First Filipino to get Pearl Harbor attack news dies in California
CARSON CITY, California –The first Filipino to receive the cablegram message about the Japanese Imperial Forces’ attack on the U.S. Naval Base on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 has died of a lingering illness here, according to a report by Guerrero Coloma of NorthboundAsia.com.
Simeon Marcos Dumlao, 93, of Laoag City, died on December 9; he was born on March 28, 1922.
Dumlao in 1941 was a 19-year-old radio operator of Mackay Radio and Telegraph Co., with offices at the Trade and Commerce Bldg. along Juan Luna Street in Binondo, Manila.
Dumlao was on the night shift on December 8 (Philippine time) when he received the cablegram at about 3:00 in the morning, when more than 100 Japanese airplanes bombed the U.S. Navy installations at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, starting the war with the United States.
In an interview with the NorthboundAsia.com reporter early this year, Dumlao recalled that his speaker monitor suddenly became alive with an urgent message.
“I automatically switched on the tape recorder and inserted a half-inch wide white paper on the typewriter on which the encrypted message, in Morse code, was printed and encoded,” he said.
The message was addressed to the Associated Press, informing their reporters about the Japanese surprise military attack. Dumlao said a series of press releases addressed to other press offices in Manila followed.
His fingers froze and became numbed and he could not type out the messages. “So I asked the traffic clerk to massage my fingers, which he did, to calm me down,” Dumlao said.
The three telegraph companies operating in the Philippines at that time used short wave radio as medium of transmission of cablegrams, telegrams or radiograms, to and from international points.
Mackay Radio merged with Globe Wireless and Press Wireless to become what is now Globe Telecom, where Dumlao retired in the late 1980s.
Dumlao, a guerrilla officer in Ilocos Norte during World War II, died at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center. He is survived by his brother Tony, his wife, Ana Julian Miguel, 89, and five children, all professionals working in Canada, the U.S. and the Philippines; and several grandchildren.
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