Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

June 17, 1942

The rainy season has started. As our building is full of leaks, our “tenants” are getting wet. For the last few days, they have been asking us to complete the repairs. Two or three days ago, two officers came to see me. One of them spoke a little English and we had the following conversation:

“You have to cooperate,” said the Japanese. “If you cooperate with us the Army will cooperate with you.”

“Tell us how,” I asked.

“You have to finish the repairs of the building as soon as possible. There is too much water in the rooms occupied by our soldiers.”

“We cannot repair the building, as we cannot get the materials needed for the repairs.”

 

“Well,” he said after consulting with his companion, “The Army will get the materials and you will pay them at factory prices or at the same price at which Mr. Madrigal was selling it.”

“I cannot tell you now. You prepare a list of all the materials needed and I shall get them tomorrow.”

Two days later, another officer arrived with a Japanese contractor. They looked at the list and promised to supply the gravel, sand and wood free of charge. They said, however, that we had to pay for the cement.

This morning, fifteen Army trucks lined up in front of Letran College. About 12 soldiers were riding on each one of the trucks. We were frightened. We thought that they planned to attack the College. We were relieved when they started to unload gravel, sand and cement.