Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

May 5, 1943

This morning, there was another gathering at the Luneta in honor of Premier Tojo. The invitation to join the crowd was extended to students and members of the religious groups. According to the papers, some 300,000 persons, about one third of the population of the Greater Manila area, came freely and voluntarily to see and listen to the Chief of the Japanese State. I suppose one zero must have slipped into the press in giving the figures in gatherings like this. For the first time, English was not used. The speeches were either delivered in or translated into Tagalog.

President Vargas delivered a short but substantial speech, condemning and denouncing the ominous American tyranny and extolling Japanese benevolence to high heavens. The speech reached the peak of its fervor with the promise and offer of all the material and moral support of the Philippines so that Japan might completely crush the remaining Anglo-American forces. Did the illustrious visitor take the speech seriously, or considered it as a mere manner of speaking?

Premier Tojo was also brief and concise. He said, in part:

The Japanese Empire is now providing you with all possible assistance, that you may emerge from the chaos and whirlpool of the old regime and enter the glorious existence of the new. For the present I speak in the name of my country and its one hundred million free inhabitants, that this help will continue without reservation through the future. I am happy to state that on my arrival in this country, I found in all places tangible proofs of your growing desire to cooperate more closely with the Japanese Imperial government. With great satisfaction I note that you have speedily progressed in your endeavor of creating a new Philippines, and that under these circumstances, I am more than ever convinced of the convenience of granting you an early independence.

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