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Himugso Heritage Feature: Guerrilla Submarines in Northern Mindanao during World War II (Part 2)

June 12, 2019

The Alubijid Mission Narwhal then proceeded to Alubijid, Misamis Oriental on December 5, 1943 to pick up nine evacuees. The ship’s log dated December 5, 1943 War Patrol No. 8 Alubijid (a microfilm of the actual entry in the ship’s log) shows details of its rendezvous: 0148 hours, she sighted the proper security signal at Alubijid, Majacalar Bay. 2nd Lt Noble, PA, came aboard to verify Narwhal was there to embark evacuees, then returned to shore. One boat load came alongside carrying the DeVries family. Other boats followed sometime later.  Relatives of the Filipino guerrillas and residents who helped unload Narwhal recalled the tales told to them by their forebears of that memorable event. Frank Galarrita relates how one of the teams that unloaded arms from the sub were his two grandfathers, the father of Virgilio Galarrita, and  the Vice Mayor of Alubijid at that time, Ismael Labis, who was accompanied by his two teen-aged daughters. “I think Lt. Noble was from Cebu,” he recalls. “They pronounced Noble as Noob-lee not in English as No-bol.” “My aunt told me that they brought the precious goods to Barangay Lourdes, thereafter, probably some went to Bukidnon. But Barangay Lourdes at that time was still a town of Bukidnon.” “So that was the name of the submarine that quietly docked in Moog to unload supplies for the Filipino guerillas,” recalls Virgilio Galarrita. “My father was one of those civilians recruited to carry all kinds of supplies from the sub.” “He said there were all kinds and sizes of boxes to be carried. He said he regretted to have volunteered to carry a small box not knowing that it was heavy since it was one of the ammo boxes. He said he should have picked one of those big wooden boxes carried by two people and happened to be lighter since they were boxes of biscuits and cookies.” “After that there were stories that went around that some of those volunteers ate some of those biscuits and cookies, others took some home to their families, after they cracked open the box. Mga abtik gyud kining uban nga mga Alubijidnon!” “My grandfather Manuel Gapuz was one of them, I think,” said Manuel Abellanosa. “They used a gas lantern (known locally as Petromax) covered with a big tin can (taro) with a hole to communicate with the submarine at night via Morse Code. Supplies, guns and ammo were carried through a "back trail" up to Bukidnon. They would pass by Lunsi where Lola Doding, Mommy Ellen, Uncle Fred evacuated.” Former Misamis Oriental Provincial Board Member Cromwell Galarrita Generalao shared his stories: “The US submarine that docked in Moog, Alubijid in 1943 was among the many popular stories of the war in Alubijid.  Unfortunately we have no documents, letters or records of the event. My father, Arturo Jamis Generalao, tirelessly and fondly told stories of the war, among which was a US submarine that docked in Moog.” “The US submarine brought modern firearms and supplies for the Philippine Army and the local guerrillas. My father recalled that one evening, while at Guinotang, Alubijid, about 2 kilometers from the Poblacion where his family had a small farm, he noticed that some guerrillas, many of them his relatives, were walking briskly towards the Poblacion, Alubijid.” “The guerrillas commandeered some carabaos. As a curious teenager and fascinated by the actions of war, he followed the guerrillas. On their way, he heard the guerrillas talking about receiving modern firearms from a US ship at Moog.” “When he heard of a US ship at Moog, my father said he was very excited to follow the guerrillas, with the intention of boarding the US ship and go to the US. From Poblacion, the troops proceeded towards, Lanao, Molocboloc and finally Moog.” “At Moog shore, he saw Philippine Army soldiers on the shore. He thought they were from the Philippine Army Camp at Kalabaylabay, El Salvador. The Army soldiers had a Petromax.” “My father said he was so amazed at the sight of the US submarine that looked different from a ship. He tried to join the line of the guerrillas, pretending to help carry the firearms and supplies to shore, but actually intended to board the submarine and stow away. But the US sailors only allowed Filipino Army soldiers to board the submarine to haul the firearms and supplies.” “The guerrillas stayed at the shore to receive the firearms and supplies and tied them to the carabaos. The firearms and supplies loaded on the carabaos were brought towards Lourdes, Alubijid.” “The sight of the submarine for the first time and the new modern firearms with lots of ammunition fascinated my father, Philippine Army soldiers and the guerrillas. He identified the firearms as: Garand rifles, Thompson submachineguns, M-1 Carbines, and Browning Automatic Rifles.” Narwhal embarked two men, three women, and four children then stood out of Majacalar Bay at 0446 hours. Back to Cabadbaran On March 3, 1944 Narwhal was back in Cabadbaran to deliver 70 tons of supplies but had to abort the mission when 3 IJN destroyers approached. She was able to meet with Capt. Hamner and pick up 9 evacuees including Hamner.   At 1000 hours, on March 2nd, the proper security signal was spotted on the beach at Cabadbaran. She surfaced and a boat came alongside. Three representatives of Fertig came aboard. They said Fertig was waiting at the Agusan River mouth because it was too difficult to tow their barge into the bay. Latta brought Narwhal as near to the river shoal as he dared and then laid to.  Narwhal's crew began rigging their two launches topside for delivery to Fertig. Fertig came aboard and asked Latta to move up the channel to the barge and to delay unloading until the next day. But Latta refused both requests. Instead, he sent one of Narwhal's launches to have the barge towed alongside. By 0210 hours on March 3rd, seventy tons of cargo was unloaded and two 26-foot whale boats were delivered to Fertig. Narwhal also embarked twenty service men and eight civilians, including two women. At 0229 hours, Narwhal stood out of Butuan Bay. On May 28, 1944, Narwhal had to abort its mission to Sanco Point off Bislig, Surigao del Sur when no contact was established with the guerrillas for two days so she was unable to deliver mail and supplies or pick up evacuees and captured documents, eventually leaving the area at 0420 HRS on May 29th. Last Mission to Balingasag On Sept 27, 1944 Narwhal was back under Cmdr. Jack C. Titus (who took command starting with her 11th War Patrol) in Northern Mindanao, to deliver 3 men and 20 tons of supplies to Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, This later proved to be the last Spyron mission to Northern Mindanao. Narwhal surfaced on the night of Sept. 27, 1944 and sighted the proper signal from the shore of Balingasag. Some 45 minutes later, a heavy rain obscured all land and at 1744 hrs a small boat with a US Ensign was sighted. All cargo was unloaded by 2100 in spite of the bad weather and at 2103, Narwhal commenced clearing the coast.  By Sept. 28 she left the Mindanao Sea for Siari Bay where she embarked 31 liberated POWS. The prisoners had been aboard Japanese transports sunk by Paddle (SS-263)  off Sindagan Point on September 6. In October 20, 1944 MacArthur fulfilled his vow to return to the Philippines with the invasion of Leyte and mopping up operations of isolated pockets of Japanese resistance started on April 17, 1945 The last Spyron mission was conducted by Nautilus, Narwhal's sister submarine, on January 3, 1945 at Baculin Bay, Davao Oriental, to offload 45 tons of supplies which were received by 2nd Lt. N. Artero in behalf of Fertig. On August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered to the Allied forces in Tokyo Bay. (Guerrilla photos courtesy of MacArthur Memorial)

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Philip Morris lauds passage of cigarette excise tax bill

June 7, 2019

THE management of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) on Tuesday lauded the Senate's decision to pass the bill increasing further the excise tax on tobacco products. PMFTC Inc. Corporate Communications head Dave Gomez, in a statement, said passage of the bill is a step towards ensuring funds for the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) program. He, however, warned the government of the possibility of higher illicit cigarette trade as a result of tax hikes. He explained that once the measure has been signed into law it will be the 8th tax increase since 2012. “The higher rate raises some concerns over unintended consequences. We call on the government to exercise vigilance to curb the illicit cigarette trade which may worsen as a result of this excise tax increase, and undermine government efforts to raise funds for the UHC,” he said. On Monday, Senators voted 20-0-0 in favor of Senate Bill 2233, which not only increased excise tax on “heated tobacco products” but also “vapor tobacco products”. Once signed into law, this measure will increase excise tax of a pack of cigarette from PHP35 per pack to PHP45 per pack by January 1, 2020 and to PHP60 per pack by 2022. Refill of vapor products will be increased by a minimum of PHP10 for those that are less than 10 milliliters. Relatively, Gomez said they expect the government “to provide the appropriate safety nets for farmers, workers and retailers whose livelihood would be impacted by this new round of tax increase”. “The Senate version is a positive step forward as it will enable smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes while generating additional revenues from previously untaxed e-vapor products,” he added. (PNA)

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Inflation seen to settle back to target levels

June 7, 2019

THE Philippines’ inflation rate is expected to return to its deceleration mode in the coming months after an uptick to 3.2 percent last May from only three percent last April.  In a report, Michael L. Ricafort, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Economics & Industry Research Division head, attributed the rise of domestic inflation rate to the impact of a weaker peso on imports in the early part of May, higher global oil prices and the dry season, which affected some agricultural products and the operations of hydropower plants. “However, these were offset/mitigated by increased rice imports with the Rice Tariffication Law and other non-monetary measures to increase food/rice supply to lower prices and better manage inflation since the latter part of 2018,” he said. Ricafort expects the resumption of slowdown of inflation rates in the coming months, with the decline forecast to be faster due to elevated inflation rate last year. He said that a one-percent level inflation rate in the third quarter or early fourth quarter is even possible. Last year, inflation peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October. Ricafort said adequate rice supply due to larger imports and higher harvest during the summer is expected to further ease inflation rate in the coming months since rice accounts for around 10 percent of the inflation index. “Further easing in local monetary policy by way of another cut in policy rates remains possible as early as the next rate-setting meeting in June 20, 2019 (or in subsequent months),” he said. He added that possible reduction in the Federal Reserve’s key rates this year is also a plus on the BSP policy rates. Also, ANZ Research forecasts average inflation in the Philippines this 2019 to be at the mid-point of the government’s two to four percent target band despite the marginal uptick last May. The economic research firm traced the higher inflation rate last month partly to the El Niño but pointed out that “weaker demand pressures and a high base effect will likely keep annual inflation in check.” “As such, we continue to expect headline inflation around the mid-point of the target band,” it said but added that “impact of the El Niño poses a key risk to the inflation outlook." Relatively, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said food inflation will be a key factor in the country’ headline inflation for the remainder of the year, but believes the final numbers will still remain within government's target. He added that this development will be closely monitored by the BSP vis-à-vis their decisions on the policy rates. (PNA)

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DOST gears up for Marawi IDPs’ livelihood programs

June 7, 2019

MARAWI CITY -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has intensified its efforts in providing livelihood programs for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of this city. Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for Research and Development said during the project launching of Livelihood Program for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Marawi by DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) that the agency would provide them support until they can recover. “Hangga't hindi sila nakakabangon, tutulong kami (Until they can recover, we will help them),” Guevara said. Guevara also emphasized that the agency has been providing a series of training and hands-on programs to the IDPs through its different offices. DOST-ITDI has been providing technologies and training on personal care products, charcoal briquetting, herbal processing and essential oil extraction aimed at improving the quality of life of the IDPs by utilizing indigenous resources for their sustainable livelihood. In partnership with the SMILES Foundation, the DOST also supported the IDPs in Butig with a corn mill facility. The Bayabao Poblacion Farmers Cooperative here has already harvested 2,400 kilos from its 40-hectare corn plantation, earning P26,400 per cycle. Other projects implemented by the SMILES-DOST partnership include “Do-It-Yourself (DIY)” bamboo shelter production for Butig, Lanao del Sur and Innovation Support System and Management Strategies to Vegetable Production to Farmers in Pantar, Lanao del Norte. DOST has also partnered with the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to revive the handloom weaving industry in Marawi through the Maranao Collectible, a group of internally displaced women and men who create heirloom “langkit” weaving. The DOST will provide training and necessary materials and handlooms. “We are thankful to DOST, because the funding for the loans will provide more opportunities for Maranao weavers,” said Prof. Darwin Manubag of MSU-IIT. The DOST provides the technology while its partner organizations assist in the implementation of the projects to the grassroots. Being a member-agency of the Task Force Bangon Marawi’s  (TFBm) Subcommittee on Business and Livelihood, DOST commits itself to provide sustainable livelihood to the IDPs. (LEAntonio/PIA)

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Fire safety events lace Filinvest’s Brigada Eskwela ‘19 participation

June 5, 2019

FDC Misamis Power Corporation’s (FDC Misamis) participation in this year’s Brigada Eskwela both in the municipalities of Villanueva and Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental (MisOr) was laced with the conduct of fire safety events. FDC Misamis, a subsidiary of FDC Utilities, Inc. (FDCUI), the power and utilities arm of the Gotianun-led Filinvest group, joined Brigada Eskwela at Vicente N. Chavez Memorial Central School (VNCMCS) in Villanueva and Sta. Ana Elementary School (SAES) in Tagoloan on May 20 and 21, respectively. Apart from donating construction, painting and electrical materials for the minor repairs of six classrooms at VNCMCS and two unfinished classrooms at SAES, the power firm also sent more than 50 employee-volunteers to help teachers and parents, among other stakeholders, to do the cleanup drive as well as the rewiring and repainting jobs.  But the highlight of the firm’s participation in this year’s National Schools Maintenance Week (NSMW) was the conduct of Basic Electrical Safety in School (BESS) symposium with the Information Education Communication (IEC) on the proper use of fire extinguisher. Such is in consonance with the Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 72, series of 2012. Both fire safety events were spearheaded by the firm’s electrical and safety units. Then, the company donated eight units of fire extinguisher to each adopted school. This, as the power firm aims to make each of its adopted school fire-free. FDC Misamis’ participation, stressed VNCMCS’ principal Aileen Dabon, is truly a visible commitment to help their school to become a conducive hub for learning. VNCMCS has more than 3,000 students. “The generosity of FDC Misamis, therefore, is always equated with the magnanimity of the needs of our school.” “Ang amoang kinasing-kasingon nga pagpasalamat sa FDC sa daghang bulig nila kanamo,” retorted SAES Head Virginia Mariano. SAES is seen to cater more than a thousand pupils and students when classes start on June 3 “We are always here to help and support schools within our host communities for as long as it is within our limitations,” responded FDC Misamis Community Relations Officer (CRO) Analiza Miso. “Since then my salute to FDC Misamis for being consistent in helping and supporting our barrio schools in Villanueva,” concluded town councilor and chair of the education committee Leoncio Abejo. Aside from VNCMCS and SAES, FDC Misamis also provided repainting and basic construction materials, cleaning and gardening tools, and school supplies, respectively, to other 14 schools located in Villanueva and Tagoloan. FDC Misamis owns and operates the 3x135-MW circulating fluidized bed coal thermal plant at Phividec Industrial Estate in Brgys. Tambobong and Balacanas, Villanueva, MisOr.      

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BSP forecasts May inflation at 2.8%-3.6%

June 5, 2019

HIGHER jeepney fare in the Visayas, as well as upticks on selected food items are seen as risks to the May inflation, which the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projected to stay between 2.8 percent and 3.6 percent. “Positive base effects” may also contribute to the “temporary price pressures” in the fifth month of the year, the central bank said in a statement released Friday. This as the rate of price increases continues to decline after peaking at 6.7 percent in September and October last year. Domestic inflation rate in May 2018 rose to 4.5 percent from 4.3 percent in the previous month. Average inflation last year exceeded the government’s 2 percent to 4 percent target band from 2018 to 2020 after it hit 5.2 percent. Amid the upside risks seen for the month, the BSP said lower prices of rice and domestic oil, along with the cut in power rates, are seen to counter price pressures. “Looking ahead, the BSP will continue to be watchful of evolving price trends to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains consistent with remaining price stability,” it said. The continued deceleration of inflation has led the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board to slash the central bank’s key policy rates by 25 basis points early last month and analysts project more cuts in the coming months as inflation is seen to continue its downtrend. (PNA)

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