Japs moving out. Truck after truck loaded with troops evacuating Manila. All Jap cars camouflaged with leaves. Mindoro landings have struck fear in Jap hearts. The end is near.
Puppet government of Laurel transferred to Baguio. They left in a hurry. The presidential convoy was escorted by Jap troops and P.C. soldiers.
Remaining Jap soldiers are desperate and despotic. Sentries are reenforcing their barricades. Passers-by are searched.
All vehicles are being commandeered: Cars, trucks, carromatas, dokars, bicycles and push carts. All Filipinos except puppet collaborators walk. Only Japs ride in cars. People who did not know of the order were stopped in the streets, their cars, bicycles or carromatas taken away from them without pay. A cochero was very angry: “They’ve taken away my only means of livelihood” he said. House-to-house search started in Malate and Ermita districts.
Hardly any food in the market. Stalls empty. Vegetables, meat, and fishes cannot reach Manila because Japs confiscate all food in the way. A soldier came to the house this afternoon asking for our chickens. The Japanese Army is a scavenger force. A man whose bicycle was taken remarked bitterly. “They’ve taken away two of my houses, my furnitures, my rice and now my bike. Pretty soon they’ll take the air I breathe.”
Papa is very nervous. The Japs have sealed the Crosley and Buick. They’re demanding that we produce the tires of the Buick. Pa said that he sold them already. A Jap neighbor took one of our carromatas.
Only leader left in Manila is Benigno Aquino. He will leave for Baguio on Wednesday. He explained the basis of the rumors on the open city proclamation. To a question propounded by dad regarding the open city conjectures. Speaker Benigno Aquino pointed out:
“There has been an open city proposal. It came from us: the officials of the Republic. We wanted to at least make of record that we took measures to ensure the safety of Manilans and Manila. But Yamashita, the Jap commander-in-Chief did not accept our proposal and he explained that the complete demilitarization of Manila would lay it open to a possible paratroop invasion from Mindoro. Under the circumstances, Yamashita pointed out that the next best thing to do was to transfer the seat of the Republic’s government to Baguio and meanehile he will remove his troops and military installations and it will be up to the Americans to notice that the Japanese have already left.”
Dad then asked: “What kind of a force will the Japs leave here?” Aquino replied: “I understand that the Military Police will remain and perhaps enough troops to cope with a surprise attack by paratroops.”
Aquino said that he liked the speech of President Sergio Osmeña from Leyte. “I liked particularly the part where he counseled the guerrillas to act discreetly regarding collaborators because among them are men who are there because they have been forced and because they had nothing but the people’s welfare in mind. Aquino said “What that speech I have enough…..”.
Manila is worried about the recent drastic acts of the Military Police, the Japanese equivalent of the German Gestapo, Recently, it has been rumored that Dr. Antonio Sison, head of the Philippine General Hospital and President of the University of the Philippines was arrested at his home by members of the Military Police. Other prominent doctors that have disappeared are: Dr. Nicanor Jacinto, famous Manila surgeon and head of Doctor’s Hospital; Dr. Miguel Cañizares, tuberculosis expert and head of Quezon Institute and Dr. Jose Jose, head of a provincial hospital.
In the recent “zonification” (technical name for mass arrest) of Teresa, five men were killed by Japs because they were suspected of guerrilla activities.
In the mass arrest at Polo and Obando, more than 500 people were massacred to death. All the male citizens were locked in the church. From the pulpit, a hooded informer was made to point out guerrilleros. Those pointed out were beaten with wooden bats. The Municipal treasurer was hung upside down and killed by trained military hounds. Other suspects were burnt to death. Still others were drowned. A group of ninety were made to dig their own graves then machinegunned or bayoneted according to the sadistic inclinations of the executioners.
In Imus, Cavite, the military governor, Col. Castañeda and the provincial commander, Col. Javallera have escaped to the hills. Japs “zonified” Imus and killed all men who fought in Bataan. Many innocent men were killed. In some cases, wives of suspects were abused. Reign of terror exists at present in Imus.
Meanwhile, as the days pass by, more men die of hunger in the city. Today as I walked downtown, I saw a haggard, skeletal figure, dressed in rags, steadying his weak body at the iron gates of Jap residence while begging for food. Near a restaurant in Avenida Rizal, there was a young woman lying on the dust-covered pavement and death froze her hands in an extended, pleading, gesture. In the slums of Sampaloc, five little girls sat on the sidewalks, thin, gaunt, dirty, begging all passer-by for “rice, please, rice.” I saw an old man with a semi-crazed look in hid eyes searching a garbage can for food. I also saw a Jap truck filled with sacks of rice guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.
Only happy note of the day were leaflets dropped by American planes yesterday: “The Commander-in-Chief, the officers and the men of the American forces of Liberation in the Pacific wish their gallant allies, the People of the Philippines, all the blessings of Christmas, and the realizationof their fervent hopes for the New Year.”
[This is the last entry in the diary, which ends here]