I asked Madrigal whether he had seen and talked to Osmeña and why Osmeña went to the United States. He said Osmeña had to go to Washington on account of the attitude of Senator Tydings, The Chairman of Insular Affairs. The U.S. Senator had said that we had to decide whether or not we wanted independence; and that if we chose independence, they would no longer meddle nor help. We would have to run our ship alone. If we wanted them to assist in the rehabilitation, we would have to ask the U.S. to withdraw their promise of independence or at least ask for the postponement of independence.
Coming from Tydings, it is quite a surprise. Independence was a settled question. We were to have it on July 4, 1946. Tydings was one of the authors of the bill (Tydings-McDuffie) providing for that independence. Why raise it up again? Why not just say, “Since you are going to have your independence, the United States can no longer help you in the rehabilitation.” We suppose that Tydings represents the opinion of his committee and the sentiment of the American people.
The statement of Tydings will cause a distinct surprise and disappointment to the friends of America in the Philippines. Before the coming of the Americans, almost every Filipino was waiting for the Americans, for many reasons. One of them is that some believed that it is of great material advantage to be connected with America. They believed that commercial preference like free trade would be continued. Some have connections with officials and employees of American firms and they wanted the Americans to come to be able to return to their former jobs. Unfortunately, there are many others whose motives were not very holy. They believed they will receive back salaries or back pay, pensions and indemnities for properties destroyed on account of the war. They believed that the United States would help us even after granting us independence. They consider it as some sort of compensation or recognition of the firm stand of the Filipinos in favor of America and the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Filipino lives for the triumph of American arms. To those people, the stand of America as expressed by Tydings will constitute a great disappointment.
Again the question of independence comes up. This question has divided us in the past and has been the cause of the stagnation of the development of Philippine economics. Instead of devoting their whole time and energy to the economic development of the country our public men devote their time to the discussion of political questions. Again, we will be losing time—time we need so very badly to prepare and carry out the program of rehabilitation and reconstruction. We should have a complete program for the economic development of our country.
We will again be divided and perhaps the campaign and speeches will be even more lively and bitter. I, for one, am in favor of independence right now. If America wants to assist in our work of rehabilitation, she can do so even with independence. Is not the sacrifice made by the Filipinos, the loss of tens of thousands of the flower of our youth, enough to merit assistance? But the Americans want the postponement of independence before they would help us. We are not stupid enough not to know that postponement means permanent retention of the Philippines by America.
In my opinion, the postponement of independence will merely delay the foundation of our nation. Whether we like it or not independence is coming. If we turn back and ignore the patriotism and sacrifice made by our forefathers to attain that which of right belongs to us—independence—and we now become anti-independence or propose the postponement of independence, you can be sure that other people will take up the cudgels. We may defeat them now because of our influence and means. But in the long run they will be the victors because their cause is just. It is the only goal that any self-respecting people can strive and fight for. The sacrifices for the sake of attaining independence were great and such sacrifices should not be in vain. Independence will come whether we like it or not. If so, let us begin early. Let us lay the foundation now for a united and strong nation. Why delay? Let us tackle fearlessly the problems now confronting us, and if America does not wish to assist us, then let us do it with our own energy and resources. We are not wanting in these, but there have been no concerted and well-defined programs for the full and vigorous use of such energy and resources.
Three news reports were received of interest to us.
The first is the formal surrender of Germany. It was received with joy, not only because we want the Allies to win, but also we believe that with Germany eliminated and the war in Europe ended, the war in the Pacific cannot last much longer. As a matter of fact, a good portion of the Army, Navy and their equipment is being transferred to the Pacific.
The second news is the occupation of Baguio by the American Army without much of a fight. We were worried because of friends and high government officials who are still there. We learned, however, with great satisfaction, the Ministers Emilio Tirona and Arsenio Luz, and Vice Minister Pio Pedrosa were safe and have already been brought to Manila to the concentration camp. It seems that the Japanese did not massacre or kill anybody before retreating as they did in Manila. This is was because of the fact that the Defense Commander of Baguio was General Babe, a very old retired general who had been sent to the Philippines to be the adviser of the Philippine Constabulary. He was a very kind gentleman with a feeling of true friendship for the Filipinos. When he was placed in charge of the defense of Baguio, we expected that no serious defense of Baguio would be made.
We began to ask each other whether it would have been better for us to have remained in Baguio like Ministers Tirona and Luz. The unanimous opinion seems to be that notwithstanding our hardships and sufferings experienced during our trip from Baguio to Tubao and the loss of almost all our personal belongings, we still do not regret our having come as we were able to avoid the dangers caused by almost continuous bombing and shelling, the menace coming from retreating Japanese and from men who were not real “guerrillas” but whose only purpose was to loot or rob other people.
The third news is to the effect that Balete Pass had already been taken by the Americans and that they are now in Sta. Fe. It took a long time for the Americans to capture Balete, which is a strategic ground for the defense forces. Now that this difficult natural barrier had been taken, it is now expected that the Americans will go faster in the campaign for the occupation of the Cagayan Valley.