CARSON CITY, CA–The first Filipino to receive the cablegram message about the attack against the United States Naval Base on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Forces on December 7, 1941 has died of a lingering illness here. He was 93.
Simeon Marcos Dumlao, of Laoag City, was then a 19-year old radio operator of Mackay Radio and Telegraph Co., with offices at the Trade and Commerce Bldg. along Juan Luna St. in Binondo Manila.
Dumlao was at his post in the night-shift on December 8 (Philippine time) when he received the cablegram at about 3:00 in the morning (about 8:00 AM, US time) when more than 100 Japanese airplanes rained bombs on the US Navy installations at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In an interview early this year, Dumlao told this writer that the speaker monitor he was manning suddenly became alive indicating, he said, that an urgent message was forthcoming.
“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 (translated),” he said.
It turned out that the message was addressed to the Associated Press, the news organization, informing their reporters about the Japanese surprise military attack in the then U.S. territory.
“I was so excited that I shouted at the traffic clerk, who was then sleeping at that time, to wake up and phone immediately the message to the AP news organization,” Dumlao, who has been living with his wife here for many years, said.
A series of press releases addressed to other press offices in Manila poured in making clearer about the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“At one instance, my fingers froze and became numbed and I could not type the incoming messages. So I asked the traffic clerk to massage my fingers, which he did, to calm me down,” Dumlao said.
The MRT was one of three telegraph companies operating in the Philippines at that time, using short wave radio as medium of transmission of messages then called cablegrams, telegrams or radiograms, to and from international points, according to Dumlao.
Mackay Radio merged with Globe Wireless and Press Wireless to become what is now Globe Telecom, where Dumlao retired in the late 1980s.
Dumlao who died at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center here last Tuesday will be buried at the All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach on Wednesday after funeral services at the St. Philomena Catholic Church here.Viewing of his body is at Halverson, Stone & Mayers at 1223 Cravens Ave. in Torrance, CA.
Dumlao, a guerrilla officer in Ilocos Norte during World War II, 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 GUERRERO COLOMA/NorthboundPH