Address of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, before the medical conference held at the Philippine Normal Auditorium. Manila, December 20, 1943.
YOUR EXCELLENCY, MR. AMBASSADOR, DR. SISON, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, DELEGATES TO THIS MEDICAL CONFERENCE, SCIENTISTS HERE PRESENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I am very happy at this opportunity to say a few words on this occasion. Officially, I feel it is my duty to express to the organizer of this conference the appreciation of the Republic of the Philippines for holding this medical conference in commemoration of the establishment of that Republic. Officialy and personally, I desire to express also my appreciation of the invitation to have me appear as the patron of this conference.
This medical conference in my opinion has a three-fold significance. Firstly, it proves the serenity and the determination of medical men and scientists in this part of the world to get together in the midst of a total war and study our problems with a view to evolving ways and means calculated to promote the happiness of communities and peoples and to enable them to live a more wholesome and a more abundant life. Secondly, it proves also the self-sufficiency of Greater East Asia in men, in scientific men, in medical men, that not only can they got together for the purpose of solving medical problems common in this region, but that we have mentalities and geniuses and able scientific men in this part of the world, that we do not have to look to the West for inspiration and guidance; that we are self-sufficient in this part of the world and that we can remain planted here in Greater East Asia without that inspiration and guidance because, after all, Christianity itself had its origin in the East and that after all the East is the cradle of human civilization. Thirdly, and as indicated by His Excellency, the Ambassador, this conference is also evidence of the fact that the peoples of Greater East Asia are in a position to carry into effect and to carry into execution the great purposes incorporated in that great human charter, the Joint Declaration of the nations of Greater East Asia; namely, the development of our own culture, the enhancement of our own progress, and without the necessity of being exclusive and without the necessity of isolating ourselves, the contribution to the universality of the heritage of mankind. The contribution to the science of the world is the contribution to the general progress of mankind. And so, gentlemen, I am happy that this medical congress is meeting in the City of Manila, nonetheless the capital of a new-born Republic. Political leaders may found countries, may formulate political institutions and political theories, and yet no country can ever expect really to become great without having behind the political leaders a great group of men, scientifically minded, who can plan out the enhancement and the progress and the happiness of the community. Political leaders, military leaders even may march on from victory to victory, conquer territories and peoples and yet in the course of their march for territorial aggrandizement or for any legitimate purpose motivating the war, the military leader must have behind him men of science because it is known that disease has caused more ravages than bullets. The scientific men, the medical men, the surgeons must take care of the people who are fighting, must take care of their health, must lay out a plan for the military leader.
Julius Caesar conquered Gaul, conquered Africa and conquered the known world in their time; so with Napoleon and so with Alexander the Great, who wept because there was no more world for him to conquer. But their conquests as recorded in the history of human civilization have been transient and temporary. Greater than Caesar, greater than Alexander, and greater than Napoleon are the conquerors of the organic and inorganic world. Greater than them are Pasteur, Koch, Hata, Noguchi, and in our own country Anacleto del Rosario, Quintos, Tavera and many others. And so we have to rely, in the ultimate analysis, upon the scientific men of our country here for the development and the enhancement of the health and the protection of our people. As a result of the war there is, as you know, a scarcity of food. The diet of our people is deficient both in quantity and in quality. It is a matter of common sense that as there is deficiency in food both in quantity and quality and that unless that deficiency is properly remedied scientifically by men who are competent to tackle that problem, the result will be the weakening of the organic constitution of the individual and, therefore, the rendering of the human body susceptible to the attacks of diseases and other ailments. And with the scarcity of medicine, especially in the case of the Philippines which relied mostly on imported medicinal products, it is clear that the situation of the Filipinos in the midst of this total and major war is serious. I, therefore, cannot but welcome the great scientists of Japan who have honored us with their presence on this occasion, because I am sure that, with their cooperation and with a joint discussion and deliberation of the many vital problems affecting health, the group of medical men and scientists representing the Philippines will be placed in a better position to solve these difficult problems that are now confront the young Republic of the Philippines. Matter is indestructible, history is a mere repetition, and t science is but a revelation of the laws of Nature. We are looking to the scientific men, we are looking to the medical men in their laboratories, in their clinics and in their study rooms for this revelation of the laws of Nature considering climatic conditions and environment peculiar to this part of the world. We are confident that with that spirit of abnegation of the scientist, with that patience which should characterize a scientific mind, with that love for work and determination to succeed, we can, no doubt with our abundance of materials in the Philippines, with our scientific men in this country, a group of men prepared and patriotic, who are always ready to devote the time and the energy and the spirit that are necessary in their laboratories, in their clinics and in their study rooms to compel Nature to reveal her laws which is nothing but the discovery of new methods and the discovery of new formulae, we can, I am sure, find the solutions to our problems. The proper utilization of our own genius and our own mentality and the adoption of methods and formulae that are necessary, in order to meet the local situation, I think is the greatest need of the Philippines today and is eagerly awaited by the country from the medical men.
We must stimulate research and investigation, because without research and investigation there can be no science, there can be no progress, especially at this time when we are confronted with a scarcity of material and scarcity of food. It behooves each and every scientific man, not only of the Philippines, but also of Greater East Asia, to make use of his genius and of his mentality in order to save his race from an impending catastrophe which cannot be prevented by political or military leaders alone. And so, for the progress of the Philippines, for the progress of Japan, and for the progress of the different nations of Greater East Asia, and in fact for the progress of the whole world, scientific men must come together, bring about, not necessarily the renaissance of science, but the improvement and the discovery, additional discovery, of scientific methods not so much for the glory of the nations to which they belong, but also for the glory of mankind, because whatever is discovered will benefit not only a group of people in particular regions or localities but also the people of other regions. It is for this reason, that I was glad to come before you, ladies and gentlemen: it is for this that I encouraged the holding of this medical conference. I have seen and examined the different topics announced in your beautiful program and it seems to me that if some problems presented could not only be read but could also be investigated so positive results could be reaped, the positive results announced, the positive results carried into execution, so that the people may feel the benefit of science and discovery, there can be any greater and more humanitarian service that the members or delegates of this conference can render to their respective countries and to humanity at large. Will you allow me, therefore, to welcome you and to congratulate you on the splendid idea of holding this conference in the City of Manila, and to thank you for holding this conference in commemoration of the establishment of our Republic and for making the Presided of the young Republic the patron of this conference.
I thank you.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library