Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

September 14, 1942

In Negros, people who have some holdings are helpless against the marauders. They are compelled to flee to safer places as the armed bandits are on the loose, burning towns and centrals and killing those who come in their way.

It seems that there are two distinct groups operating separately. One is composed of former USAFFE men who did not surrender but went into hiding in the deep recesses of the mountains and are contented with burning sugar centrals which manufacture alcohol. Although they rarely attack the few Japanese outposts, they have caused a lot of damage.

The other band is a confederation of free-lance groups composed of or led by communists or bandits, and these are the ones committing the atrocities. The people are indignant over the vandalism of these groups, the outcome of which is only hunger, death and destruction, without contributing any benefit to the cause of debilitating enemy forces.

Fugitives from Negros have horrifying accounts of arson in their regions. The accounts could be exaggerated in some respects, but there is reliable information about the burning of sugar centrals, and the hearsay that the island of Negros, seen from the sea, is like a huge bonfire, is not entirely unfounded.

The better-organized guerillas are those of Panay, under the leadership of Governor Confesor of Iloilo who, since the first day of the Japanese occupation, had already raised the banner of rebellion and refused to obey the surrender order issued by General Wainwright. With a sufficiently numerous and disciplined force, he is able to keep the Japanese garrisons in check. Almost the whole island of Panay is under his domination, as his forces practically encircle Iloilo. They descend from the mountains like an irrepressible avalanche upon the towns on the plains, and there are many new recruits eager to swell their ranks.

The Japanese, however, unhesitatingly and mercilessly avenged themselves on the poor inhabitants. They have burned a number of towns in the course of their retreat, or punished them in reprisal upon their return. Whenever a Japanese gets killed, the military would retort in kind, barricading the town with machine guns for hours, burning it to the ground and killing the “culprits”. Actually, the culprits would have already fled to the mountains before the return of the avengers.