New Year message of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, released to the press, January 1, 1943:

The year 1944 finds the Philippines a sovereign state, and as a free and independent people at last we hail the new year in the highest, but most sober, spirits. The reality of the independence and freedom that we attained in the year 1943 has given us a new vista of the future, new courage, a new lease on life, and we face the year 1944 determined to make the reality of that priceless possession permeate, ennoble and enrich our life as an Oriental people, enabling us to contribute our bit, however humble, to the sum total of human happiness as envisioned by the new world order based on peace, liberty and moral justice.

Nor does this new year represent to us merely a conventional marker for the facility of human reckoning. As the third new year since the outbreak of this sacred war, to us it also signifies the glorious anniversary of the advent of a new era in our history, an era which began two years ago with the Japanese occupation of the Philippines when we were first drawn into the benevolent circle of the New Order by the solicitude of the great Japanese Empire.

Events have transpired so swiftly and so happily since then that, before two years had run their course, we were enabled to form a government of our own invested with all the rights and prerogatives of sovereignty. Thus our inalienable right to lead a free and independent existence, long outraged by western colonizers but which was recognized from the beginning of the Japanese military occupation of the Philippines, was solemnly and formally confirmed.

Only two months and a half have elapsed since the independence for which we had labored and struggled for centuries became ours, but in that crowded space of two months and a half, we have earnestly endeavored to make that government reflect the image of our native being. We have mightily attempted to make it respond to our needs. We have unsparingly striven to make it pulse with the vibrant beat of our national aspirations. We have conscientiously tried to make it serve realistically the actual interests of our people. We have essayed to make it promise the fulfillment in the future of many a spiritual yearning of our people as yet ungratified. Above all, we have endeavored to make it essentially and intrinsically ours, animated by racial consciousness and the spirit of free men, and strengthened by the brawn and sinews of stalwart nation-builders.

As the old year closes and the new one begins, it is fitting that we take stock of ourselves and the progress we have attained as an independent member nation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Our course has been charted; we shall steer our nation along that course guided by the ideals that illumine our way clearly amidst the perils that beset our small nation in a world at war. We know the dangers ahead and the difficulties at hand. But having won our freedom, we are resolved to keep it, to maintain it, to use it as the principal instrument for our happiness and welfare, and to convert it into a veritable bulwark of human liberty, equity and the true spiritual values of mankind.

God helping, we will make the new year a year of accomplishment that shall impregnate our new Republic with all the virtues and qualities of a good, clean, wise and human government, steeped in ethical and moral principles, a real sanctuary of our hopes and ideals, a repository of our rights and traditions, and one of the firm cornerstones of Greater East Asia.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library