The yard of Letran has been completely cleared of debris and plants. We thought of turning it into a garden where we can plant things other than flowers. Many people are likewise converting their gardens and yards into vegetable plots, planting all sorts of greens and root-crops. The people want to keep busy and pass their time. Above all, they fear scarcity, not so much of these garden vegetables which abound in the suburbs of Manila, but of the money with which to buy them.
The majority of employees in various firms have been laid off. Many government employees are holding office, but they are not working—for lack of work to do. They have not received their salaries for the last two months. Nor do they know when they would receive it and how much.
The Philippine National Bank and the Bank of Commerce were given today the permission to pay out the withdrawals of their depositors. However, only few have accounts in the banks. Besides, the non-Filipino banks—and there are many of them—cannot open. It is believed that the military had taken over all their deposits. By all means, the money which the banking institutions can dispose of must be very limited, as all banks had turned over the greater part of their funds to the American Army on December 9, to be transferred to Corregidor or to the United States. The Philippine National Bank alone sent more than four million in bills, silver and gold bars.
On the other hand, the newly-opened banks have closed their credit facilities. Many proprietors had income-earning properties, but as nobody collected, nobody paid, except for what they bought in cash. Since the start of the war no tenant has paid house rentals. The owners are only too happy that at least someone takes care of their house thus saving it from being ransacked or confiscated by the Japanese. We are in a paradise of tenants, debtors and bad payers.