only one in the Japanese wanted list, holding a  social like this is dangerous, specially after learning that my classmate, Capt Ed Navarro, an associate of Enriquez is now at Ft Santiago.

 

We had a sumptous dinner as I was seated between Mr Elizalde and Capt Calvo.  I complimented Mr Elizalde for his courage and patriotism and as a generous response, he told me he is allocating a P2,000.00 per month donation to our intelligence funds to help the transportation expenses of SA Pablo Naval.  This is a great help as we do not have funds for Naval.  Later, Mr Elizalde and Mr Naval talked lengthily on how the donation will be remitted to my office and the location in Manila Naval can contact Elizalde.

 

The gathering terminated 10:00PM without incident.  I was apprehensive all the time expecting something untoward may happen - that the Kempei-Tai will barge in to arreest all of us.  After telling Lulu my fears, she revealed that she had an  escape  plan for Manolo who is the only one in the wanted list.  Before I departed, I commended Lulu for her bravery and patriotism, likening her to Joan of Arc.

 

December 19,1942.  Yesterday  I found Lulu's stag dinner was LCol Manolo Enriquez idea as  Manolo and I were real friends of Lulu during my PMA days when Manolo was my mentor.  But it was a risky gathering in Manila where Kempei-Tai Hq is.  I hope I will not find myself in future similar situation.  In any case, according to previous arrangements, Mr Go Beng and his truck picked me and my family at Tennessee St early morning four days ago (Dec 15) to transfer to Bayombong.  My family includes my wife, Lucy, baby Cecilia 4 1/2 months old and my 14 year old sister, Effie.  Lucy and Effie are so excited to live with me in Bayombong after hearing about the Baguio like climate of Vizcaya.  It was a rough two-days truck voyage sleeping overnight in San Jose, N. Ecija but we finally arrived in Bayombong about 1400 Dec. 16.  Mrs Reyes did an excellent job preparing our newly rented house Lucy and Effie both love at first sight.

 

I reported back for duty Dec 17 and I left my wife and sister settle in our new house which is only a block away.  Today  the Reyes, Mendoza, Madella, Zuraek, Lozano and Prudenciado families who are our new neighbors gave us a surprise welcome party at Mrs Reyes residence across the street.  My family is so happy to meet our new neighbors who are so warm and friendly.

 

December 25,1942.  Halleluyah, we are spending our first  Christmas in two years quietly and frugally as dictated by the time.  Last night we heard midnight mass by Belgian Fr Lambretch at Bayombong Church overflowing.  Today, with the economy going from bad to worst, at least we have a semblance of Xmas minus the usual gifts.  Even prime commodities are getting scarcer and expensive as the Japanese occupation forces are living on the land, none coming from Japan or abroad.  They get priority on supply of foodstuff and other prime commodities.

 

As I looked back, Christmas 1941 did not exist for us USAFFE members who were on the run then.  The alert orders for the Q-Boats to proceed to Lingayen was changed Dec 24,1941 to escort SS Mayon in evacuating the seat of government led by Pres M Quezon and High Commissioner F Sayre from Manila to Corregidor.  Gen MacArthur declared Manila an Open City with USAFFE Hq and USN 16th Naval District also transferring to Corregidor.  The Japanese forces had landed in Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay three days ago and War Plan Orange was ordered, that all troops retreat to Bataan.  The US Asiatic Fleet abandoned us leaving our naval defense to nine Motor Torpedo Boats (3 Phil Q-Boats and 6 US PT Boats).  Our Q-Boats were occupied with the transfer of seat of govt for a week.  Christmas 1941 went unnoticed.  At least we have Christmas 1942 and hope we will celebrate a better Christmas 1943.  We can only hope and pray for better days to come.

1943

 

January 4,1943.  Today we got S.O, BC Hq, relieving Sr Insp Antonio C Diano '19, Trfd BC Hq Manila.  I am designated Actg Sr Insp effective this date. (The Senior Inspector Post is what was known as PC Prov Comdr before).  As Actg Sr Insp, I made courtesy calls on the Governor, Chief of local Kempei-tai and Japanese Army Garrison.  In my conversation with N Vizcaya's Gov D Quirino, I noted that he is converted as a rabid pro-Jap in contrast with his young son, Jose or Joe, a fanatic pro-American who used to bring food from my kitchen to American POWs in the local garrison. The Gov house is just across the street from my residence, we are close but strange neighbors.

 

During my call with local Japanese military heads, I informed them of the desire of barrio people from Bagabag and Solano to form neighborhood association watch to help us in our peace and order effort.  They were happy to hear about the idea and I even requested if Japanese instructors can be assigned to teach them 'radyo taisho' which is Japanese calisthenics popular in the military.  They also promised me to do that.  My purpose in bringing this subject is to have a reason to gather the men of Capt Guillermo Aban in Bagabag; and of Capt Fernando Asuncion in Solano for training while laying low.  In this manner, they can perform guard duties and basic drills - valid reason to assemble our underground men.

 

January 6,1943.  Yesterday, I got a P2,000.00 remittance from the local PNB Bank sent by Don Juan Elizalde as he promised for our intelligence fund.  This will help a lot for the travels of SA Pablo Naval, my special liaison with LCol Manolo Enriquez.

 

This morning, I had an hour private secret conference with Capt Guillermo Aban and Capt Fernando Asuncion, COs of two companies laying low in Bagabag and Solano.  I told them about the neighborhood association idea approved by the local Japanese military as a means to assemble their men for "radyo taisho" training exercises when Japanese instructors become available. I alerted them to be ready when I set the dates after I get the schedule from the local Japanese Garrison under Captain Ikeda.  Needless to say how happy and excited are Capts Aban and Asuncion at the prospect of assembling their men again without fear.  I cautioned them to act naturally as humble barrio inhabitants interested in the peace and order of their neighborhoods.  Before they departed, I also gave Capts Aban an Asuncion Special Agent of BC I.D. Cards like the one issued to SA Pablo Naval to facilitate their contact with me.

 

January 8,1943.  I visited Capt Ikeda of the local Japanese Army Garrison at his office this morning and he received me cordially. While we were having tea, he announced that the instructors I requested to teach "radyo taishyo' to the barrio neighborhood association of Bagabag and Solano are ready for three Saturdays sessions starting next Sat which will be Jan 16 followed by Jan 23 and Jan 30.  Capt Ikeda thinks three teaching sessions will be enough.  I am elated Capt Ikeda is interested in the idea that shows those 'barrio people have the proper attitude'.  We agreed that the first training session starts at 0800H at Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag followed at 1000H at nearby barrio Ibung, Solano.  Capt Ikeda expressed his desire to witness the first training session January 16 and we agreed that we will ride together in his car.

 

After returning to my office, I summoned Capt Guillermo Aban and Fernando Asuncion and late in the afternoon, had a conference.  I told them about the 'radyo taisho' training schedule for the next three Saturdays starting Jan. 16, furnishing them each the printed schedule - 0800H in Bagabag and 1000H in Solano. I told them I will introduce them as barrio captains and your men are members of your neighborhood association eager to perform barrio watch.  That many of them were former trainees and had some military training before.  From then on, we will play it by ear.  However, I asked them to prepare the barrio very well on Jan 16 as Capt Ikeda will be with me and I want to impress him.

 

January 16,1943.  Per schedule, we left Bayombong for Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag to teach the Barrio Neighborhood Watch "Radyo Taisho" I arranged with the Japanese Army, early today on a convoy of two Japanes Army Vehicles, a car and a truck. Capt Ikeda and I took the car followed by the small truck with two Japanese Taisho Instructors and a squad of my BC men under Sgt Norberto Aquino as security.  We arrived at Paniqui before 0800H with 50 Neighborhood Watch of Capt Gullermo Aban lined up to welcome us.  I introduced Aban to Capt Ikeda as the local barrio Captain.  Ikeda seems impressed at the friendly attitude of the people and without much ado, the two Japanese Instructors took over and started teaching Aban's men Radyo Taisho at the spacious barrio school ground.  Radyo Taisho is Japanese calisthenics used in their basic military training and all BC men know it.  My purpose here is to get the blessings of the local Japanese military to assemble our men that will help in neighborhood watch or guard, to perform Radyo Taisho and later certain military drills during the time they are laying low.  Capt Ikeda, I and many others watched the training which went through smoothly with very favorable remarks from Capt Ikeda.  My BC men under Sgt Aquino helped a lot.  The training terminated at 0900H, Capt Aban prepared breakfast for us which Ikeda at first hesitated to partake.

 

After we have eaten, I keda thanked Aban and the barrio people of Paniqui.  We then proceeded to nearby Barrio Ibung, Solano arriving there at 1000H with Capt Fernando Asuncion with his barrio watch lined up to welcome us at the school grounds.  After introducing barrio captain Asuncion to Capt Ikeda, the Japanese instructors started teaching the barrio watch Radyo Taisho which was easily learned with the help of my BC men.  Capt Ikeda was also impressed with what he witnessed at barrio Ibung, specially old man everyone call Lakay Molina.  The people are peaceful and friendly.  We stayed at barrio Ibung up to 1100H, after which we returned to Bayombong.

 

During our return trip, Capt Ikeda said he was impressed of the neighborhood watch idea and added that the people can live happily and contented only when there is peace and hopes that more towns in Vizcaya will follow the example of the barrio people he witnessed himself.  This was the first time he had visited these two outlaying barrios at the foot of Cordillera Mountain whose approaches are ideal for ambuscades.  He thank me for providing security and an enlightening trip.

 

January 21,2003.  This morning I had a most pleasant surprise, two prominent visitors, Spanish Aviator Capt Juan Calvo known for his solo flight from Manila to Madrid in mid-30s, and Col Alfredo Ramorez '14, former Comdt, UST ROTC, both with the 14th Inf Intelligence of Col. Enriquez.  They cover their travel as traders with dry goods in their truck and wanted a BC pass to facilitate getting through BC check points which I granted.

 

After briefing them of the condition of peace and order in Vizcaya with my good rapport with local Japanese military authorities, Col Ramirez informed me of recent developments since our meeting at Miss Lulu Reyes place last month.  He said the Japanese are clamping on guerrillas that early this month, a counter-intelligence unit under one, Gen Baba started at Kempei-tai Hq in Manila.  The Sakdalistas set up their own informant network called “Makapili” reporting directly to Baba. Raids were made often and it was reported that Col Thorpe operating from  Mt Pinatubo  was captured near Ft Stotsenburgh, while Capt Joe Barker was captured in Manila and both are now in Ft Santiago.  Col Ramirez also reported that guerrilla leader Ralph McGuire was captured and executed.  The Colonel also cautioned me to be very careful.  They left later for Cagayan province whose Sr Inspector is my classmate Leoncio Tan '28.

 

January 23,1943.  This morning I passed by Capt Ikeda's office with my BC Squad for our scheduled Saturday Taisho Training Instructions.  Capt Ikeda told me he can not come with me as he has some official schedule this morning but he loaned me his truck that we used with his two Taisho Instructors.  We proceeded to barrio Paniqui, Bagabag where "barrio Captain Guillermo Aban" and his neighborhood watchmen were waiting in the school grounds.  Without much ado, Taisho Instructions started at 0800H with my BC men assisting this time.  The Instructions were executed very well I could see how impressed the Japanese Instructors were at their students enthusiasm.  While the instructions were going on, I told Aban who was with me on the sideline, to start close order drills after we leave.  Also beginning tonight, he can maintain two posts at the extremities of the barrio where they can start performing guard duties as part of their renewed military training.

 

Taisho Training Instructions terminated 0930H in Bagabag and we proceeded to barrio Ibung, Solano where "Barrio Captain Fernando Asuncion" and his men were  waiting and started Taishyo Training at 1000H.  Like at Barrio Paniqui, the men at Barrio Ibung performed very well with enthusiasm and while they were going into the motions, I gave the same instructions to Capt Asuncion about conducting close order drills and guard duty training, the same instructions I gave Capt Aban.

 

Taisho Training in Solano terminated 1130H with the Japanese Instructors saying their students in Solano as well as in Bagabag performed so well that they felt they have completed their job in two sessions.  I was happy to hear what they said and requested that they make that report to Capt Ikeda.  We arrived back in Bayombong at noon and thank Capt Ikeda for the services of his two Instructors for a  job well done.

 

January 26,1943.  After my Taisho Training visit in Solano three days ago, I instructed SA Pablo Naval to see me that afternoon in my office in Bayombong.  In the privacy of my office, I instructed him "as soon as ready" to proceed to Baguio area where our Grla Comdr, LCol Enriquez is "laying low in hiding" to give the following report: "Peace and order in Vizcaya is good as the guerrilla units there are under my complete control; my rapport with Japanese military authorities is also good with their blessing on our neighborhood association idea wherein Taisho Instructions were given twice, and the authorized assemblies gave us opportunity to further military training.  When I arrived in Bayombong early last Nov, there were a dozen American POWs that included LCol E Warner, original 14th Inf CO and LCol Theodore Kalakuka, emissary of Gen Wainright in the surrender process after the fall of Corregidor.  Warner surrendered to Kalakuka and their combined efforts in collaboration with the Chief of Police of Jones, Isabela caused the capture of LCol G. Nacar, who, I understand, was executed.  Early last month two American POWs, LCol Kalakuka and a Lt Ziegler, died of dysentery and malaria and were burried at the local Catholic Cemetery.  Before the end of last month all American POWs were transferred to Cabanatuan POW Camp."  Since this report will be delivered verbally, I asked Naval to repeat what the message is and to my satisfaction, he covered all subjects verbatim.

 

Today, my being Actg Sr Inspector of Vizcaya ended with the arrival of Inspector Sergio Laurente '21.  After a formal turnover this afternoon, I accompanied him to the Provincial Capitol to pay a social call on Gov Quirino and other officials.  He was received cordially as he has a pleasing personality.  At the start of the war, Laurente was provincial PC Comdr of Ilocos Sur and when the Japanese landed there Dec. 10,1941, he was taken by surprise, immediately captured and earned the distinction of being the first Filipino USAFFE to become POW.  From the way I size him up, I think we will have a very pleasant camaraderie although he graduated from the old PCA nineteen years before I graduated from PMA in 1940.

 

February 8,1943.  Cpl Pablo Naval who left Bayombong last Jan. 27 to deliver my message to Col Enriquez, my Grla Boss, returned three days ago telling me his difficulties locating Enriquez hiding in the vicinity of Benguet Mining Co with his staff.  He was happy to get my detailed report and send his congratulations for the neighborhood association in Bagabag and Solano being sanctioned by the Japanese Army with the Taisho training as a reason for the assembly of our men for further military training.  However, he cautioned me to be careful as the new Kempeitai Counterintelligence of Gen Baba have been very busy lately.  I commended Naval for accomplishing his mission.

 

Col Enriquez also instructed me to send Lt Luis Casumpang and six of his EMs who were former members of the Corps of Engineers, to be accompanied by Cpl Naval to his Hq for Training by Benguet Consolidated Mines in handling explosives for future Sabotage Missions.  I instructed Lt Casumpang accordingly and today, his group  of seven accompanied by Naval left Vizcaya for Benguet.

 

February 15,1943.  It is a pleasant surprise for Col Alfredo Ramirez '14, Spanish Aviator Capt Juan Calvo and Don Juan Elizalde to visit me this morning at my BC office in Bayombong and when my Sr Inspector, Sergio Laurente '21, saw Col Ramirez, he was doubly surprised because I learned Laurente was once a junior officer of Ramirez.  My visitors are my associates in the 14th Inf Grlas under Col M P Enriquez '34 but Insp Laurente was unaware of it.  I only told him they are my old friends.

 

Capt Calvo briefed us on the latest scuttlebutts - prime commodities like rice getting scarser and expensive in Manila because the enemy is living on the fat of the land, the good news in the European, African and Southwest Pacific Fronts. On the African Front, Allied Forces under LtGen Eisenhower, have established firmly there with Gen Rommel on the run.  Even the Germans that occupied Stalingrad had surrendered to the Russians.  And the Japanese had quit on the Solomons.  The best news is about the arrival of Major Jesus Villamor via Submarine in Negros from SWPA Hq Australia to contact guerilla units in the Visayas.  It seems the tide is now turning in our favor.

 

February 20,1943.  This morning, my grla associates, Col Ramirez, Capt Calvo and Mr Elizalde dropped quietly at my office on their return trip to Manila from Isabela.  Elizalde asked me for a list of 14th Inf officers in hiding because they are in the Japanese wanted list and I gave him the names of Maj Romulo A Manriquez '36, Capt P Dumlao, Lt H Quines '42 and Lt V dela Cruz. Col Ramirez greeted his former JO, my Sr Insp Sergio Laurente, briefly and after my visitors left, Laurente asked me how I came to know them.  I replied that I met them through Manila socialite Ms Lulu Reyes in my OSP Manila socials.  It was then that he opened to me about his pro-American sympathies, how he suffered at the hands of the Japanese after he was surprised with the Japanese landing in Ilocos Sur where he was PC Prov Comdr Dec 10,1941, captured and became the first USAFFE officer to become a POW.

 

I did not tell my Sr Inspector that my visitors are my grla associates but instead recommended that in view of the briefing by Capt Calvo last Feb 15 and to safeguard prime foodstuff raised locally by the natives for their own welfare, that we prohibit merchants from taking them out in commercial quantity of Vizcaya without permit from our office.  Merchants from Manila have recently been purchasing rice by the truckloads due to shortage there.  Laurente did not only approve my recommendation but even appointed me Chief, Economic Police for the province.  I made a directive to all our detachment commanders accordingly and henceforth, movement of foodstuff in bulk from the province to anywhere  outside must have written permits from our Hq.

 

Meanwhile, the scuttlebutts by Capt Calvo was confirmed by short wave radio news I heard with Fr Lambreth's two night ago.  In addition, we also heard about the Council Meeting in Casablanca by US Pres Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle.  The latest one I got was about my OSP Boss Maj Enrique L Jurado USNA '34 who managed to elude the Japanese from Batangas to Romblon and he finally settled in Odiongan before joining the Peralta Grlas recently in Panay, the very place he wanted our Q-Boats to escape when Bataan was surrendering. Also Col R Kangleon is building up his grlas in Leyte and Capt Pedro Merritt '34 with my classmate Lt Ed Soliman '40 are organizing in Samar.  Maj Inginiero and my classmate Lt H Alano '40 are also busy in Bohol.

 

February 25,1943.  Peace and order in Vizcaya continue to be good so the Japanese Army's total strength is now reduced to Bn size.  The American POWs are all transferred to Cabanatuan Camp.  Meanwhile, the two Grla Companies of Capt Aban in Bagabag and Capt Asuncion in Solano continue with their every Saturday Taisho program taught by Japanese Army instructors that gave them reason to assemble and conduct their close order and extended drills after.  These Companies secretly under my command are about ready for future operations and are adhering from standing instructions on training, intelligence collections, laying low and awaiting orders.  I am happy that latest scuttlebutts indicate Japanese advances towards Australia was stopped when Guadalcanal was taken back by the US Marines and the airfield there can be used now against the major Japanese Base in Rabaul.

 

It is gratifying to note that the 14th Inf Grlas was the first guerilla unit to contact Gen MacArthur in Corregidor late Jan 1942 through the effort of my classmate, Lt Ed Navarro who  took his transceiver all the way from Camp Allen to Kiangan, then to Bayombong during their retreat.  This transceiver was used to send messages to USAFFE Hq by the 14th Inf Grlas but was lost after Col Nakar was captured.  Lately, I learned another PMA Classmate, Capt Amos Francia Signal O of Panay Grlas under Col Peralta, through his ability and resourcefulness, was also able to fix a radio transmitter in their mountain hideout and able to contact SWPA Hq of Gen MacArthur late last month.  Francia is not only a classmate but  also a blood relative and fellow Bulakeno.

MR 09-07 Chair

MARITIME REVIEW

From the Chairman

 

 

by Carlos L Agustin

 

Good bye to an old comrade

 

As I was about to work on this column the tragic news of the loss of an elder, an old friend, an idol indeed and foremost proponent of maritime power for the Philippines hit me. Thus I dedicate this issue’s column to such a man.

 

It came through a text message from my classmate, retired PN Capt Bonifacio Lomotan who said that Capt “Rocky” Marciano Alcaraz PN (Ret) had informed him about the demise of Rocky’s elder brother Commo Ramon A Alcaraz (Ret). The elder Alcaraz would be 94 come August 31 this year. I then posted the sad news in the Academy Cavaliers Forum, the PN forum and the USNA Philippines Chapter forum but the dissemination was equally fast if not faster through the US-based Cavalier Prayer Warriors under Col Basilio G Moreto (Ret), whom I copy furnished.

 

I found Dionisio Grava’s entry in the Pedestrian Observer blog quite informative. It relates that Ramon A. Alcaraz was 20 years old when he entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), graduating among the 79 members of the Class of on March 15, 1940.

Nineteen months later he was integrated with the US Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and assigned with the First Q-Boat Squadron based in Corregidor. Much of the information, though were already known to me.

 

In 2001-2002 Ka Monching, as we called him, serialized almost daily his account of World War II in the Philippines, starting with preparations for the war, through his experiences as a Q Boat Captain ending with his intentional grounding of the craft off the coast of his home province of Bulacan, capture by the Japanese, incarceration, release and joining the guerilla forces, and the war through the end.

 

Franz Tinio-Lopez, a family acquaintance in Los Angeles who researches on naval and military history relates that then Secretary Ramon Magsaysay sent CDR Ramon Alcaraz to the US to study the organization of the United States Marine Corps. What he picked up at Quantico enabled him to allocate personnel for the First Marine Company of the Navy, assigning his former Q-boat Executive Officer, LCDR Manuel Gomez as its CO. I remember that company and the later 2nd Marine Company based at Marine Station Port Area, Manila that eventually grew into the Philippine Marine Corps of today.

 

In 1959 Ka Monching attended the Naval War College Command Course at Newport, RI. It was on that schooling that I got to meet him, when the class visited the USNA and I was assigned to escort him. When I visited him at Subic Naval Base in 1960 when he was the Philippine Military Liaison Officer, he gave me a copy of the photo that was taken together with me.

He held various key positions culminating in his being assigned in 1965 as PN Vice Commander and promotion to Commodore, the highest navy rank at that time. However, in 1966 when Marcos became president, he was relieved summarily as Fleet Commander, a controversial act which resulted in a Congressional investigation. Alcaraz was cleared of any wrongdoing but just the same he applied for retirement.

With his wife, pharmacist Concepcion Dualan he opened a chain of drug stores called Commodore Drug. I remember those drug stores, existing up to just a few years ago.

 

When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, Ka Monching went into self-exile with his family and joined Manglapus’ Movement for Free Philippines, eventually migrating to the United States and learning the business of, and succeeding in real estate. During that period he would get acquainted with Ninoy and Cory Aquino, and visited President Corazon Aquino after the EDSA Revolution.

 

In the spring of 1988 I met him again in Los Angeles during the official visit of then Sec Fidel V Ramos where, after his Washington leg we met retired AFP officers and veterans from the region. He would later give me the picture shown above during his visit to the Philippines in 2001, but that visit was an interesting story by itself.

 

I recall seeing him at a DND meeting at Quezon City when he made that visit, and learned that he was the primary source of information comparing the Class of 1940 and the Class of 1971 in Alfred W McCoy’s book, “Closer than Brothers”. McCoy gave me a copy of his PhD draft when I was Defense Attaché in Washington and called on me again in Manila in 1988 when I was J-1.


Former PMAAA Chairman Col Ciriaco Reyes (Ret) in early 2001 met him in LA and told him about “the sad moral state of the AFP and the PMA” and, induced by the late Ambassador Alex Melchor, who highly respected Ka Monching, he decided to visit to speak before AFP audiences. Melchor asked me to join Ka Monching and Col Reyes on the PMA visit. The Commodore was told that recent findings showed that cadets had practically “lost the Honor Code”.

 

We were given the usual routine for official visitors: arrival honors for Ka Monching, call on the Superintendent (then MG Rufo de Veyra), a briefing about PMA, attendance at the Saturday parade, and lunch with the Corps of Cadets.

 

I was particularly surprised at his opening remarks in his speech in the mess hall. He said, “I was invited by former Executive Secretary, Ambassador Alejandro Melchor to come to the Philippines to give you, ladies and gentlemen of the Cadet Corps a wakeup call. I was told that you have forgotten about the Honor Code that my class, the Class of 1940 started. And when I listened to the Academy briefing prior to the parade, I immediately understood because right here, the Academy staff is telling you a lie! Whoever said that the PMA was started by General Aguinaldo in 1898?”

 

 That remark actually made my day, as I was then at the forefront of a battle to restore the correct history of PMA, which Ka Monching did not share. I am among the majority who consider the correct history to be as previously written and accurately traceable to the PC Officers School established in 1905. Ka Monching wanted to be precise, since the PMA actually became “Military Academy” only in 1935 under Commonwealth Act No. 1. That debate still continues, in spite of a wrongful Executive Order reinventing history.

 

Accolades


Many accolades were written upon learning of his passing. Former Rep. Etta Pargas-Rosales wrote to me on hearing of his demise: “
Commodore Ramon Alcaraz was a good friend of my father. I called him Uncle Monching.  His wife and my mother were good friends too.  I know the daughter, Cecile, but the last time I saw her, I was still a student in U.P and she joined the U.P. Dramatic Club where I was a member.  Lino Brocka, Behn Cervantes, Jose Mari Velez, Adul de Leon, Pinky Rigor, Joonee Gamboa, etc. were all veterans of the Club when the late Director Guerrero used to scold all of us.  Cecile came much later.”

Nestor Palugod Enriquez wrote:

An icon of the World War II Bataan veterans and gem of the Cavalier tribe has departed for the Great Beyond. Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, PMA 1940 has passed away June 25. The SOPA of his shipmates is not longer afloat but we will also remember the Commodore for fighting for the Veterans benefit. SOPA for you land lover is the Senior Officer Present Afloat.

His last battle was the final victory, the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill as the Stimulus Bill. I wonder if he got his lump sum payment of $15,000 but for Alcaraz the money was insignificant. He said “ issue is no longer just about money, the honor of being recognized as a U.S. vet, a loyal soldier who served the American flag."

He became a U.S. citizen and made a comfortable living in Orange County as a real estate investor. But he continues to campaign for benefits for his fellow veterans, testifying twice before Congress and joining protests outside the federal building in Los Angeles.

As a lieutenant in the Philippine Offshore Patrol during World War II, Ramon Alcaraz says he served proudly under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, risking his life in a sea-air skirmish in Bataan and enduring nearly five months of imprisonment under the Japanese.

He clung to that fighting spirit in the years after the war ended, after he climbed the naval ranks and later became an American citizen.

The 92-year-old still fights for something he and fellow Filipino World War II veterans – about 7,000 in the United States – have been seeking.

"Honor and recognition," he said in a recent interview from his Orange home.

Rest in peace, Ka Monching, and may God be forever with you.

 

Source: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:20 PM
From:
To:
maria.embry@sbcglobal.net
See attached.

C. Agustin, Chairman and President, Maritime League and

President, National Defense College of the Philippines

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bataan Icon and Equity Bill Advocate

An icon of the World War II Bataan veterans and gem of the Cavalier tribe has departed for the Great Beyond. Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, PMA 1940 has passed away June 25 The SOPA of his shipmates is not longer afloat but we will also remember the Commodore for fighting for the Veterans benefit. SOPA for you land lover is the Senior Officer Present Afloat.

His last battle was the final victory, the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill as the Stimulus Bill. I wonder if he got his lump sum payment of $15,000 but for Alcaraz the money was insignificant. He said “ issue is no longer just about money, the honor of being recognized as a U.S. vet, a loyal soldier who served the American flag."

He became a U.S. citizen and made a comfortable living in Orange County as a real estate investor. But he continues to campaign for benefits for his fellow veterans, testifying twice before Congress and joining protests outside the federal building in Los Angeles.

As a lieutenant in the Philippine Offshore Patrol during World War II, Ramon Alcaraz says he served proudly under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, risking his life in a sea-air skirmish in Bataan and enduring nearly five months of imprisonment under the Japanese.

He clung to that fighting spirit in the years after the war ended, after he climbed the naval ranks and later became an American citizen.

The 92-year-old still fights for something he and fellow Filipino World War II veterans – about 7,000 in the United States – have been seeking.

" Honor and recognition," he said in a recent interview from his Orange home.

It comes in the form of benefits equal to those of the U.S. veterans, first promised by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But the Rescission Act of 1946 stripped the Filipinos of those benefits, saying they were too expensive and that the Philippines would no longer be under the United States because it was gaining independence that year.

The Filipino veterans lost health and pension benefits. Only recently have some benefits, such as for limited disability and military burials, been granted. When Alcaraz came to the United States in 1975, he wanted to get a home loan under a veterans program (GI Bill for veterans) but was denied.

He has since led demonstrations and helped veterans groups in Southern California lobby politicians to win back benefits."We were taught in school that America is the land of the free, equality and justice," he said. "That's what we want." (excerpts from Orange county register)

Col. Edwin Ramsey, Commodore Ramon Alcaraz and Gen. Tagumpay Nanadiego – were presented “Awards for Legacy" just last year by Ambassador Willy Gaa.

He died when another veterans campaign was just beginning, the amendment to U.S. Senate bill S.768 seeks to grant Congressional Gold Medal only to WW11 Bataan POW from the United States that excluded soldiers from the Philippines. He wrote to veteran advocate,  Maria del Valle Embry…” I wonder why those from the Philippines were excluded…”

He was joining fighting forces. May you rest in Peace, Commodore. We will carry on.


Nestor Palugod Enriquez
www.filipinohome.com
Coming to America

Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery.
Today is a gift,and that's why we call it the present

Re: Another Rescission Act in the Making??
Saturday, May 30, 2009 10:02 PM
From:
To:
maria.embry@sbcglobal.net
Waitlist reason: ComAlcaraz@aol.com is not on your Guest List | Approve sender | Approve domain
Forwarded Message: Re: Another Rescission Act in the Making??

Re: Another Rescission Act in the Making??

Saturday, May 30, 2009 10:01 PM
From:
To:
maria.embry@sbcglobal.net
Dear Elizabeth:
 
This is to acknowledge receipt of subject e-mail  I commend you for your interest in our Bataan Death March POW. I wonder why those from the Phil were excluded.
 
Your request for an ammendment to Sen Udall is noted. If I send a similar request, what is the mailing address of the Senator.
 
I enjoyed talking with you.
 
All the best - God Bless.
 
Commodore Ramon Alcaraz (Ret)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Media Advisory
Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)
Contact Person: Arturo Garcia
June 29, 2009

COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ,  PN PIONEER, VETERAN AND ANTI MARTIAL LAW PIONEER IN THE UNITED STATES

Los Angeles--Commodere Ramon Alcaraz, PN, the man who defied Marcos, a known anti Marcos leader in the United States, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy class 1940 and a pillar of the Filipino veterans' cause died last June 25, 2009.

Ramon Alcaraz, a bemedalled World War II Filipino veteran is an authentic war hero who was promoted on the spot and decorated personally by General MacArthur in Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action in January 1942. A torpedo boat commander, Alcaraz shot down three Japanese dive bombers during World War II. 

He commanded the Phil.Navy Q-boats that safely transported President Quezon and Macarthur from Corregidor to Mindanao in March 1942. He later joined the guerillas.  The American captain of the PT boat was awarded the congressional medal of honor but not the Filipino Alcaraz.

When Ramon Magsaysay was Secretary of Defense of the Philippines, he sent Alcaraz to the USA to study the organization of the United States Marine Corps. His report led to the establishment of the 1st Marine Company that grew into the Philippine Marine Corps of today. 

President and later dictator Marcos, acknowledging the free and brave spirit of Alcaraz refused to name him as an Rear Admiral despite his senoirity in rank and instead named Commodore Dioscoro Papa as the PN Chief. 

Alcaraz retired from the service and went to the United States to form opposition to Marcos instead. He became a stalwart of the Movement For a Free Philippines (MFP). 

And much more he led the Filipino veterans against the Marcos dictatorship having political differences with Manglapus who led the purely-anti Marcos movement. Together with General Jose De Veyra, his junior PMA officer of Class 1941, they led the veterans movement in the United States in fighting for justice and equity for more than 18 years.

The Justice for Filipino Veterans (JFAV) pays tribute to the great soldier, veterans and anti-Martial Law leader in the United States.
We salute you sir!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A VOICE FROM AMERICA

By

ERNIE D. DELFIN

 

COMMODORE RAMON A. ALCARAZ (Ret)  JOINS  MAX V. SOLIVEN, EVELIO JAVIER,

NINOY AQUINO  AND  OTHER FREEDOM LOVING FRIENDS IN THE LIFE BEYOND

 

           June 2009 was a very unusual month for me in Southern California.    Instead of starting  to enjoy the start of  summer doing things that  I  cannot do months ago,  like  gardening, picnicking or  biking  to the beach,  it is  very sad month   with a couple of shocking news,  the untimely deaths  of two great friends of mine,   two  very warm, intelligent, witty and caring human beings whom  I dearly loved  and admired.  On June 8th,  my spiritual confidant-counselor and friend,  Franciscan friar-author, Emery Tang died and  then followed by  Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz (ret.) who was not just a client but  a father figure to me and a  very close friend.    His daughter,  Ramona “Monet” Alcaraz-Marshall  told me that his loving dad  “chose to die with a big BANG”  on June 25th,  the same day  when the   King of Pop Music, Michael Jackson died at 50!   The Commodore  was  just about two months shy before his 94th birthday on August 31st.

           When this issue of the STAR comes out (Sunday, July 5th)  many of us, friends and family of  Commodore  Ramon “Monching” Alcaraz   will be visiting him to pay our last respects at the Fairhaven Mortuary in Santa Ana, California,  to be followed by a funeral mass and burial on Monday morning, July 6th,  at the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in the City of Orange where the Alcaraz family live the last several decades.

         Since the Marcos  Martial law era,   whenever the late ‘Uncle’ Max Soliven visited California,  Max, the Commodore and I  always got  together  and spent many hours just  talking and enjoying each others company.  We had so much in common:   zest for life, love for politics (and women…just kidding!) and good conversation coupled with uncommon    wit and sense of humor,  laughing and often oblivious of time and the craziness of the world around us.  The three of us cherished and yearned for the return of  the old fashioned conservative  values of the Filipinos  of yesteryears.   Those values appear to be vanishing  with the gradual demise of their generation.   Although I am much younger than they were,  I am quite blessed and privileged to have known these two Filipino icons (and others)  quite close and personal.  Who can replace them  to share more insights and wisdom into my own life and the life of others  whom they may have touched?

             Death  is still a great  mystery to me.  Although I accept my own mortality, I am still scared about death simply because I  will be forced to go through a   morbid process I have never experienced before.   It seems to me that death comes when everybody around you is relatively  happy, when the promise of  the future  appears brighter and more  promising.  For instance, a week before Father Emery  died, we had an unusually long lunch at our favorite dim sum restaurant in Little Saigon, Westminster, California, with my wife Benita, Father Wayne Adajar, Milette Estrada, who is coordinating our Glorious Italy Tour (Rome, Assisi and other shrines) next  September,   where Father Emery was also scheduled to join us.   That last meeting was quite extraordinary because it lasted over three hours that included with  an  unscheduled visit to my farmyard,  sharing our mutual love for gardening and nature.  To this date, I am still in denial because I will absolute miss our monthly lunches that have started many years ago.

             Now, my client and  above all my friend, Commodore Alcaraz  is also gone to the life beyond where there is no more physical suffering and pain.  Born from a modest family  in Bulacan, he went to school through “boxing scholarships” and belonged to the first batch of graduates of the Philippine Military Academy in 1940, before the outbreak of WW II.  The Commodore   rose through the ranks that culminated with his appointment as Commodore of the Phil. Navy by Pres. Macapagal,  only to be fired by the Pres. Marcos in 1965.   The Commodore belonged  to an era when the Philippines  was a much different country than what it is today,  considering what the country is ashamedly  undergoing through economically, educationally and politically.  Like Ninoy Aquino, Evelio Javier and Max Soliven,  Commodore Alcaraz died without witnessing the dawn of Philippine Renaissance in the socio-economic and   political arena that they have actively advocated during their lifetimes. 

           His generation suffered much during the Japanese occupation and WW II  (like Benito Soliven, the  father of Uncle Max)   but his generation, in my view, was  the  golden era of the Philippine society  as the words “palabra de honor”   (word of honor)  or “delicadeza” (propriety)  and true public service  were the norm.  I had a  brief   experience of those golden times as  my own grandfather, then  followed by my father were chosen to be the “teniente del barrio”  (that  office, then,  was a position of honor, even WITHOUT salary,  when  the  people asked somebody quite respected to be their “cabeza” (head)  who oftentimes  acted not only as an “executive” but also as a  “judge or arbitrator” for minor conflicts in the barrio.  Those were the days that are long gone,  nostalgic topics that  always  come up  whenever the Commodore and I had a long conversations.    

              To celebrate Commodore’s his 85th Birthday in year 2000,   his   daughter Ramona “Monet” and I planned a totally surprise Birthday Party  for  him at the  Disneyland Hotel, where over  50   of his military, business and political friends,  and some relatives  came together to pay tribute to him.  He  really got the greatest surprise of his life as he admitted in his remarks  and  felt somewhat “embarrassed” that he was not dressed “appropriately” for the occasion.   Monet  successfully   tricked  him to accompany her to buy something for her  “apos” (grandchildren) but suddenly they have to drop by the Disneyland Hotel  for Monet to  give somebody something.     As the promoter of that event,  I remember saying that  we were  gathered to honor  and give him tribute ( not eulogy)  so that he would still see us and hear our words of our love and respect  for him.   A dozen of us delivered our  tributes to  this remarkable man.    Asked what his secret to a long healthy life,  he instantaneously  said  his  family and friends (that love him), daily “siesta”  (nap)  and  the unexpected the punch line (that I will never forget)  “Pay your Debts!”

               Having known him for over 30 years,  not only as a client but more of a friend and father-figure to me ,   I am saddened by his death but also happy with the thought that he is now in paradise and probably being given a warm reception by  his many political (mutual)  friends whom I have also met,  like Ninoy Aquino,   Evelio Javier, Raul Manglapus, Tony Villegas, Raul Roco, and Max Soliven, as well as his other friends  that  I don’t even know.

            With nostalgia and gratitude,  I am  indeed blessedly fortunate that  I have met the Commodore and the other Filipino icons mentioned above here  in  the  United States  (a great country that is the  greatest “equalizer”  of people)  which most likely could not happen in the Philippines to an ordinary Filipino like me.   Now, all these freedom loving and idealistic people  are all gone!   Who can replace their idealistic life’s philosophy  from the present leadership of the Philippines?  At my age, will I ever see the Renaissance of a new era  that will  bring back those “golden” years of Philippine society?   Can somebody please tell me or show  me a ray of hope that there that that era will ever come back?

           With acceptance of my own mortality and faith in the life thereafter,  I  hope and pray that we will meet again in heaven  and  hopefully resume   the friendship that was just started on earth.   May your Rest in Peace, Commodore,  and  may our  mutual friends  welcome you in their company!  May the Good Lord reward you for what you have done to your country, to your people to your brothers and sisters while you were on Earth! 

          Paalam, mahal kong kaibigan!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

by Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia

Funeral set for Commodore Alcaraz, former POW and pillar of veterans’ cause

Ramon A. Alcaraz was 20 years old when the newly inaugurated Philippine Commonwealth government established the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to train the regular officer corps of the Philippine Army (PA). He was among the first 120 cadets who entered PMA at Teachers Camp, Baguio City, on June 15, 1936. Only 79 of them graduated on March 15, 1940. At that time the war in Europe had been going on for six months.
Nineteen months later and the Class of ’40 was integrated with the US Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. World War II had engulfed the Philippines and Alcaraz, together with classmates Alano and Picar, were assigned as members of First Q-Boat Squadron in Corregidor. They were subsequently awarded decorations for their performance in battle.

According to Ernesto O. Rodriguez in "Anthology of Letters and Speeches of Commodore Alcaraz, Exponent of Seapower," Ramon Alcaraz is an authentic war hero who was promoted on the spot and decorated personally by General MacArthur in Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action in January 1942. A torpedo boat Alcaraz commanded had shot down three Japanese dive bombers during that war. Later, Alcaraz was captured and became a prisoner of war. Five months in prison and he was out. He joined the guerillas in Bulacan with the rank of regimental commander.

Soon the war was over and Franz Tinio-Lopez, who researches on things military, had this account:
When Ramon Magsaysay was appointed Secretary of Defense of the Philippines. He had Ramon Alcaraz travel to the USA to study the organization of the United States Marine Corps… Based on his research and material on the USMC, he allocated billets and personnel for the Marine Company of the Philippine Navy. Alcaraz assigned his former Q-boat Executive Officer, Lt. Manuel Gomez as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Company that grew into the Philippine Marine Corps of today.
In the postwar Philippine military Alcaraz held various key positions culminating with his promotion in 1965 to Commodore, the highest navy rank at that time. However, in 1966 when Marcos became president, he was relieved summarily as Fleet Commander, a controversial act which resulted in a Congressional investigation. Alcaraz was cleared of any wrongdoing but just the same he applied for retirement.

He and pharmacist wife Conching tried their hands in business, putting up a chain of drug stores in the Philippines called Commodore Drug. When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, Monching went into self-exile with his family and joined Manglapus’ Movement for Free Philippines.

Ramon Alcaraz, originally from Quingua, Bulacan, remained active into his 90s as a real estate investor in Orange County, California. He became a pillar of the Filipino veterans' cause for equity and wrote a war diary that reportedly was used for the 2002 documentary “Bataan: The Last Defense.”

Col. Butch Moreto (Ret.) passed on the message of Capt “Rocky” Marciano Alcaraz (Ret.) about the death of his older brother, Ramon, on June 25, 2009 PST. Moreto and his group Cyber Prayer Warriors then asked pious Christians to join them in prayer for the deceased.

Last night Franz Tinio-Lopez, who is close to the family, communicated the information that services and burial for the late Commodore Alcaraz are tentatively planned for July 6 and 7.

Meanwhile, daughter Ramona "Monet" Alcaraz Marshall requests anyone who had served with her father to come and speak at his funeral. You may contact Franz at pmcmssr@yahoo.com and possibly with a copy to this writer at dcgrava@aol.com so I can make follow-ups.

In addition to Rocky and Monet, Ramon is survived by wife Conception Dualan Alcaraz, who is from Cavite; children Cecilia Schlesinger, Vicky McCrary, Alfred "Boybee" Alcaraz, and Ramon, Jr.; and grandchildren Taurie, Haliey, and Landon.

Ramon Alcarez, left, shown with his namesake the former Defense Secretary, later President, Ramon Magsaysay. Photo courtesy of Franz Tinio-Lopez

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/86980/index.php

COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ, PN , VETERAN AND ANTI MARTIAL LAW PIONEER IN THE UNITED STATES

 

Commodere Ramon Alcaraz, PN, the man who defied Marcos, a known anti Marcos leader in the United States, graduate of the Philippine Military Academy class 1940 and a pillar of the Filipino veterans' cause died last June 25, 2009.

Ramon Alcaraz , a bemedalled World War II Filipino veteran is an authentic war hero who was promoted on the spot and decorated personally by General MacArthur in Corregidor for heroism and gallantry in action in January 1942. A torpedo boat commander, Alcaraz shot down three Japanese dive bombers during World War II

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pershing Hat

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:39 AM
From:
To:
maria.embry@sbcglobal.net
Cc:
cla489xxxxxxx,  <Bgmxxxxx>

Armed Forces of the Philippines Uniforms

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2299406/Afp-Uniform-Code

Scroll down to page 165 Headgears

Pershing

 

 

The U.S. general, John J. Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force during WWI, gave his name to this type of cap, which features a basket-weave-type ventilated frame with a flat, round crown. The service caps for modern American military officers are known in the hat trade as "modified Pershings" because they feature a solid frame.

 

 

Scrambled eggs"

 

 

Slang term for metallic decorations (bullion or cast metal) on the visor itself. All field-grade officers in the U.S. Army and Air Force have had them on their caps since the mid-fifties, although General Douglas MacArthur already had impressive hat decorations during WWII. Many other armies also adopted these decorations during the fifties. On the other hand, high-ranking navy, coast guard, and merchant marine officers have had "scrambled eggs" on their visors since the turn of the century, usually for ship’s captains. The term should not to be confused with "fruit salad," which refers to decoration ribbons on the left front of a tunic or uniform shirt.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrambled_egg_(uniform)  

Scrambled eggs of a Commander/Captain, US Navy

Flag Officers, US Navy

  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kilusang Dekada 70 (KD70)

Contact Person. Prof. Guillermo Ponce De Leon

Phone: 818-749-0272

June 30, 2009

 

Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, Martial Law Activist 

 

Los Angeles-- The Kilusang Dekada 70 ( KD70) composed of First Quarter Storm and martial law activists based in the United States pays tribute to Philippine Navy Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a martial law and anti-Marcos activist. He died June 25 in Orange County, Southern California.

Commodore Alcaraz is a World War II veteran and a survivor of Bataan. He belonged to PMA class 1940 and commanded the fleet of PT boats of the fledgling Philippine Commonwealth Navy that was placed under the command of USAFFE when the whole Commonwealth army as conscripted in 1941.

He is an authentic bemedalled war hero against the Japanese invaders. He joined the guerillas. He rejoined the new Philippine Navy and became an officer of once the most powerful navy in Asia.

He fell out of favor of President Marcos because of his integrity and independence and was bypassed as the flag officer in command of the Philippine fleet. Instead a Marcos loyalist was named as the Philippine Navy commander, Dejected Alcaraz went to the United States.

During martial law, commanding the loyalty of Filipino world war veterans they formed the core of the Movement for Free Philippines in Los Angeles. He had many differences with many anti-Marcos activists like Manglapus and other Filipino politicians who were called “steak commandos”. They hibernate and only appear in some occasions while Alcaraz and his veterans were active and did their job. 

Under his leadership, new veterans organizations like the United Filipino American Veterans (UFAV) were formed in 1984.

Even after Marcos was overthrown, Alcaraz continued with his advocacy and focused his efforts for fighting for veteran’s equity and justice. Well respected as one of the highest-ranking Filipino officer with a rank of Commodore, he corrected many distortions in history of World War II in the Philippines and on their struggle against martial law in the United States.

Until his sudden death, Alcaraz graced many veterans’ forum and commemorations and explained about the heroism of Filipino veterans during World War II. 

We may call Commodore Alcaraz, a title he earned more than title of an admiral that was not given to him. As he himself calls himself, the admiral who never was, he served his country and people well. As a soldier, anti-martial law activist, as a fighter for veterans justice and rights, and as a Filipino.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/ht/ht004429.htm

BALITANG BETERANO:  GREAT  ESCAPES, WORLD WAR-2

Humoring the Enemy

Commodore (Ret.) Ramon A. Alcaraz was a 2nd Lieutenant and Lt. Captain of one of the three motor torpedo boats , called Q-boats of the Off-Shore Patrol that guarded the coast line.

Alcaraz destroyed two Japanese “zero” planes attacking the Q-boat. During the wee hours of April 10, Captain Alcaraz scuttled Q-112 along the Paombong coast, 4 miles off Bataan’s east coast. He and his crew were wading to shore on bamboo poles when suddenly a bright searchlight from 2 Japanese patrol boats spotted them.

“I felt the entire world had collapsed on me. I thought abut my alma mater, the PMA, and felt that I failed her – so my instant reaction was to remove my class ring and throw it out at sea.” said Alcaraz.

On his day of captivity Alcaraz immediately used the sense of humor. Despite of his disheartened state, Alcaraz befriended the and joked often flattered his enemy’s ego by asking to recount their battle victories.

Not before long, Alcaraz was made Head of the POW Camp at Malolos, Bulacan where they were concentrated., but was likewise held accountable for any escape. When new prisoners came wit their hands tightly tied behind their back, Alcaraz would have Japanese soldiers untie them.

Alcaraz felt responsible for keeping his fellow POWs alive and make their lives better the best he could. It was during he many story-telling hours that he men enjoyed a respite from hard labor by just sitting and the ground pretending to listen to the soldier’s stories.

At fall-in formations and other ceremonies, where POWs were required to hail “Banzai.” Alcaraz would join in with his boisterous native version of “Bankay” (corpse)., and the Japanese would roar with approval.

By then, Alcaraz humor had become part and parcel of his escape plan and resulted in a less tortuous POW experience for his comrades compared with the unspeakable experiences the POWs endured at Camp O’Donnell . Notably, not a single death was registered at the Malolos POW camp.

Later, Alcaraz feigned malaria and was required to be confined at San Lazaro Hospital. The ship to Lamao therefore left without him, a week later, Alcaraz joined the guerrilla outfit of Maj. Maneul Enrique, his former PMA mentor who had become executive officer of the 14th Infantry unit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.philippinenews.com/article.php?id=4465

 

Memorial Day brings focus on ‘Taps’

Published:  May 28, 2009 | Author:  Ludy Ongkeko

 

Note:  This is a sequel on the remembrances that focus on Memorial Day, commemorated on the last Monday of MayThis space respectfully refers to the same source of the column that preceded this; the past column’s information  entitled:  “Flag-draped coffins,” came from Commodore Ramon  A. Alcaraz, (AFP, ret.).  In great hopes that the information can be disseminated to everyone particularly the youth, the background on “Taps” starts:  (the author of the reproduced piece is unknown).

“If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps were played; this brings out a new meaning to it. Here is something every North American should know.  Until I read this, we in North America have all heard the haunting music “Taps,” it’s the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.

“But do you know the story behind the music?  If not, I think you will be interested to find out abut its humble beginnings. “Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

“During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field.  Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.

“Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

“When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

“The captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock.  In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.  It was his  own son.  The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.  Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

“The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status.  His request was only partially granted.

“The captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.  The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.  But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

“The captain chose a bugler.  He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform.  This wish was granted.
“The haunting melody, we now know as Taps” used at military funerals was born.
“The words are: 

 

Day is done…Gone the sun…
From  the lakes… From the hills…
From the sky… All is well…
Safety rest…God is nigh…
Fading light… Dims the sight…
And a  star… Gems the sky…
Gleaming bright… From afar…
Drawing nigh… Fails the night...
Thanks and praise… For our days…
‘Neath the sun… ‘neath the stars…
‘Neath the sky…As we go…
This we know…God is nigh…”

 

The sender of the foregoing added:  “I, too, have felt the chills while listening to ‘Taps,’ but I have never seen all the words to the song until now.  I didn’t even know there was more than one verse.  I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn’t know if you had either so I thought I’d pass it along.  I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

Remember those ‘Lost ‘and ‘Harmed’ while serving their country and also those presently serving in the Armed Forces.  The request has more to it:  Please send this on after a short prayer for our soldiers… The foregoing is what inspired me as a columnist to do  what I  could:  “pass this on.”

Women and men in the military have rendered and still continue to render indescribable service to all members of America’s citizenry. Memorial Day marks the remembrances due all branches of the service. 
Honor and respect for those fighting men and women should be enshrined in perpetuity for all generations and their generations after!

 

http://www.philippinenews.com/article.php?id=4433

Flag-draped coffins and Memorial Day


Published: 
May 24, 2009 | Author:  Ludy Ongkeko

 

Note:  The informative piece was sent to this columnist by Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz, (AFP, ret.), who was one of the very first officers incarcerated by the government under martial law after he defied the nascent dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.  On these shores, we are reminded of the last Monday of May, historically called Memorial Day, observed as a holiday, focused on women and men of the military who responded to the call of God and country.

The information about the flag, why the flag is folded the way it is and what the meaning of each fold is so enlightening.  The message from Commodore Alcaraz is inspirational:

“I think those of you who have children, grandchildren will be doing them a great service by showing and reading the information.  How blessed we are to live in the United States of America.” The piece continues:  “Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

“Have you ever noticed how the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times?  You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day.

“The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life. “The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

“The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world. “The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

“The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, ‘Our country in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.’ “The 6th fold is for where people’s  hearts lie.  It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, of their republic.

(Note to reader: there was no mention of the 7th fold.)

The 8th fold is an attribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

“The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood and Mothers.  For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

“The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

“The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

“The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God.
“The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their

nation’s motto, ‘In God We Trust.’

“After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.” Traditionally, widows and widowers are on the receiving end of the flag after it is “completely folded and tucked in.”  Should they be absent, other close members of their family are called upon to represent them.

In  introducing the information received from Commodore Alcaraz, a Philippine hero, this columnist says the knowledge  was passed on with a view to inform the younger generations so they will know why the flag is folded thus on flag-draped coffins.  The traditions and ways of doing what are “musts,” proclaim how deeply meaningful they are as they remind us of history.

The flag has, since time immemorial, been referred to as the symbol of “liberty and freedom.”  A formidable reminder of the significance of the flag and its role, the pledge of allegiance makes every citizen reflect on the blessings when recited:  “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Memorial Day is for all war heroes, including those heroes of the peace. American soldiers put their lives on the line for all of America.  They deserve fitting remembrances and more; they deserve to be given a place of honor in the hearts of the American people for all time

From: POW-MIA InterNetwork

Date: May 27, 2003

"Filipino WWII vets feel denied
They fought for America but receive few benefits.

By JOHN GITTELSOHN The Orange County Register

About 80 people used to attend meetings of the Association of Filipino Veterans of Orange County, but 25 is a good turnout these days. Memorial Day has become an increasingly significant holiday for these veterans, whose losses mount each year.

Only 50,000 of an estimated 400,000 Filipino World War II veterans survive. But demoralization, as much as time, has taken a heavy toll because natives of the former American colony who fought with the U.S. Army are still not eligible for the same benefits as other World War II veterans.

"We did everything the same as the people in the U.S. Army," said Fortunato C. Rivera, 79, founder of the local Filipino Veterans Association, who served as a corporal with the 14th Infantry Regiment, a guerrilla unit organized on American orders to resist the Japanese from 1942 to 1945.

"Yet after the war, we were classified as different. When our services were not needed anymore, we were not worth anything."

President George W. Bush pledged last week to extend benefits to Filipino veterans like Rivera, part of a package of rewards offered to the Philippines for cooperating in the current war on terrorism. But veterans like Rivera, who has campaigned for equal treatment since 1992, have heard similar promises before.

"Bush's words sound inspiring, but we have heard a lot of that from officials," said Rivera, who became a U.S. postal worker after moving to Anaheim in 1972. "But there are always reasons these things don't happen."

Bush is offering full benefits only to the 13,000 Filipino World War II veterans living in the United States, not the 37,000 survivors in the Philippines. The plan, which must pass Congress, would cost more than $60 million a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Extending full benefits to the veterans in the Philippines would cost $352 million a year. Congress cut off benefits such as education and home loans for Filipino veterans in 1946, when the Philippines received independence. Some benefits have been restored in recent years, such as limited disability and military burial rights.

"This is a case where justice delayed is justice denied," said Tagumpay Nanadiego, 83, a retired brigadier general now living in Orange who headed the Philippine Embassy's veterans affairs office in Washington, D.C., until 1999.

Nanadiego said he began receiving $47.40 a month in 1988 for disabilities he sustained as a prisoner of war, a survivor of the Bataan "Death March," which killed up to 11,000 Americans and Filipinos. He now gets $103 a month for the diabetes, arthritis and strokes that he said doctors attribute to the malaria, hunger and tuberculosis he endured as a POW.

"We were fighting under orders of the Americans," he said. "Imagine suffering so much and then learning later that you're segregated from the other people who are returning home as heroes."

In 1941, Ramon Alcaraz was commissioned as an officer in the Philippine Commonwealth Army under U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. He earned a silver star in combat for shooting down three Japanese planes. He captained torpedo boats that protected Gen. Douglas MacArthur's retreat as the Japanese invaded the Philippines. He survived a Japanese prison camp and joined the Philippine resistance, fighting until MacArthur's return.

But when Alcaraz moved here in 1975, he learned that he didn't qualify for a veteran's home loan because Filipinos who fought in the war were not considered U.S. veterans. "We joined willingly out of gratitude for what we called Mother America," Alcaraz, 88, said. "This was a betrayal of trust by the Americans." Alcaraz rose to the rank of rear admiral in the Philippine Navy but fled to California after running afoul of President Ferdinand Marcos, who was ousted in a 1986 popular uprising.

Photographs in Alcaraz's hillside home show him wearing a West Point-style uniform as a cadet at the Philippines Military Academy, posing with presidents of the Philippines and shaking hands with President Eisenhower.

He became a U.S. citizen and made a comfortable living in Orange County as a real estate investor. But he continues to campaign for benefits for his fellow veterans, testifying twice before Congress and joining protests outside the federal building in Los Angeles.

"I don't need the compensation," he said. "I'm living comfortably. But I'm fighting for my poor comrades who are waiting to die. Why were their services disregarded? Why hasn't anything happened?"

CONTACT US: (714) 796-7969 or jgittels@ocregister.com

©2003 The Orange County Register

"Anthology of Letters and Speeches of Commodore Alcaraz, Exponent of Seapower." By Ernesto O. Rodriguez

Orange, CA April 15, 1999

http://pinoyhistory.proboards.com (Historical Topics: Veterans)

FAIR USE

Pursuant to Title 17 U.S.C. 107, other copyrighted work is provided for educational purposes, research, critical comment, or debate without profit or payment. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for your own purposes beyond the 'fair use' exception, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner

WEBPAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

FAIR USE

Pursuant to Title 17 U.S.C. 107, other copyrighted work is provided for educational purposes, research, critical comment, or debate without profit or payment. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for your own purposes beyond the 'fair use' exception, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner