Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

January 1, 1944

A few days ago, high-ranking Japanese officers complained to President Laurel of rumors circulating about the impending American attacks on the city. The President replied, “Yes, gentlemen, there are such rumors, but you are the cause of them.”

“How?” asked the Japanese officers in unison, surprised at the implications.

“Are you not hurriedly setting up air-raid shelters, installing anti-aircraft guns in military posts?” argued the President.

I have no assurance of the authenticity of this episode related to me. But what Manila could testify to is the fact that the Army is preparing its defenses against air-raids, which up to this time, they seem not to have worried about. Hitherto, they have been maintaining that it is impossible for American bombers to attack Manila by air, and much less is there a possible landing in the Philippines.

But the people are wondering: What are those large-scale preparations for?

Why are so many soldiers and navymen parading through the streets and why are they stationing so many troops at all vulnerable points in the country? Why has so great an armed force settled into this soil like a swarm of locusts? It is evident that most of them are destined to build their nests here—a nest of machine-guns and other defense equipment. In Cebu alone an estimate of some 30,000 web-foots have been stationed.