On January 20, 1942, a significant event occurred in the history of Pangasinan, a province in the Philippines. Dr. Santiago Estrada, who had earlier evacuated the provincial office to Tayug, returned to assume the governorship and reorganize the provincial government. This decision was made in cooperation with the occupation forces through the Japanese Military Administration. This action was taken to restore peace and order and to work for the welfare of the people. It was a significant moment that marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Pangasinan.
At that time, the Philippines was under Japanese occupation, which had started in December 1941. The Japanese had invaded the country in their quest to expand their empire, and they had quickly taken control of most of the major cities and provinces, including Pangasinan. The Japanese established a military administration to govern the country and appointed Filipinos to various government positions.
Dr. Santiago Estrada was one of the Filipinos appointed to a key position in the new government. He had served as the governor of Pangasinan before the Japanese occupation, and he was known for his dedication to public service. When the Japanese arrived, he chose to evacuate the provincial office to Tayug, where he continued to work for the people of Pangasinan.
However, it soon became apparent that the province needed a more organized and centralized government to deal with the challenges posed by the occupation. Dr. Estrada realized that he needed to return to Pangasinan and assume the governorship once again. He worked with the Japanese Military Administration to reorganize the provincial government and establish Dagupan as the provincial capital of the new Japanese-sponsored national government.
This decision was not without controversy, as many Filipinos saw it as a betrayal of their country and a capitulation to the Japanese. However, Dr. Estrada believed that it was necessary to work with the Japanese to restore peace and order and to help the people of Pangasinan. He saw it as his duty to serve his people in whatever way he could, even if it meant working with the occupiers.
Dr. Estrada’s decision to cooperate with the Japanese had both positive and negative consequences for the people of Pangasinan. On the one hand, it helped to restore some semblance of order and allowed for the provision of basic services such as healthcare and education. On the other hand, it also meant that the people of Pangasinan were subject to the whims of the Japanese Military Administration and had limited freedom and autonomy.