WWII DIARY OF

COMMODORE RAMON A. ALCARAZ

FEBRUARY 1943

 

 

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.

 

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