Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

February 19, 1942

The newspapers reported that the Asakura Special Mission—something like the Japanese Constabulary—decided to designate five other offices for the issuance of residence certificates. The police require these from everybody. Simple and inoffensive as it was, the requirement was received with resentment by the people of Greater Manila.

Since about three weeks ago, the police have been posted in strategic places to search every passer-by and require them to present their residence certificate. Those who have nothing to show are not allowed to pass. Sometimes they are left unpunished, at other times humiliated, depending upon the humor of the Japanese. A man who was holding a cigar between his fingers was found without a residence certificate. They burned his hands with that cigar. Fearful, everybody is in a hurry to secure his residence certificate.

During these past days, they were issued only at the YMCA behind the old Santo Tomas. The people of Manila have been passing in line before us at the rate of fifteen to twenty thousand a day. Such a stream of people from morning till evening is quite a sight. At the beginning there was disorder and the police had to keep them in line by means of blows and kicks. They have made two lines: one for women, which moves from Magallanes Drive, and another for men, which runs along Aduana Street. Sometimes, commotions occur but the zealous guardians of order suppress them immediately, seeking the assistance of the police.

There are many who, after waiting the whole day under the sun, return home without being able to secure the residence certificate. Their homes being seven or eight kilometers away, they have to walk all the way or the greater part of it due to lack of transportation or money.

Radio Bataan has made an issue out of this irregularity. The press announced that remedial measures are being initiated. The remedy came after more than twenty days, when almost everybody had already registered.