(By Dinggol-N6MRD * Philippine Link 43534-Grupo Magellan)

On the 8th day of December 1941, the day after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in the island of Hawaii that claimed thousands of military and civilian lives, and sunk or heavily damaged many US Pacific Naval Fleet -President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a joint session of the United States Congress where he said:
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 —a date which will live in infamy —the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan... No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory....." (truncated)

At about the same time, the Japanese launched the invasion on the northern part of the Philippines by sea from Formosa, the present-day Republic of China (ROC) popularly known as "Taiwan". The Japanese used first-line troops at the outset of the campaign, and by concentrating their forces swiftly overran most of Luzon during the first month.

Philippine-American resistance led by the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) against the Japanese invasion up to the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, lasted only 3 months and 2 days.

Because of the worsening USAFFE position in the Asia-Pacific region, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Gen. Douglas H. MacArthur on March 20 to relocate to Australia, as Supreme Allied Commander Southwest Pacific Area. On March 23, 1942, Gen. Jonathan F. Wainwright officially assumed control of what was now termed as United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP).

At the outbreak of the war, the incumbent Governor of Iloilo Province was Tomas Confesor. During the Japanese occupation, President Manuel Quezon named him “wartime governor of Free Panay and Romblon.”

While the highest-ranking military officer based in Panay Island that still included Romblon and Guimaras was Lt. Col. Macario Peralta, Jr.--After the formal surrender of Gen. Wainwright in Bataan, Peralta reorganized the 61st Army Division into the "Free Panay Guerrilla Forces" and assumed the rank of Brig. General with Lt. Col. Leopoldo Relunia as his second-in-command.

Gen. Peralta then gave Army Capt. Amos Francia, the Division Signal Officer, the mission to establish contact with Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Australia.
Francia organized the Signal Corps Detachment composed of a Message Center. The Message Service Section under Lt. Filomeno Padilla; the Signal Supply Section under Lt. Serafin Sebuado; and the Radio Section under MSgt. Mariano Tolentino of Dumangas, Iloilo.

After several failures due to defective gadgets and lack of radio spare parts, Tolentino finally made it operational and he was able to contact radio station KFS in San Francisco, California. He called his own radio station WPM situated on an elevated (hill) area in the town of Sara, Iloilo.

The contact was made on the night of October 20, 1942, after Tolentino made several calls repeated every ten (10) minutes.

On the night of October 30, the 950-word message to McArthur was sent from 9 p.m. to 12:40 a.m. (October 31). The shorter message to Quezon followed from 12:50 a.m. to 2 a.m.

However, KFS refused to continue the contact unless WPM identifies the keyword in a coded message because the Americans suspected that WPM could be an enemy radio station.

The keyword asked was the place in Negros Island where President Manuel Quezon and Gov. Tomas Confesor last met personally.

Peralta sent his intelligence officer Capt. Federico Salcedo of Sara, Iloilo to Governor Tomas Confesor at his Mount Bucari guerrilla headquarters in the town of Leon, Iloilo who told him it was "Kanlaon Lodge". However, the keyword was declined by the radio contact in California.

It was providential, indeed, that on December 11th, Lt. Anicio Ykalina, a guerilla based in Negros island, came to visit his family in Sara, Iloilo, and met Francia who asked him where Gov. Confesor and President Quezon last met in Negros and Ykalina answered that it was in "PANUBIGAN". Panubigan is the present-day Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, formerly part of Vallehermoso, and is dubbed as the "Vegetable Capital" of Negros Island, and where Mount Kanlaon (Volcano) the highest peak in the whole Visayas region is located.

Capt. Francia immediately ordered Lt. Rodolfo Lataquin to try this keyword and it was accepted.

The coded message as deciphered read: “Can you rendezvous a submarine query if so give five places in order of preference.”

With the successful "coded" wireless radio communication between WPM Station in Iloilo in the Philippines and KFS Station in San Francisco, California --substantial war armaments, foodstuff, medical supplies, etc. upon orders of Gen. MacArthur in Australia were received via submarine deliveries at designated areas by the Free Panay Guerrilla Forces, and by other Filipino Guerrilla fighters in the country. And the rest sabi dah! is history. --dinggol~~~

Mariano Tolentino, the RadioMan of Dumangas in Iloilo, later established during the post-war era the Radio Communication Philippines, Inc. (RCPI).~~~