Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

October 1, 1943

The military police is engrossed in preparing the way for the advent of the Republic. There is continuous zoning in towns where they suspect guerillas to be hiding and arms being kept. A warning was issued that if the guerillas in Manila would not surrender, the capital would also be subjected to zoning. The people turned chicken at the thought of the horrors of imprisonment and the search in houses. An order was also issued to cut the points of kitchen knives, razors and bolos, and even the toy guns of children are to be surrendered. Great amounts of these deadly arms were collected. Many souvenirs such as sabers and pistols were destroyed, buried or surrendered. The newspaper reported that more than five thousand guerillas in Manila surrendered, and that they made their pledge of allegiance before the mayor and the chief of the military police, who delivered lengthy speeches before them.

In provinces near Manila, the army has adopted a measure which is both meaningless and ridiculous and therefore humiliating and odious. It consists of requiring all males—and, in some towns, also females—to carry a piece of bamboo pointed like a spear which they were to take with them every time they went out of their houses. These armed squadrons are sometimes mobilized and made to march in parade in plazas to be reviewed by the Mayor or a Japanese officer. What could be the reason behind these bamboo brigades? Conjectures vary; nevertheless, no one likes it at all.

With the increasing terrorism and the state of insecurity reigning in provinces, the influx of refugees into Manila is alarmingly on the rise. Shortage of food and of housing runs side by side and the problem of transportation has gone beyond solution. It is no rare thing to have to wait for one hour to take a streetcar ride, just to end up on the running board or finally to walk all the way. Calesas and carretelas are conspicuously absent. The seats in streetcars have been removed and passengers were packed inside them like sardines.