Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

October 3, 1944

The terrified soldiers are in a scamper, moving their things from place to place. There are piles of boxes whose contents we could only guess at. Gasoline containers are stored under trees, in culverts, among bushes. Churches, cemeteries and schools have already been converted into warehouses. At the UST compound, we could see big boxes sheltered under the denuded acacia trees in front of the Main Building. During these past nights, the silence of the night has been broken by the unloading of steel bars, steel sheets and machineries which would probably be used to put up an electric plant or a radio transmitting tower.

The soldiers came without seeking anybody’s permission, not even of the commander of the concentration camp. Our superior wanted to protest, but the Camp Commander advised him that it would be better not to antagonize them, lest we be thrown out of the only building left to us. We however notified Fr. Rector and President Laurel of this violation of International Law. All they could do was to unleash their pent up anger in strong and acerbic terms against the atrocities perpetrated by the military authorities, their arbitrary incursions, and the impotence of the Philippine government to put an end to these abuses.

The rate of confiscation of private houses is reaching dangerous and frightful proportions. In some cases, the ejected residents are transferred to houses near military installations; in other cases, they do not allow the occupants to leave their dwellings, and the soldiers live together with them in a separate portion of the house. This forced company is more terrifying than ejection. Obviously, the Japanese are resorting to the tactic of intermingling with the civilian population for strategic purposes. This incurs greater displeasure among the people.

The Archbishop was among those who had to leave his palace when an anti-aircraft battery was installed in front of it. He had to take refuge at the UST Seminary. Intramuros is reduced to a ghost town. Most of the streets are deserted and almost all buildings are occupied by soldiers who block any street they chose to occupy.