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Friday, May 23rd 2014, 7:51pm

Philippine News and Events 1945

Naval Operating Base San Fernando, Cebu, Monday, 1 January 1945

Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes looked down into the depths of the Number One graving dock at the work crews that were putting the finishing touches on the materials assembled to begin construction of the latest ships to be constructed there. Months ago he had broached the idea of constructing a number of specialized craft to support the civil administration in the islands of the southern Philippines; the previous autumn, he had been shocked to find that his idea had been adopted and that he was to oversee construction of two of them.

Aspirant Hoang Van Chi of the Patrouille Navale Indochinoise looked upon the same scene with an even greater sense of anticipation. One of the two vessels to be laid down, the Thich Anh Hung, was to be his ship when completed. “This is an auspicious day,” he said aloud.

On the floor of the dock preparations were complete and the formal ceremonies were begun. The keel of the lead ship, Cabo Bojeador, would be ceremonially laid by a local senator; the keel of the Thich Anh Hung by the Indochinese consul resident in Cebu City.

The Manila Chronicle, Tuesday, 2 January 1945


Sunday, May 25th 2014, 7:02pm

Tender Guadelupe, Scarborough Shoal, Friday, 5 January 1945

Commander Oscar Lopez was truly thankful when the previous day the tug San Salvador and two work barges had hove into view, bringing workmen, equipment and supplies to begin constructing the bases of the pilings upon which a permanent station at Scarborough Shoals could be built. Today the work had begun, with the first low tide. Using curved sheet iron and compressed-air hammers the workmen strove to erect cofferdams around the first of the support points his own crews had mapped out. This might take days, given the short span of hours in which work could be done; but once the cofferdams were in place, and proof against the worst effects of the tide, more time would be available for the next stage.

Lopez had assigned as many of his own men as required to assist the civilian work crews, and others manned launches that ferried fresh water and food to them. The Guadelupe was, he reflected, the right vessel to perform station duties here; he merely hoped that here time on station could be shortened.

Naval Operating Base Cavite, Tuesday, 9 January 1945

Kapitein-luitenant ter Zee Eugène Lacomblé, Royal Netherlands Navy liaison officer, read the latest report of patrol activities from the Southern Sea Frontier. In one respect no news was good news; the campaign against the Abu Sabaya extremists had eliminated the threat of rebellion and piracy in Mindanao and the outer islands, and the continued patrols had salutary effect on ‘normal’ smuggling activities, which had shown a remarkable down-turn. The report was filled with statistics on vessels examined, amounts of contraband confiscated, the numbers of port calls in support of the civil power, and the progress of the Strategic Hamlets program.

The last item bothered him. The resettlement program being carried out by the Philippine Government was an internal matter, except, he thought, when the displaced persons took to their boats and sailed to Dutch territory, where they became refugees. This, in turn, raised the level of tension among the Muslim population in the East Indies. The number of such refugees, he knew, was still small, but growing. He made a mental note to pass his concerns along to the staff at the embassy and to minute his own superiors in Batavia.


Monday, May 26th 2014, 10:57pm

The Freeman (Cebu), Friday, 12 January 1945

The Mindanao Post, Sunday, 14 January 1945

The submarines Bravado and Guerrero were completed today in the naval shipyard at Butuan. The latest of the Navy’s Cazador class, the fleet’s newest submarines have embarked upon their builders’ trials and will undergo careful working up before taking up their assigned duties.

The Manila Times, Monday, 15 January 1945

The French-flag heavy-lift cargo freighter Kangouroo arrived today in Manila Harbor bearing, among other items, the last of the armored vehicles and equipment ordered several months ago to equip the Second Armored Regiment. It is expected that the Kangouroo will be unloaded over the next week and that soon the equipment she bears will be delivered to the Philippine Army. Despite the lessening of tensions across the Far East the defense of the nation remains the top priority of the Senate and the Government.


Tuesday, May 27th 2014, 10:12am

The authorities at Batavia will indeed note Kapitein-luitenant ter Zee Eugène Lacomblé's report. Doubtless the same concerns have been raised by others on the ground across the DEI too.


Friday, May 30th 2014, 2:27am

Manila, The Senate Chambers, Thursday, 18 January 1945

“The fact that there is an armistice in Manchuria does not change the strategic threat posed by China one iota!”

The words of Don Pedro Teves echoed across the Senate Chamber. The debate on the question of a proper response to the end of active hostilities in the Korean peninsula had bubbled on-and-off for several months, and the consensus that had galvanized the senators over the past year was fraying. The feverish pace of armaments acquisition was straining the Philippine economy, despite the very favorable terms negotiated in America and France. While most senators agreed that China remained a palpable threat they differed in the best course of action for the here and now.

“China continues to mortgage its future by purchasing every warship it can lay its hands on, and fills its shipyards with new construction,” Don Pedro continued. “It continues to expand its air forces and its manpower resources – despite grievous losses in combat with Chosen – are inexhaustible. How can we be asked to defer construction of warships vital to the defense of the nation?”

Teves was a spokesman for the more hawkish faction of the Senate; his influence was rising, and the majority of senators seemed to be under his sway.

“Don Pedro, what you say is true.”

The quiet voice of Don Andreas Soriano did not echo, but carried throughout the chamber. “China remains a threat, but our economy and our finances demand a respite; to bankrupt the nation in the name of national defense would only invite revolution and civil war. There must be a middle course.”

The wily Soriano had waited for Teves to expend his arguments; now he built his own.

“There is no question that we must continue to strengthen the navy – as well as our air and military forces; but the end to hostilities between Chosen and China gives us opportunity to ease the pace of our naval buildup. If we delay the construction of the two cruisers that has been called for, the entire destroyer program of the Naval Augmentation and Replenishment Act can be advanced six months – strengthening our light flotillas – and permitting the construction of new vessels required to police the Southern Seas.”

Soriano could see several of the senators from Mindanao and the other southern provinces nodding in agreement. “We must reinforce the success we have had in eradicating the pernicious bandit life style of the Moro by establishing strong and responsive patrol forces, equipped with modern vessels.” This last point elicited several hearty responses of “Hear, hear!”

“Moreover, we have the recommendations of the naval staff that the evolution of naval technology may render the designs proposed for these two vessels obsolete even before they were laid down. It is therefore far more reasonable that we not rush to construct warships that will not be suited for the duties that they will be called upon to perform.” Soriano left the last point linger, and yielded the floor.

The debate would continue, but Soriano was confident that his view would prevail – eventually.


Sunday, June 1st 2014, 1:32am

The Freeman (Cebu), Saturday, 20 January 1945

President of the Council of Ministers Cayetano Arellano, Minister of Transport Mariano A. Eraña and numerous other dignitaries presided over the formal completion of the Panay Railway, with the President driving the final railway spike to complete the final section linking Ivisan with the port of Capiz. A special train traversed the line, carrying the Presidential party from Capiz to Iloilo. This investment is already paying dividends in terms of increased export of agricultural and mineral products and it is expected to stimulate employment and development across the entire island of Panay.

The Manila Times, Monday, 22 January 1945


Monday, June 2nd 2014, 2:18pm

The Mindanao Post, Wednesday, 24 January 1945


Wednesday, June 4th 2014, 12:03pm

The Philippine Herald, Friday, 26 January 1945

The recently-formed Norgate Apparel Manufacturing Company opened its new factory at Santa Rosa, Laguna, yesterday. The firm employs some four-hundred workers in the manufacture of men’s and women’s ready-made garments, principally for domestic consumption.

The Mindanao Examiner, Monday, 29 January 1945

The naval shipyard at Butuan saw the launch today of the submarines Ingenioso and Furia, the last of the Cazador-class submarines building for the Philippine Navy. They were towed from the No.1 Graving Dock and berthed at the shipyard’s fitting-out wharf to complete their construction, which is expected to finish this summer.


Thursday, June 5th 2014, 11:18pm

Mission Nuestra Senora de los Islas, Tapiantana Island, Wednesday, 31 January 1945

In the work of Brother Francis and the others at the mission, this day was like any other; their round of work and prayer varied little according to the calendar. It was, however, the end of one month, and the beginning of another, and it was, thought Francis, an opportunity for him to reflect on what had been accomplished, and what remained to be done.

Slowly but steadily the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the island were being won; each week the number of congregants in the chapel grew, and if anyone bothered to create one, a chart of baptisms would show an upward trend. The number of children attending the school that the mission supported was on the rise, even if most of those attending were boys; few of the islanders could see reason to send their daughters to school to receive an education – but that was not an issue confined to Tapiantana alone. The dispensary of the mission was making real progress in addressing some of the most basic health needs of the Bajao, and the weekly visits from a medical officer at the naval station helped significantly.

If was for the last reason that Brother Francis gave particular thanks for news that had recently come to him. In a letter from a former colleague in Cebu he had learned that the Navy was constructing a small fleet of ships designed to carry medical teams and supplies between the outer islands of the southern seas. While it would be months before the first such vessel might nose its way to Tapiantana, Francis was pleased that God had seen fit to make such provision possible.


Sunday, June 8th 2014, 8:21pm

Philippine News and Events, February 1945

The Freeman (Cebu), Thursday, 1 February 1945

The light cruiser Tablas has completed her post-refit trials and rejoined the fleet as an operational unit. She now sports several Chilean-designed “dradis” electronic detection devices that significantly increase her combat capability; more than sufficient to deter any nation that might casually attempt to infringe on our national sovereignty.

The Manila Times, Friday, 2 February 1945

The 16th Bombardment Squadron of the 6th Bombardment Group, stationed at De la Vega Air Force Base, has begun conversion to the new Douglas A-26 twin engine attack bomber. Sufficient quantities of the American-built aircraft have arrived from the factory in Santa Monica, California, but plans are in hand to have the aircraft built at the Philippine Aircraft Development Company complex at Nichols Field. Seventy-five aircraft are on order from the Douglas Company, and it is likely that additional orders will follow.


Wednesday, June 11th 2014, 12:50am

The Manila Chronicle, Saturday, 3 February 1945

The Manila Times, Sunday, 4 February 1945

The destroyer Zampullin was towed into the floating repair dock at the Cavite Navy Yard to begin her refit today. It is anticipated that work on her will complete in early April.


Friday, June 13th 2014, 7:33pm

The Manila Chronicle, Wednesday, 7 February 1945

Minister of Transport Mariano Eraña announced today the award to the Philippine Aircraft Development Company of a grant of 250,000 pesos toward the design and development of a freight-carrying variant of the firm’s Sunbird commercial airliner.

The Mindanao Journal, Friday, 9 February 1945

The Mindanao Timber Company has taken delivery of the Don Lucho, a 5,500 ton gross timber carrier, which it will use to haul export cargo from Davao to customers on the west coast of the United States. Formerly the American-flag freighter West Galeta the Don Lucho was refitted at Cebu for the carriage of mahogany logs and plywood sheet.

The Manila Times, Sunday, 11 February 1945

The destroyers Abucay and Almacen were launched today at the Butuan naval shipyard and were towed immediately to the yard’s fitting-out wharf where their construction will continue.


Sunday, June 15th 2014, 2:27pm

The Freeman (Cebu), Wednesday, 14 February 1945

It was announced today that a syndicate of investors has formed the Cebu Railway Company, with rights to construct a rail line from Argao in the southern portion of the island to Danao via Cebu City. This much needed rail link will help support Cebu’s continued economic growth and stimulate exports in much the same manner as the recently completed Panay Railway. Construction is expected to commence in the spring following completion of the initial surveys.

The Philippine Herald, Friday, 16 February 1945

The destroyer Alcatraz has completed her post-refit trials and resumed her duties with the Northern Fleet.


Monday, June 16th 2014, 9:03pm

The Mindanao Post, Sunday, 18 February 1945

Naval Operating Base San Fernando, Cebu, Tuesday, 20 February 1945

The level of the water in the Number One graving dock slowly rose under the watchful eyes of two officers – Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes of the Philippine Navy and Aspirant Hoang Van Chi of the Patrouille Navale Indochinoise. From their keel blocks the hulls of the civil support ships Cabo Bojeador and Thich Anh Hung rose with the rising water; the formal launch ceremonies were long past, but for the superintending officers their work had only just begun.

Trillanes looked to the channel where tugs waited. “As soon as the water levels are equalized the will open the dock,” he assured his colleague.

“It has been but a short time,” replied the Indochinese officer, “and already the ships are launched.”

Trillanes reassured him. “That is less than half the effort needed to complete them; they need to have their engines finished and all the other systems installed.”

“Still it is a milestone,” Chi said with a smile. He was quite conscious of his role as the first officer of the Indochinese service to oversee construction of a vessel in a foreign nation. He had to tread the fine line between assuring that there was no skimping in her building while not in any way suggesting offence to his hosts. Thus far he had acquitted himself well. “Look; the dockmaster is signaling for the gates to be opened!”


Thursday, June 19th 2014, 2:01am

The Manila Times, Thursday, 22 February 1945

The patrol combatants Marawi and Meycauayan were launched today in the Butuan naval shipyards. These slim, fast vessels are designed to patrol the Southern Seas and assure the suppression of piracy in that recently-troubled region. They will complete later this spring and will be in service by late summer.

The San Francisco Chronicle (USA), Friday, 23 February 1945

Restaurateur March Kong Woo, proprietor of the Imperial Tea Court in Chinatown, was found murdered in a back room of the restaurant this morning; the police have not released any details of the death but sources close to the investigation have suggested that Woo, a recent immigrant, might have been caught up in a “tong war” between rival Chinese groups. Those having any knowledge of the murder are asked to contact the San Francisco Police.


Thursday, June 19th 2014, 2:54pm

The Mindanao Post, Sunday, 25 February 1945

The destroyers Lambunao and Leganes, completed some months ago at Butuan, have completed their trials and operational training and have taken up their duties with the Northern Fleet at Cavite.

The Philippine Gazette, Monday, 26 February 1945

The Senate has given its consent to the formation of the 33rd Antiaircraft Brigade. This unit will provide additional depth for the air defenses of Luzon.


Friday, June 20th 2014, 8:03pm

The Bohol Chronicle, Wednesday, 28 February 1945

The destroyers Pansur and Poblacion were completed today at the naval shipyards at Butuan and embarked upon their builders’ trials. Their completion marks a further milestone in the refurbishment of the nation’s naval establishment.


Tuesday, June 24th 2014, 11:11pm

Tai-pei, Formosa, Friday, 2 March 1945

Hu-ang, Dragonhead of the Shih-Hai, received the messenger in his audience chamber.

“Master,” the servitor began, “your instructions have been obeyed. Your servants in San Francisco have avenged the disgrace foisted upon the Shih-Hai by the late Dee Cheng Chuan.”

Hu-ang smiled inwardly. Dee Cheng Chuan had been the instrumentality by which the Philippine police had found leverage to pry open the many cells of the triad. Dee Cheng Chuan had been a trusted servitor, who had betrayed the Shih-Hai. He had been tracked down to America, where agents of the Shih-Hai had brought about his death. This Hu-ang had ordered, and now it was accomplished.

“You bring auspicious news,” replied the Dragonhead. “We are most pleased.”

Left unspoken were Hu-ang’s further plans for avenging his losses.

The Mindanao Examiner, Monday, 5 March 1945

The destroyer Mirlo entered dry dock today at Puerto Princesa, where she will undergo a refit for continued service with the fleet. She is the latest of the Navy’s destroyer force to undergo the fleet rehabilitation and modernization process.


Sunday, June 29th 2014, 4:57pm

Talipao, Jolo, Saturday, 10 March 1945

Datu Odin Sinsuat stood on the shore of Tutu Bay on what he expected to be the last time in his life; since time immemorial his ancestors had ruled the area of Talipao, defending it against the encroachments of all others – but now the pressure had become too great. The relentless grasping of Government officials had nullified the title he and his people claimed for their lands; foreign settlers from the north backed by the might of soldiers and police now tilled much of the island of Jolo, and the friars who came with them mounted a continual program of conversion. “Public education,” he thought. “All a child needs to learn can be taught by a dutiful parent and the study of the Koran”.

There was movement, as his followers gathered to board the waiting boats he had hired. With what they could carry they would leave their ancestral home – sailing for Borneo where the Dutch were content to allow people to follow the laws of the Prophet – or so he had been told. “Move quickly,” Datu Sinsuat enjoined. “The land breeze will soon die, and we must make our offing.”

The voyage would be long and dangerous, and the outcome uncertain. Yet neither he nor his people could remain any longer. “We shall make a new home,” he vowed.


Wednesday, July 2nd 2014, 4:51pm

The Celebes Sea, Monday, 12 March 1945

The small fleet of sailing craft that bore Datu Sinsuat and his people had followed the stars on their course towards Borneo – keeping together in the light and desultory winds was difficult enough in daylight; at night it was far more difficult. If necessary they could scatter and make their way individually, but the Datu wished his people to remain as one. As this night wore on, that made for danger.

The sloop Marakina was still in the advanced stages of her operational training, but such was the need for patrol craft she had been assigned to interdiction duties in the Celebes Sea, south of Tawi-tawi. Her mission was to intercept and take into custody any of the remaining Moro bandits that were now fleeing southern Mindanao and the outlying islands.

“Dradis contact,” came the report from the operator, “bearing 042 relative. Contact comes and goes…”

“An equipment issue?” asked the officer of the deck.

“I don’t think so sir,” was the uncertain reply. Their new dradis equipment had been giving them fits, and with personnel learning their tasks, the OD did not want to unduly alarm the captain.

“Helm, come right thirty degrees. Dradis, start a track.” The officer would compromise on his options.

In the distance the Datu could now see the lights of a ship, a vessel moving at some speed against the prevailing wind. “Make no noise,” he whispered, and signaled the other boats in his flotilla to do likewise. Soon the throbbing sound of engines could be heard echoing over the water; the Datu ordered sails to be lowered, risking that his people might drift apart.

“Update on the contact?” the officer of the deck inquired.

“It comes and goes sir – right now the scope shows clear.” The operator answered truthfully – he could not know that the drifting craft were now a smaller return for the dradis signal.

The young officer weighted his choices. “Left rudder, helm. Put us back on our base course.”

Aboard the fleeing craft all held their breath as the lights in the distance now seemed to move away from them.

The Manila Times, Wednesday, 14 March 1945

Trading in shares of the newly listed Cagayan de Oro Timber Company was brisk today with the price closing at 128 pesos.