Manifesto to the Filipino people of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Manila, January 9, 1944.
TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE:
On the day of my induction into office, I made clear the guiding principles as well as the objectives of my administration. I wish to renew at the beginning of the year 1944, faithful adherence to those guiding principles and firm determination to attain those objectives, however hard the task may be. I renew my determination not only to preserve the nation but also to lead the people to a full enjoyment of the rights and privileges to which they are entitled under an independent government.
I have an abiding faith in the wisdom of our people and I am confident that, with clear understanding of the guiding principles and the true aims and objectives of this Republic, they will support us and cooperate with us.
Inspired by this faith and this confidence, I made representations to the Japanese military authorities shortly after my inauguration for the grant of a general amnesty so that those who had been imprisoned for political offenses might regain their freedom and those who had been in hiding for differences of opinion might resume their normal life and cooperate with us in the building of the Republic of the Philippines. The proclamation of general amnesty was issued, and many of those who might have suffered seclusion, prosecution or persecution are now happily cooperating with us.
That was not all that I did. In order to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and properties resulting from military operations, I assumed, upon the establishment of the Republic, full responsibility for the maintenance of peace and order so that punitive military expeditions may be discontinued. I had hoped that our countrymen would realize that unless we all exerted our supreme effort to avoid hunger and starvation, we would ultimately and inevitably disappear as a race and as a people.
With deep concern I have observed that some of our countrymen, antagonistic in attitude and hostile in spirit, are still delaying and seriously endangering by their pernicious acts the realization of the constructive plans and the objectives of our Government. Little do they realize that if they do not abandon their pernicious activities, this Government would be driven to the necessity of utilizing its available armed forces to bring them to reason. This would mean plunging the country into the tragedy of having Filipinos fight Filipinos. Posterity will doubtless pass judgment on my acts, but I will venture to say right now that it will point its accusing finger to those of our countrymen who, blinded by false promises and inspired by sinister motives, have refused to understand the true situation and to do their part even when their cooperation was most needed.
Manila today is suffering from an acute shortage of rice. We have enough rice to feed our people and can produce enough to insure an adequate supply for the future if planters are left unmolested and profiteers are brought to law. The present increasing shortage, however, has been largely the result of the illicit activities of certain groups of selfish citizens who are bent on enriching themselves at the expense of the suffering poor by dealing in the black market. It is also due to those who, not knowing the harm that their activities are doing to their own brethren, are threatening our rice planters with death if they turn their rice over to the Government. In either case, the sure victims are the poor and the needy, for the rich can always pay the price of everything they want.
With the security and welfare of the people as the supreme aim of our government, we are determined to aid those who need our help and protect those who deserve our protection. We are particularly and uncompromisingly determined to prevent starvation by insuring the supply of rice and other foodstuffs and will mobilize all the means at our disposal and all the power at our command to attain this end. If drastic remedies must be resorted to, we will resort to them to protect the people and preserve the Nation.
If to accomplish our objectives we must commandeer rice mills, threshers, means of transportation, and even rice fields to make them produce and compel the people to work, we will not hesitate to do so. The order of the day is not merely to live, but to help others live.
I love my country as much as any other Filipino loves it and I have no other ambition than to serve my people faithfully and well. Any Filipino who claims that he loves his country should do no less. The Philippines is facing a crisis which can be averted only if all sound-thinking Filipinos do their part. As for me, I will do my utmost so that no man, woman or child in this country may die from want of food.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library