Speech delivered by the Acting Director General of the Kalibapi Camilo Osias, over Station PIAM, in connection with the first anniversary of the Kalibapi, Manila, December 7, 1943:

Tomorrow the Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas, or the Kalibapi for short, will be exactly a year old, for it was on December 8, 1942, that the Association was inaugurated. It is only meet and proper that on the eve of its first anniversary we pause awhile to ponder upon the significance of its establishment and take stock of its achievements as a popular agency in the promotion of the general welfare and in the pursuit of our national ideals.

The Kalibapi was born of a dire need for creating a new Philippines out of the ruins and debris of the old which the Greater East Asia War, declared one year earlier, had left in its wake. Countrysides had been laid waste, farms had been devastated, towns and cities had been scorched out of existence. The normal course of civilized life had been disrupted and men, women, and children had left their homes to seek protection from the ravages of war in mountains and forests. Then when victorious Imperial Japanese forces once more restored order, people flocked to the cities, especially Manila. This flow of population to the cities did not, however, mean a return to normalcy. On the other hand, it aggravated the problems, social, economic, and otherwise, which population centers must face whenever there is undue overcrowding, inadequate transportation and other facilities, and uncertainty and insufficiency in the food supply. The farms on which cities naturally depended for food were neglected. Instead of returning to productive work, people preferred to wait passively for the issue of a conflict that was and is proving to be long drawn-out. On the other hand, some uninformed elements of our population continued to hide in the mountain fastnesses and to offer sporadic or futile resistance.

Such was the dismal picture of our country when the Kalibapi was launched to brighten up the scene. Since then the record of the Kalibapi as an agency for nation-wide rehabilitation and reconstruction has been clean and above reproach. It has been partly instrumental in the work of pacification. Where the exercise of sheer military force has failed, the Kalibapi, employing the methods of enlightenment and persuasion, has succeeded in making guerrilla bands see the futility of further resistance and the need of joining hands with their fellow countrymen in the ennobling task of rebuilding their country. In this manner it began its program of national unification that was eventually to lead up to a series of transcendent events culminating in the independence of the Philippines. I need not dwell at length on the epoch making developments of the last six months” To anyone who has gone through that stirring period and realized its significance, the influence of the Kalibapi in shaping the course of those epochal events has been indubitably patent. On June 19, 1943, upon the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces in the Philippines a Special National Convention of the Kalibapi choose twenty prominent Filipinos to form the Preparatory Commission for Philippine Independence, which in less than three months completed work on a constitution. This historic document was promptly ratified by a Special General Assembly of the Kalibapi. Again on September 20, 1943, the Kalibapi took charge of the national elections for members of the National Assembly provided for in the Constitution. Six days later the Assemblymen-elect met for the first time, elected their Speaker in the person of the Honorable Benigno S. Aquino, hitherto Director General of the Kalibapi, and in the same unanimous fashion chose Dr. Jose P. Laurel as the President of the Republic of the Philippines, the man who best personifies the spirit of a new Philippines recouping its material and spiritual losses brought about by a global conflict.

When on October 14 the Republic of the Philippines was formally inaugurated, the work of the Kalibapi, far from being ended, only assumed greater significance. The tasks of national reconstruction and rehabilitation to which the Association originally addressed itself must continue apace, and the unification of our people must likewise be pursued with greater vigor if we are to make the foundations of the Republic permanent and secure. The Kalibapi has thus launched a program whereby these and others of its noble aims and purposes might be attained.

One of these objectives is stepping-up the campaign for adult membership so that at least 20 per cent of the Philippine population will be Kalibapi members. On the basis of our present population of 18,000,000, the membership drive, therefore, hopes to have 3,600,000 within its fold. Of this number 33i per cent, it is hoped, will be women. On the other hand, the campaign for the Junior Kalibapi expects to secure for this junior organization twice as many members as there are pupils and students presently enrolled in the public and private schools of the country. When the Kalibapi membership reaches these proportions, the Association will have attained a highly representative character.

The Kalibapi objective of helping put the country squarely on its economic feet has been closely associated with its campaign for increased food production. A definitive step already taken in this direction is the plan, already publicized, to make this year’s celebration of Rizal Day a fruit-tree planting day, on which 1,000,000 fruit trees will be planted all over the country. The increment to the country’s food supply and economic wealth by such a practical project is so obvious that further elucidation is superfluous. Its moral and educational values are, needless to say, incalculable.

To implement further the steps already taken in the interest of greater national cohesion. the Kalibapi has recently launched a nationwide campaign to so propagate Tagalog as the Filipino language that 4,000,000 Filipinos, apart from those reached by the schools, will be given instruction in 1944 in that language. A list of 1,000 basic words or expressions in Tagalog selected on the basis of their utility, frequency, cruciality, and similarity with words or expressions in the other Philippine languages, has been completed by a group of Tagalog specialists and researchers in the Kalibapi and will soon go to the press along with model lesson plans which ought to be helpful as guides to teachers in this nation-wide campaign. Believing sincerely in the efficacy of a common language as a unifying force in our national life, we desire to enlist the active support of all Filipinos for this program. Non-Tagalogs should willingly attend such classes as may be organized within their reach, and Tagalogs should, whenever possible, volunteer their services as teachers.

For carrying out the foregoing program and projects of the Kalibapi, appropriate instructions have been given to the graduates of the Kalibapi Leaders’ Institute, many of whom have returned to their respective provinces and cities. During their three-month period of training in Manila, they were imbued with the spirit of service and were instructed on how they could help advance the economic and cultural progress of their communities.

Only the future can, of course, tell how effective the Kalibapi will be as an instrumentality in aiding our country and people to weather the storms of the present global conflict. But if its future is to be judged by its past, the Kalibapi can be expected to rise to loftier heights of achievement. Tonight, therefore, as we pause to appraise its work and find it worthy of our people’s support the Kalibapi can face the future undaunted and calm in the confidence that despite unfounded initial prejudices against it, it has performed signal service for our people and is resolved to carry out its high mission with the good of our country always its first and foremost consideration.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library