The Official Month

THE program of reorganizing the Government has been pushed through with the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 11, 12, and 24 and with the approval of Act No. 10. The first order prescribes new office hours, for government officers and employees to attain simplicity and efficiency in the service, and incidentally, partially to solve transportation problems; the second designates the rank of Director and Assistant Directors of the Constabulary; the third provides for the reorganization of ministries, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government of the Republic; while the act empowers the President to effect changes in the Government machinery.

DEEPLY concerned, as he has time and again said, with the national welfare, President Jose P. Laurel has this month created a Flood Control Board “to minimize the danger to life and damage to property caused by floods and the erosive action of rivers and the sea” and a Medicinal Plants Committee to popularize the use and culture of medicinal plants. In Administrative Order No. 9, he ordered the cultivation of all vacant, available lands in the country.

SPEAKING at the Medical Conference held on December 20, 1943, the President expressed the hope that Filipino men of science may discover medicinal plants to protect Filipinos from diseases.

THREE days later, he made happy many poor families and victims of war, when he gave a fete for indigent folk in Malacañan, distributing gifts among the less fortunate of his countrymen. Declared he in that fete, “Salamat mga kababayan, ipagpaumanhin ninyo ang mga maipamumudbod namin sa inyo, kung iyan man ay maliit, ang puso naman namin ang dala-dala ng mga maliliit na bagay na iyan.”

THE following day, Malacañan received one million square yards of cotton cloth, a part of the gift of the Imperial Japanese Government to the Republic of the Philippines on the attainment of its independence. Malacañan announced that it intended to “distribute this gift principally in the provinces in order that the agrarian people will obtain a proper share of prime commodities.”

AS the official charged to relieve the people of their hardships, the Food Administrator fixed the price of palay at ₱8 per cavan in the Provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Tarlac. He authorized the manager of the National Rice and Corn Corporation to issue permits to local government officials who need rice for the inhabitants of their respective districts.

PRESIDENT Laurel also signed Acts Nos. 13 and 14. The former prohibits “the cutting of fruit trees in any land, public or private, where there is located a spring which can be used for irrigation or water supply purposes”; the latter penalizes any injury on carabaos and cattle, which renders them unfit for work.

ORDER No. 1 of the Minister of Public Works and Communications regulates the schedule of fares for animal and human-drawn vehicles used for public hire, to enable operators to earn a reasonable income without forcing the public to pay exorbitant rates.

THE roll of appointments includes those of Pedro Sabido as Acting Executive Secretary and Jose G. Sanvictores as Food Administrator; of the members of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan; of the directors and assistant directors of the Bureau of Political Affairs and Bureau of General Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and of the Chairman and Member of the newly-created Board of Nutritional Research.

TO attain peace and order, the President, on December 15, appealed to all Filipinos still engaged in guerrilla activities to take advantage of the General Amnesty Proclamation. Said he: “But our faith in these our countrymen who have not yet responded still remains unshaken. We have no quarrel with them. Fundamentally, we have one common cause. We have been separated from one another because we all love our freedom more than anything else. They want to keep that freedom in the way they believe is honorable and patriotic. And so do we. But it is clear now beyond argument that this freedom is here within the pale of law and order, where it is real, tangible, and fruitful, and not where they think it is, for it is only the ghost of liberty and freedom that walks with them in their solitary exile.”

PROCLAMATION No. 5 provides for the redemption of notes issued by the Bank of the Philippines still remaining in circulation. Administrative Order No. 11 extends the period of registering emergency notes in Leyte to March 31, 1944.

FOUR celebrations were held this month. December 7 was Kalibapi Day, during which President Laurel said: “Our primordial duty at this time is to unite as a people and dedicate our total national strength to the building of a republic capable of fulfilling its obligations as a member of the federation of East Asiatic nations. This presupposes hard work. . . . But, water supply purposes”; the latter penalizes any injury on carabaos and cattle, which renders them unfit for work.

ORDER No. 1 of the Minister of Public Works and Communications regulates the schedule of fares for animal and human-drawn vehicles used for public hire, to enable operators to earn a reasonable income without forcing the public to pay exorbitant rates.

THE roll of appointments includes those of Pedro Sabido as Acting Executive Secretary and Jose G. Sanvictores as Food Administrator; of the members of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan; of the directors and assistant directors of the Bureau of Political Affairs and Bureau of General Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and of the Chairman and Member of the newly-created Board of Nutritional Research.

TO attain peace and order, the President, on December 15, appealed to all Filipinos still engaged in guerrilla activities to take advantage of the General Amnesty Proclamation. Said he: “But our faith in these our countrymen who have not yet responded still remains unshaken. We have no quarrel with them. Fundamentally, we have one common cause. We have been separated from one another because we all love our freedom more than anything else. They want to keep that freedom in the way they believe is honorable and patriotic. And so do we. But it is clear now beyond argument that this freedom is here within the pale of law and order, where it is real, tangible, and fruitful, and not where they think it is, for it is only the ghost of liberty and freedom that walks with them in their solitary exile.”

PROCLAMATION No. 5 provides for the redemption of notes issued by the Bank of the Philippines still remaining in circulation. Administrative Order No. 11 extends the period of registering emergency notes in Leyte to March 31, 1944.

FOUR celebrations were held this month. December 7 was Kalibapi Day, during which President Laurel said: “Our primordial duty at this time is to unite as a people and dedicate our total national strength to the building of a republic capable of fulfilling its obligations as a member of the federation of East Asiatic nations. This presupposes hard work. . . . But, whatever hard work we may have to endure and whatever sacrifices we may have to make would be only insignificant compared to the blessings that our country and people would enjoy in the years to come.”

December 8 was Greater East Asia Day. President Laurel enumerated the “binding tenets that should govern our life in these days of trial when realities must be met with ideals.” He added: “The Government of the Republic has all the vital problems of the people at heart; we suffer with all those who suffer. But while we are determined to ameliorate the present living conditions of our masses with every means at our disposal and to the limit of our powers, our effort would not be completely successful unless the masses themselves cooperate with us, unless all of us respect each other’s right to live decently and enjoy the fruits of his labor, unless all of us help each other mutually, unless some of us examine their conscience clearly and stop molesting those engaged in productive enterprise, unless some of us abandon their crass materialism and stop unscrupulously making profits at the expense of their fellowmen.”

The appeal for unity embodied in this speech was reiterated in his talk on the propagation of the National Language.

On December 30 he rendered a tribute to the greatest Filipino hero and martyr. In his invocation to Dr. Jose Rizal, he said, “. . . from the high heavens where you are a now, we beseech you to pray for us Filipinos so that through your lessons, we may a draw inspiration from your hardships and sacrifices. We pray you not to abandon us in this our hour of need so that we can in the midst of hardships, in the midst of hunger, save the poor and needy. Pray for us to God to whom you are so near, to give us courage in heart and spirit so that our Government may be directed according to His wishes, so that it may render service to the Filipino people, and so that your dream of independence may forever be cherished by us because during your lifetime the independence of your country is the same independence for which we have thirsted for many years.”

EXECUTIVE Order No. 22 prescribes that the biography of the “Great Malayan” by Dr. Rafael Palma be a required textbook in all high schools, colleges, and universities, and that a competition be opened for the best translations of the biography into English and Tagalog.

OTHER presidential actions relative to national unity are the approval of Act No. 11, declaring as national cemetery, “Libangang Pambansa,” a portion of the Concentration Camp of Filipino Prisoners of War in Barrio O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac; and Act No. 17, prescribing the Coat-of-Arms of the Republic of the Philippines. A black and white reproduction of the new Coat-of-Arms can be seen on the first page of this issue of the Official Gazette. The President also issued Executive Orders Nos. 17 and 18 dealing with the description, specifications, and the proper usage and display of the Filipino flag.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library