The Basilio J. Valdes Digital Collection is a library of surviving important papers, letters and memoirs that cover the life of Major General Basilio J. Valdes ranging from his youth, his enlistment in World War I, and his public life during the Commonwealth, World War II, and Postwar eras of the Philippines. This collection of historical materials is made possible through the generosity of Ms. Rosario Ugarte and the family of the late general.
Major General Basilio J. Valdes, M.D. (b. July 10, 1892; d. January 26, 1970) served in several capacities as a public servant throughout his life. Most notably, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1938 by virtue of Executive Order No. 179, and was appointed a member of Quezon’s War Cabinet during the invasion of the Imperial Japanese forces in 1941.
During the First World War, Valdes volunteered to serve in France, and was appointed Chief Surgeon of the Anglo-French Military Hospital. He later became an instructor for Physiology at the College of Medicine, UST. (1916); was appointed Medical Inspector of the Philippine Constabulary (1926-1934); served as Acting Commissioner of Health and Welfare (1932-1934); became a member of the Board of Medical Examiners (1924-1928) and became the board’s Chairman from 1928 to 1932.
On May 4, 1936, under the Commonwealth, Valdes took his oath of office as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army. With the retirement of General Paulino Santos as Chief of Staff, Valdes assumed the office by presidential appointment on January 1, 1939.
With the national security issue looming with the backdrop of Japanese expansionism, President Quezon established the Department of National Defense on November 1, 1939, which wielded executive authority over the army and, therefore, over national defense.
When the Imperial Japanese forces invaded the Philippines in December 1941, President Quezon used his emergency powers and issued Executive Order No. 396, s. 1941 merging pertinent departments into the Department of Defense, Public Works, Communications and Labor. Valdes was then appointed as Secretary of this Department. As a member of Quezon’s War Cabinet, Valdes was evacuated to Corregidor and to the United States, serving in the Commonwealth government-in-exile.
Upon Quezon’s death on August 1, 1944, Valdes continued to serve as a member of the Osmeña War Cabinet. He remained the Chief of Staff under the Osmeña administration, returning with Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur and President Sergio Osmeña in the historic landing on Red Beach in Palo, Leyte on October 20, 1944.
Upon the reestablishment of the Commonwealth government in Manila on February 27, 1945, President Osmeña appointed Valdes as Secretary of Public Health and Welfare ad interim. His position was confirmed by Congress on June 27, 1945. As Secretary of Public Health, Valdes established the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) which was responsible for distributing relief goods, medicine, and other supplies from the U.S. Medical Corps to war torn areas. This was accomplished by establishing relief centers in cities and regions. Valdes retired from government service on July 4, 1945.
During the postwar years, Valdes resumed his life as an educator at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and later became the Medical Director of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital (1948-1970), the Chairman of the Deans Committee, Veterans Memorial Hospital and the President of the Hacienda del Carmen, Inc.
The Basilio J. Valdes Collection, collated and digitized for the Presidential Museum and Library Internet Archive, comprises documents that provide new glimpses into a period in Philippine history.
Navigating the Basilio J. Valdes Digital Collection
The Basilio J. Valdes Digital Collection is made publicly available by the Presidential Museum and Library through the Internet Archive (Archive.org), made possible by the generosity of the family of Major General Basilio J. Valdes.
Users can sort the collection according to the number of views, title, date published, date archived, or date reviewed by using Archive.org’s built-in sorting system found below the “Collections” tab.
The collection utilizes a simple tagging system which can be found at the right-hand side of the user’s browser screen under the “TOPIC” header. Documents that fall under these tags will appear upon clicking one of the topics.
The Basilio J. Valdes Collection is sorted into four major categories, each covering a particular period in the public and private life of Major General Valdes: his early years (“Early Years”), the Commonwealth period (“Commonwealth”), World War II (“World War II”), and his post-war civic engagements (“Postwar”).
Users can also narrow down further the collection according to type or subject of material through the other tags such as “personal files,” “letters,” “official papers,” “speeches,” etc.
To open a file, simply click on any of the documents from the grid. For easy reading, Archive.org provides users with a BookReader interface for uploaded texts, allowing them to flip through pages of documents as if reading a book. Users can move to the next page by clicking the right page or pressing the right arrow key on their keyboard, while they can view the previous page by clicking the left page or pressing the left arrow key.
Clicking the full-screen button found at the top right corner of the BookReader interface allows the user a larger view of the document.
Users can download the files in various formats by clicking any of the file formats listed within the “Download Options” bar in the right hand side of the document page.
Photos and Diaries of General Basilio J. Valdes
Apart from the digitized texts uploaded on the Internet Archive, the Basilio J. Valdes Collection also includes photos and diaries of the general, which can be viewed through the Presidential Museum and Library Flickr account and the Philippine Diary Project, respectively.
The contents of the Basilio J. Valdes Photo Collection album encompass the World War I, Commonwealth, World War II and Postwar periods of the life of General Valdes. The album is part of the Presidential Museum and Library’s Flickr Collection, which hosts an assortment of images of the Philippine presidency, important personalities, and historic events.
The diary entries of Major General Basilio J. Valdes, which are published through the Philippine Diary Project, come from a digitized copy of selected (and edited) diary entries provided by the family of Gen. Valdes to researchers and historians. The entries reproduced in this collection mainly cover his period of service in the Quezon and Osmeña administrations, but also include the postwar years.
 “Oath of Office – Major General Basilio Valdes as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army,” Presidential Museum and Library Internet Archive, accessed on March 28, 2016, https://archive.org/details/oath-of-office-basilio-valdes-deputy-chief-of-staff-philippine-army-may-4-1936.
 Christopher L. Kolakowski, Last Stand on Bataan: The Defense of the Philippines, December 1941-May 1942, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers, 2016), 10.
 Ibid., footnote 1
 “Letter to Basilio Valdes from Secretary Jose Reyes confirming his ad interim appointment as Secretary of Public Health and Welfare,” Presidential Museum and Library Internet Archive, accessed on March 28, 2016, https://archive.org/details/letter-basilio-valdes-from-jose-reyes-appointment-secretary-of-public-health-and-welfare-june-27-1945