Democracy with a Tommygun by Wilfred Burchett
After writing of the prodigious feats of American production, the facile handling of new and ponderous weapons; of the fruits of the greatest application of science and industry to warfare yet experienced, it may seem anti-climactic to follow up with a chapter on the primitive resistance war of the Philippine guerillas. But the spirit which motivated the Philippine guerillas to use their bolos and knives against the Jap for two and a half years, was the same as that which prompted the people of Britain to carry on the fight as long as was necessary alone against Germany, and the American people to send out vast armies to Europe and the Pacific, to build scores of aircraft carriers and hundreds of thousands of planes. It was the urge for that liberty and freedom which people of Britain and America accepted as their birthright, and which the Filipinos had already tasted in greater measure than any other colonial people, that forced them to take up arms against the Japs.
One of the greatest disappointments Japan received during her infamous adventure for world conquest was the poor response to her "clever" slogan: "Asia for the Asiatics." As a slogan, it should have set the East in a blaze, for the relationship of East and West had not been too happy — but it hung fire. The common people of Asia had good reasons for not trusting the nation who produced and publicised this rallying cry for them. The brutal crimes which stained Japan's invasions of Korea and Manchuria at an earlier date not only lowered her prestige in the civilised world, but they menaced her success in seeking allies amongst the Asiatics. It was all deplorably bad policy, for the Chinese were spread all over the Pacific world, and the tales of Japanese barbarous cruelty were known in advance of her appearance.
There were small minorities in all these countries who were prepared to co-operate with the Japs but, generally speaking, they belonged to the class who were most ruthless in exploiting their own countrymen, and who feared Democracy more than the Japanese. This was as true in the Philippines as it was in China and Indonesia. The mass of the Filipinos disliked the Japanese, whilst many of the holders of the great estates, the descendants of Spanish Grandees and representatives of Catholic Orders, mine owners and industrialists, were prepared to make terms with the invaders.
In the Philippines the majority of the people were more inclined to co-operate with the Americans than were the native peoples who were under the heels of more ancient Imperialisms. They realised that the Americans, in making a mass attack on illiteracy, had rendered great service to them. Also, they had better roads and many public amenities which did not exist before their coming. The costs, certainly, were charged up to Philippine revenues, but America did not commandeer the wealth of the country and starve the social services to the same extent as prevailed where the hoary, hardfisted Imperialisms still ruled.
I came to the Philippines with the conquering fleets, airforces and armies of the Allies and knew little, personally, of the struggles of those who lived through the Japanese "Terror." I am indebted to my friend, Mr. Howard Handleman, for the following account. Mr. Handleman was veteran International News Service Correspondent, who covered the Pacific war from the earliest days. He landed in the assault waves at Leyte and covered the Philippines campaign without a break until the capture of Manila. During much of that time he was associated with the guerillas. He explained to me that the Americans at home knew little of the Filipinos, and even Americans in the Philippines knew very little more, so that it was a matter of speculation how the Filipinos would react to the Japanese invasion.
They were surprised, then, when the Filipinos began risking their lives to help the few who were left roaming the islands after the surrender. One American who escaped from the Death March to Camp O'Donnell said:
"I'd been in the Philippines quite a while in the Army, but I didn't know the Filipinos. The only Filipinos I knew at all were the boys who cleaned our rooms and the bartenders in Manila. Actually, when a Filipino boy found me after I'd hidden I was afraid he would turn me over to the Japs. I didn't even know Filipinos liked us."
That soldier, turned guerilla, lived on the protection of Filipinos three years, and finally married a Filipino girl, who put on a pistol and turned guerilla with him.
Another soldier, Joseph St. John, refused to surrender, tried to get to Australia in a small native boat, or banca, failed and then lived three years on Mindanao and Leyte, where he was a coast watcher, put it this way:
"The Japanese knew Americans were in the Philippines, and knew just about where we were. They tried to catch us often. They offered big rewards for information. Despite this we were able to walk openly in any barrio or town where there was no Jap garrison. We walked unafraid. We didn't have to worry about spies. There were a few, but the Filipinos took care of them for us.
"None of us would have lasted a week loose in the Philippines if the people hadn't taken care of us. We all knew it, too."
Planned resistance was important though. At first the lawless elements took over, organised little bands of armed men who ruled by terror, low grade fascists who taxed, looted, raped and murdered to control small sections of the Philippines. They called themselves guerillas and even used a despised American gang dodge to "sell" protection to the people. They said they were protecting them from the Japanese, but the people, able to laugh even at their own troubles, laughed. They knew these "guerillas" never fought the Japanese, always hid when the Japanese came near.
Gradually these gangs were wiped out as a few Americans and a lot of Filipino patriots organised true guerilla outfits and went to war on both the Japanese and the brigands. The guerillas organised both their fighting units and their home front. The soldiers, as Filipinos refer to guerillas, were in regular military units, from division to regiment, to battalion to company, to platoon to squad. A division might have been of 1,000 men instead of 15,000, but the guerillas did not let the table of organisation bother them. They just cut down every other unit to one fifteenth its normal size and let it go out to fight.
At home there were two main organisations that supported the guerillas who hid in the hills — the Civilian Volunteers and the Women's Auxiliary Service.
The CV's were boys, old men and young men who for one reason or another were better fitted for duty in town than in the country with a gun. Young mayors, for instance, who ingratiated themselves with the Japanese and worked under cover for the guerillas, could serve better as civilians than soldiers. Their duties were varied. They were the men of the guerilla spy system, one of the most remarkable any resistance movement has had. A peasant carrying a bag of rice from one town to another on a plodding carabao might also be carrying in his head the exact number of Japanese who had been moved into a next garrison, along with the number and types of weapons and the hours that they changed guard.
There were other things for the CV's to do, too. Guerilla units wandered far from their bases. Often they operated in areas none of them knew. CV's would join them for a single operation, or single series of operations, to serve as guides over the paths of their native jungles and mountains. CV runners operated the "bamboo telegraph," a message service that worked by the relay system like the old English post boys, except the Filipinos changed men instead of horses. Sometimes the bamboo telegraph runners started about even with a movement of Japanese troops and reached their objective with the warning hours ahead of the Japs.
Then some of the CVs became eager and conducted little skirmishes of their own. One town on Leyte had a mayor who felt he had to kill Japs. Sometimes in the early morning he would arise, sneak out to his bicycle, ride close to the Japanese garrison, kill a guard with rifle or grenade, and race back home, where he would be in bed, ostensibly asleep, when the Japanese came to complain. Always the Japanese cried "guerilla in town." Always the mayor wasted a lot of time, waking up, denying guerilla in town, and then reluctantly going along with the Japanese to search for the guerillas.
The girls of the WAS drilled "like regular military" in towns where there were no Japs, and met in publicly announced places for lessons in first aid, jungle cooking, weaving and sewing. These were the main services they performed for the guerillas. Some WAS girls stayed in their home towns or barrios, others moved into the hills with the guerillas to keep house, cook, patch old clothes and make new shirts, shorts and hats.
Resistance went deeper than the organisations, of course. Farmers gave rice and camotes and chickens to guerillas. Townspeople gave paper and cloth. Paper was important. Guerillas printed their own money on any paper they could get, school books, paper with blue lines, anything. The money was backed only by the promise of the Philippine government in exile that it would be honoured, and the vague backing of the United States Treasury. But guerilla money was worth more than Japanese invasion money. With every American success in the Pacific, every move closer to the Philippines, guerilla pesos became greater in value, and Jap pesos less.
Finally, when Americans hit Palau and the Moluccas simultaneously, the guerilla peso was worth 200 Jap pesos, and there were no takers. Nobody believed in the Japanese notes any more, not with 25 centavos' worth of rice, peacetime market, selling for 1,000 to 1,500 Jap pesos.
Filipinos delighted in any word or action that demonstrated their comradeship in resistance. Stories of their guile in this field will become the legends Filipino mothers will tell their children for generations, the legends on which are based the first pride in nationality. Such stories as that of the Baybay band will send little Filipinos to bed smiling for years. Japanese troops sometimes were landed at Baybay when they came to Leyte from other islands. Always a high officer of Leyte's garrison went south to Baybay to greet the newcomers. Always he wanted music for the occasion, and always he hired Baybay's little band. Always he was happy with the music and smiled his appreciation, and always the Filipino people laughed behind their hands. Because always the band played the same two tunes, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Over There," two of America's great war songs from 1917.
Another legend will be based on the mayor of a town in Mindanao, who was used as interpreter wherever Japanese dignitaries spoke to the townspeople. Every speech he interpreted reached: the gathered people with the opening declaration:
"Long live the U.S.A."
Several Japanese generals were happily surprised by the ovations their opening remarks received after they were sifted through the bright wit of the interpreter.
There will be legends, too, about the resourceful war the Filipino guerilla soldiers waged on the Japanese, a war that had to be resourceful because the soldiers were so poor. They had American guns, old Enfield rifles salvaged from Bataan and a precious few carbines, Browning automatics, Tommyguns, machineguns and Garands smuggled in by Americans in airplanes and submarines. But they had to depend a lot on weapons they could make from old lengths of gaspipe fitted to handcarved stocks and equipped with firing mechanisms that worked on everything from a rubber band to the mainspring from a broken clock. They had to make their own ammunition, too, and that was a guiding factor in their war.
They couldn't waste bullets.
It takes a lot of guile to wage war without wasting bullets, and the Filipinos had plenty. That was one phase of the war that was purely Filipino, not American. Americans didn't know how to wage war economically, and never had to learn. Americans could never have worked the "soyac" trap, for instance. Filipinos did. They knew the paths the Japanese travelled on night patrols. During daylight hours they lined either side of the paths with needle-pointed bamboo stakes, or soyacs, driven firmly into the ground at 18 inch intervals, hidden in the tall cogan grass. The soyac points were turned toward the paths.
At night the bullet-poor Filipinos hid in ambush, awaiting the patrol. They waited well, too, remaining hidden until every Jap soldier was within the trapped section of the path. Then they cut loose with a great many shouts and a few bullets. Well trained soldiers, the Japanese dived for cover, off the path. Some were killed outright on the spikes. Others were just hurt. The Filipinos were on the wounded ones fast, swinging their wicked bolos.
Swinging a bolo didn't cost anything. In fact, it cost nothing to make a bolo knife. The Filipino blacksmiths with the guerillas made them from the salvaged steel of old automobile springs.
There were two reasons why Filipinos liked to kill Japs with the bolo. First was the forced reason, economy. But almost as important was the fact that guile had to be used to kill a Jap with a knife, and when guile was used there was something to talk about and laugh about. It was fun to fool the Japs.
It was fun to laugh about the daring guerillas who planted an American propaganda map on the desk of the first sergeant of a Japanese garrison, and to throw empty American chewing gum wrappers in the way of the Japs, just to show them the Americans were still in touch.
Or the time two "peasants" walked slowly toward a Japanese sentry at breakfast time, offering to sell him the chickens they carried in their arms. The Japanese had strict orders against permitting any Filipinos to approach too close to the gate, but he also had a taste for chicken. As the peasants approached slowly he kept warning them away, but also kept eyeing the chickens. Before he knew it they were next to him, thrusting the chickens into his arms. He probably never knew that beneath the chicken feathers were bolos which killed him quickly. His fellows, squatted on the floor eating breakfast in their messhall, hardly knew what hit them when about 50 bolomen poured through doors and windows. They were so surprised they were unable to get their rifles to fire a single shot. Twice the guerillas on Leyte worked that trick, getting 33 Japs once, 17 the second time.
Both were the greatest type of guerilla victory. No guerilla bullets were expended. No guerillas were hurt. Jap guns and ammunition were captured for guerilla use. And the Japanese had been tricked.
The Filipinos had to be economical of men as well as ammunition. There weren't enough fit for guerilla duty. Filipino commanders demanded bloodless victories in the skirmishes with the Japs. They demanded that their unit leaders, the lieutenants commanding platoons or companies, plan operations so well they could kill Japs without suffering a single casualty, killed or wounded.
The guerillas were an army in every sense. Their communication system, although unorthodox, was superb. On Leyte everyone knew puppet President Jose Laurel was shot and seriously wounded at Manila golf course late in 1943. They knew he was shot three times by a single assassin who had told underground friends that if the President played golf on a certain day, as was his custom, he would be shot. Filipinos who travelled from Manila southward in bancas brought the word.
Filipinos on one island knew how much rice cost on the other islands, knew of Japanese troop and ship movements, of the movement of American and Filipino prisoners from one camp to another. Guerillas collected this information and spread it among the people. They also listened to news broadcasts from San Francisco, and mimeographed little news sheets for general distribution.
Brig. Gen. Courtney Whitney, who lived in Manila before the war, and who directed the administrative side of the resistance movement from Gen. MacArthur's headquarters told correspondents early in the Leyte campaign:
"You are getting many stories about the exploits of the guerillas, great stories of courage and daring. They are true stories and well worth telling.
"But I like to think of this unknown campaign in the Philippines as a 'resistance' movement, rather than a 'guerilla' movement, because without the support of the great majority of the Filipinos the guerillas would have been unable to carry on their fight.
"The guerillas spearheaded the movement. They were the strongest element of the people, best able to fight. But it took just as much courage for the old men and young boys and women to stay in the towns and barrios, under the eyes of the Japanese, and carry on their resistance work, which was every bit as essential as the work of the guerillas."
Resistance of the people wasn't something that just happened. It took a lot of planning before it became effective, planning by the Filipinos themselves, by Americans stranded in the backwoods of the islands.
But without the will to resist that was the dominant emotion of most Filipinos during the three dark years, no amount of planning could have hurt the Japs much. Whitney said that. So did the Filipino guerilla leaders, like Col. Kangleon of Leyte. But more emphatic was the testimony of the Americans who owe their lives to the Filipinos' will to resist.
On Luzon there was a guerilla organisation that wanted independence, and that considered the return of the Americans a mere step in a longer program, not a program in itself. That organisation was Hukbalajap, a word made of the first syllables of the phrase "people's army against the Japanese." It was Communist led and was centred in Pampanga province, north of Manila.
Pampanga is the seat of Philippine revolution, the New England of the Philippines. The influence of Hukbalajap spread from Pampanga to neighbouring provinces, Neuva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac and into Manila itself.
Hukbalajap fought Japs, and long before Americans invaded Luzon had eight towns in Pampanga so well organised that Japs refused even to patrol them, and Hukbalajap men walked the streets with rifles slung over their shoulders, operated their own police organisation and had their own mayors.
There were many differences between the men of Hukbalajap and the men of USAFFE (United States Forces in Far East), differences that make Hukbalajap worth remembering. There was the difference of program. USAFFE wanted the Americans back. Hukbalajap wanted the Americans back so that the Philippines would be independent, and they could work on their program to build Soviet provinces. USAFFE guerillas posted signs in their barrios. The signs said "Welcome U.S.A.," "Welcome Our Liberators," "Welcome Our Brothers in Democracy." Hukbalajap guerillas posted those signs, but also posted signs with a different tinge, signs like "Down with Fascism," "Down with Japanese Imperialism," signs reflecting a political consciousness not found in the USAFFE ranks. Men of Hukbalajap gave the V for victory sign like all other Filipinos, but they also added "Long live Hukbalajap." Proud as all Filipinos are, Hukbalajap Filipinos were more proud. San Fernando, Pampanga, and Mabalacat were the only cities Americans entered where Filipinos did not cry "ceegaret, Joe?" Filipinos generally thought nothing of begging cigarettes and candy, didn't even consider it begging. They gave Americans anything they had because it is their way of life to share. They just couldn't imagine one man refusing another anything he really needed. But Hukbalajap discipline was injected into the natural Filipino pride, and people in Pampanga did not ask for cigarettes.
It was a political measure with them, a best foot forward, to try to counteract the bad propaganda they knew they were getting from USAFFE guerillas and Americans in the Philippines. For no American aligned himself with Hukbalajap during the days of Japanese occupation.
Hukbalajap is important because, with the return of Americans, it was the only organisation left with a definite program, the only political group ready to meet the Americans with definite ideas of what it wanted for the Philippines.
Organised in 1936 under the venerable Socialist, Pedro Abad-Santos, the left-wing movement crystallised into a small, compact political entity with the coming of the Japanese, and now it represents a major problem for those rebuilding the Philippines. The American Army's civil affairs people were no help. They were woefully unprepared for such a problem, and the only measure they took was to persuade Hukbalajap soldiers to leave their rifles at home in territory the Americans occupied.
There are many other problems that will have to be settled, and will take a long time settling. Political opportunists are evident and loud. Commercial opportunists are working fast. And now that the Japanese are through in the Philippines, there is no issue to hold all Filipinos together.
Handleman concluded his story with the tale of the tragic fate of thousands of these Filipinos because of their loyalty to those they had chosen as their allies.
"For three years," he said, "the Japs went on complaining 'You Filipinos do not like us.' This was true. The complaint of the Filipinos was not that the Japs had taken their rice — though that was bad enough — but that they had slapped their faces and compelled them to bow to them. Now the time had come when the Japanese knew they were going to lose the islands, and they were determined to revenge themselves on the people whose co-operation they could not win. Nowhere in the Pacific did the Japanese vent their hatred in more insensate slaughter—in such fiendish orgies of savage killings by flame and sword. In Manila, while the Americans were marching through the Northern Province, the Japs told the people: 'We know we cannot hold this. We are going to die, you'll die too.' Die the Filipinos did, by thousands.
"Worst massacre of all was in Intramuros, Manila's ancient walled city of Spanish cathedrals and agonised slums. There, last Jap stronghold within the city, Filipinos were herded into houses which were burned while Japanese stood guard to shoot down any who tried to escape the flames. Frustrated in their power lust, the Japanese of Intramuros got their last terrible thrill by killing the helpless, the poorest of the poor, the old men, young men, women and children.
"It was the same throughout the Philippines, wherever the Japanese were backed to the wall, beaten beyond hope, they turned the sword on the civilians, who hated them, and whom they hated. On little Ponson Island, off Leyte, where the Japanese did not even have a garrison, more than 500 civilians were killed in one day by 70 soldiers sent over with specific instructions to 'subjugate' all the islanders. The soldiers carried out their orders. Only about 20 of the Filipinos on the island escaped, most of them by feigning death after they were shot or bayoneted. There were four separate massacres that day, in the barrios, or villages of Dapdap, San Juan and Esperanza. Three weeks later, when Americans reached the island, the bodies were still in the streets, the houses, the alleys and the Dapdap Church, where more than 100 were slain. Four massacres in a single day leave no time for burying.
"Perhaps there are consciences in the world that can justify such massacres of civilians. Perhaps Japanese and German fascists, and fascists of all other lands, can say 'the people resisted, they did not like us, so we killed them, and it was right.' Perhaps that is one of the twisted 'new order' notions which have made most people the world over hate fascism instinctively.
"Certainly a conscience of that type could justify the mass murder of Filipinos without qualms, because the Japanese had few friends in the Philippines, and a remarkably high percentage of those who were not their friends were active in the resistance movement."
The reference in Handleman's story to Don Pedro Abad-Santos interested me, and I used my opportunity in the Philippines to learn more of the founder of this guerilla organisation known as "Hukbalajap." Don Pedro has been called the Filipino Gandhi, but he resembles Gandhi only in the personal sacrifices he has made for his countrymen and the fine quality of his life, and not in the methods he adopts for achieving his objectives. He sprang from a wealthy landed family and was a class-mate of President Quezon and Vice-President Osmena in the Santo-Tomas University. His brother, Jose Abad-Santos, is the Supreme Court Justice.
Early in life he questioned the justice of the established social order. On rainy days he would be driven to his school in a covered carriage, and passed workers in the streets barefooted, with flimsy shirts and trousers, without coats, sodden with rain. Why should there be this difference? he questioned. He read many books. Two writers, Leo Tolstoy and Henry George, exercised a profound influence upon him. During the third year of his law course at the University the revolution against Spain broke out. Don Pedro was already suspect by the Spaniards, and he was forced to escape to the Provinces, where he helped organise the insurgents. After the overthrow of Spanish rule he continued to fight against the new masters, the Americans, because he wanted, not only the independence of his country, but also the overthrow an economic system to which the Americans were pledged, and which he abhorred. He was finally captured and sentenced to death by an American Military commission, but the father of General Douglas MacArthur commuted the sentence to twenty-five years imprisonment. The American conscience later revolted against this barbarous sentence and he was pardoned. Completing his law studies, he later served two terms in the Legislature, and in 1922 he went to the United States as a member of the second "Independence Mission."
As he grew older his faith in constitutional means for securing social justice diminished. Capitalism, he found, was too strongly entrenched. In 1930 he began to organise the workers to enable them by direct action to secure their elementary rights. In 1936 the workers struck, but they were ruthlessly suppressed. Some were fatally shot and many others were thrown into prison. Don Pedro made his indignant protest to an American interviewer.
"We have," he said, "a real feudal system. The peasants have to hand over to the landlords sixty per cent, of the products of the land, and the mill hands in the sugar mills receive a wage that makes it impossible for them to live under decent conditions. When election time comes round they are told how to vote. As long as tenants remain under the bondage of landlords, democratic institutions don't do them much good. What is the use of a Social Justice Program if you cannot prevent the Capitalists from sabotaging it at every step? How can we bring about a change in social relations unless you allow strikes? We don't want violence, but these men should be allowed to strike, to picket to defend themselves. The Filipino peasant is the most peaceful man in the world. He would never use force if there were any other way." Don Pedro concluded emphatically: "People say the revolution is coming. I say the revolution is here. These men, and men like them all over the world, are not going to live like this much longer. If governments will do nothing for them, they will do something for themselves. Their time has come."
This, then, is the man responsible for the formation of a party that knows what it wants and is out to get it, and because it threatens the status quo of vested interest and privilege, despite its splendid service in the war against Japan, it is being ruthlessly suppressed. The Socialist Party of Don Pedro has now united with the Communist Party, and the active leadership has passed into younger hands.
After seeing the Capitalist system at work in Colonial territories I am convinced that no Colonial Power can establish a successful economy — that is, successful for the native people—when such a large share of the revenue is drained away never to return. It is like a continuous farming of land without fallowing or fertilising. The worst example of such a policy is, of course, India. America can justly claim that she has given the Filipinos a fairer deal than that enjoyed by any other Colonial people; but even that is not good enough. America's greatest blunder, after deposing the Spanish government, was in preserving intact the great estates which had grown up in Spanish days, one third of which were held by Spanish Catholic Orders, and permitting them to perpetuate conditions upon those properties bordering on serfdom.
One estate, Buena Vista, controlled by "Mother Church," has thirty-thousand persons living upon it in a state of extreme poverty and debt, with no prospect of relief while it remains possessed by the present owners.
The extreme tenderness with which all Capitalist countries treat vested interests in property and industry, no matter how outrageously they conflict with human needs and violate elementary rights, is still in evidence in the Philippines.
Any close observer of events in the Pacific must have had his sense of justice violated by the cynical inconsistency with which leading men in different areas have been treated for the same offence. Some of the founders of the Indonesian Republic have been branded traitors and collaborators and deprived of active leadership, to appease offended interests. In the Philippines the most notorious fascists and collaborators have been rewarded with office and have the active support of the American High Command. There seems only one explanation. The Indonesians were aiming at the deliverance of their oppressed countrymen and their success would ultimately imperil the revenues of international interests that trade in oil, sugar, gold and rubber — therefore they must be defamed and deposed. These men made use of the unique opportunity to secure the arms necessary for the liberation of their country, and the history of liberty provides plenty of precedents to justify their actions.
In the Philippines two men, Soriano and Rokas, have been raised to power since the defeat of Japan, whose story is worth recording. Soriano is a multi-millionaire landholder and has controlling interests in many industrial and mining companies. Rokas is a lawyer, and is the legal representative of Soriano, he, too owns large estates and also a chain of newspapers. Both of them collaborated with Japan and were left in possession of their estates. Soriano has been an active supporter of General Franco; he personally contributed £60,000, and collected another two million pounds to aid Franco crush the Spanish Republic. He was also one of the founders of the Spanish Falange, a super-fascist organisation. This man has been made economic adviser to American High Command, and is President of the Senate. Rokas entered the Cabinet of the puppet government which the Japanese established, and helped prepare the Constitution, and was one of the signatories. When Japan asked this puppet government to declare war on America, Rokas supported it, saying: "If our Allies — the Japanese — wish us to declare war on America, we should do it." As a further guarantee of his fidelity to Japanese interests, he prepared a letter urging the guerillas in Mindanao to lay down their arms and surrender. This letter was reproduced and distributed in thousands by the Japanese, and helped undermine resistance. This man Rokas has been made a Brigadier General, and has the support of the American Military Administration for the Presidency. Why should these men be rewarded for an offence for which, in their case, there was absolutely no justification, whilst Indonesian leaders were held up to public scorn? This illustration shows the natural bias of the military-capitalist mind towards "The Old Order" and its determination to perpetuate it at all costs. Soriano and Rokas are regarded as safe men who will protect American investments in the Philippines, whether America retains political control or not; therefore in spite of their ugly background of collaboration and fascism, they receive special dispensations, with expanded authority.
To ensure that sufficient armed strength will be available to clear the islands of the real patriots, branded subversives by Soriano-Rokas standards — a force of nineteen thousand Filipino Constabulary has been mobilised and armed with ten thousand machine guns. These, supported by bombing planes, will, it is expected, be strong enough to wipe out the resistance of the men whom Don Pedro Abad-Santos and his disciples have inspired with a vision of a new order with a juster society. That the slaughter is expected to be heavy is proved by the news that twenty-four field hospitals have been prepared for the operation.
This may cause an ebb in the tide of resistance, but the flood will eventually come again and sweep these obstructions into oblivion.