April 17, 1942

Capas, Tarlac, FCC

 

 

There is only one faucet for our regiment. At nine o’clock today, the Japs opened the main water switch. The boys rushed with their canteens. Some boys were badly hurt in the mad dash for the faucet. Then suddenly, the Japs turned it off again.

Col. Alba has organized the water distribution because of this incident. From now on, a large receptacle will be placed directly under the faucet. The water collected will be equally divided among the boys.

Went to the “hospital” to visit my cousin, Tirso Matias. He was lying on the wooden floor like all the hundreds of sick prisoners. His face was pale and his eyes were yellow. He could hardly talk, and he asked in a very weak voice: “Have you got quinine?” I had none.

This hospital was no hospital. It was really a morgue for those about to die. All the sick were made to lie beside each other on the wooden floor. There were no beds, no medicines, no pillows, sheets, nor blankets. Everybody who was sick was sent to that sweathouse rehardless of the kind of illness. There was one soldier groaning because of an acute appendicitis. Another was hollering for water, but there was no water. One had cerebral malaria, and he kept shivering and twisting. An Igorot soldier had dysentery, and the floor around was wet and covered with flies.

(later)

The sun is scorching. My body is covered with dust because every time the wind blows, it sweeps the sand. This is like a desert.

I am very thirsty. I was not able to drink from my canteen cup this morning because I dropped it. The water spilled on the ground.

Can hear the drone of many planes above. Jap bombers. Probably heading for Corregidor. It must be hell in the Rock. How long will it stand?

It is terrible to see the reactions of shell-shocked soldiers. Just now, one of the boys suddenly trembled at the sound of the planes. His eyes dilated. His facial muscles started to shake involuntarily. His face had a queer, lost, nervous expression.

About 200 died today. Many more will die. I am sure it will reach thousands.

What are our leaders doing? Why don’t the Filipino officials make strong representations? Thousands of young lives are being lost every hour…

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