Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

June 2, 1942

The public elementary schools which had been closed since the start of the war were opened yesterday. In the whole of Manila, only twenty schools have been allowed to open—a very small portion of what existed before. Intramuros used to have two elementary schools. Neither one was permitted to open. Only one section is authorized for each grade.

No private school has been authorized to resume classes so far. The four Catholic colleges for boys are occupied by the Army. Out of the twenty colleges for girls, two (Santa Rosa and Santa Catalina) were totally destroyed, and four are occupied by prisoners of Japanese soldiers. At Letran, with a portion of the building occupied by soldiers, we have lost all hope of opening the school. However, we still believe we will be able to rehabilitate six rooms for six grades in that part of the building which was assigned to us. We therefore sought permission to open the elementary school, which after all is the only level they have allowed to start classes.

Evidently, the new administration does not appreciate secondary and university education. They have announced their educational program as such: compulsory primary education for all; a limited enrolment for the secondary level, encouraging vocational education; university education only along the line of Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture and with only a selected number of young students to be admitted.

It is inescapably clear that the Filipino youth have been contaminated with the mania of pursuing a course. The capital has been drawing thousands of provincial folks who, with empty pockets and empty heads, have migrated to Manila full of illusions. All their ambitions are set on getting employed and have a little income to pursue a college course. Thousands of them who—for their aptitude for manual work and their ineptitude for mental endeavors—should be earning their bread through the sweat of their brows, have abandoned their fields, and having donned a clean shirt and necktie, can no longer be made to return to the plow. To sustain their children in college, their parents had to sell their lands, mortgage their houses or find other means from usurers.

Consequently, city life has become polluted by a swarm of parasites: doctors without patients, lawyers without clients, teachers without schools, pharmacists without drugstores, and a host of unemployed applicants, though there are also employment opportunities without applicants.

The rush for employment in the city is a plague that is causing so much dysfunction. After finishing a career through economic difficulties or mental inadequacies, they find that there is no one in the city to take them in. Neither do they find attraction in the provinces, and they end up meddling in politics or in labor unions, malpracticing their professions.

In Manila, lawyers graduate by the thousands annually. Many of them, for lack of clientele, join the police force or work as taxi rivers, hotel boys, or land just about any kind of job.

Now, these new educators come and with a single stroke of the pen they have cut short all these deficiencies by phasing out almost all courses. We are beginning to fear that the drastic remedy is worse than the ailment.

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