January 24, 1942

The Japanese mean business. They have formed a central government, for areas under military control, with Jorge B. Vargas as chairman. I pity Jorge. He’s got a tough job. He’ll have to know how to dance to two different bands playing different music at the same time.

Immediate step to harvest the standing rice crops in Central Luzon must be taken, otherwise there may be a food shortage. The people don’t seem to realize that we have to help ourselves or bust. No more food comes from abroad. In fact, we are feeding the Army.

One does not have to be St. Thomas Aquinas to comprehend this reasoning. Even in normal times, the Philippines was not self-sufficient in rice. We did not produce enough. We had to import it from Saigon, Thailand and Burma. Presently, under war conditions, with many fields left unplanted or burnt, with transportation dislocated, with farmhands flocking to the city, with about a million Japanese more soldiers and civilians, how can the Philippines have enough rice for itself?

If our high government officials do not face this problem, these isles will still see dark, lean days. I am afraid that at present they are all too busy with policies, appointments and state dinners to be able to give due attention to this question. The procrastination of today may yet be the predicament of tomorrow.

Do I sound like a pessimist? A prophet of doom? Call me by any name. Names do not matter. They do not alter the fact. The day will come when blood will be shed for rice.

There are bombers again. Plenty of them. I can hear their drone. There goes another wave. And another. How many boys will die when they release their cargoes? Spare my boy, Lord! Must stop writing. Lolita is asking for her rosary.

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