By Mariano “Anong” Santos
PINOY Editor/Publisher


...“The best tribute we can give our veterans
is to understand what they sacrificed for

...continued from home page

Peter Eisner, author of “MacArthur Spies,” found new materials from the National Archives including the diary of Phillips the shed new light of her dangerous work in a night club named “Tsubaki”(Japanese flower) where she and her hospitality workers created an intelligence network to help the resistance movement during the Japanese occupation.

Intrepid Filipinos worked closely with Phillips as dancers, bartenders, couriers and babysitters but were all part of a team that provided relief to prisoners of war and more importantly, information-- cleverly extracted from homesick and lovelorn Japanese officers who frequented ‘Tsubaki.’ Innocent questions like: “What ship are you in?” When are you leaving?” “Where can I write you?” Go figure on what the answers had contributed to the return of MacArthur in Oct. 1944.

Eisner who had previously written two books on WW II is a son of a soldier who fought in that war. Some reviewed his book as “Casablanca East.” This is more of a complimentary because this well-researched book also reads like an exciting spy novel. Factual as it is yet, Eisner’s work is never boring. As I said, it gives us an understanding on the sacrifices of “The Greatest Generation,” (Tom Brokow’s book about the youth that fought in WWII.)

In his account, Eisner did not hide the fact that Claire Phillips was married four times. Once to a Filipino member of the respected Roxas Family who produced the first post war elected-Philippine President, Manuel A. Roxas who succeeded Sergio Osmena Sr.

Just like John Sayles’ “Amigo” his book gives us benign perspective on how Filipinos are being caught between competing forces during war times. In one’s effort to protect civilians, one is accused of being a collaborator. It is a lose-lose situation. But in the end, the likes of Claire Phillip’s (and Manuel Roxas) are vindicated. Phillip’s was considered a folk hero to POWs and the guerrillas who knew the risks she took for them. (Phillips was captured and tortured in Fort Santiago.)

The book, “Ghost Soldiers,” and the film, “The Great Raid” both touched on her role. So along with Wisner’s new book, “MacArthur’s Spies” these are all excellent resources for all of us in celebrating this month’s “Veterans Day.”

Again, the best tribute we can give our veterans is to understand what they sacrificed for. Their experiences enrich us a people-- in many ways.

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