LUKBAN TO LOCAL PRESIDENTES AND INHABITANTS, MARCH 17, 1900
[Original in Spanish Contemporary copy. P. I. R . 882.1.]
MOUNTAINS OF SAMAR, March 17th, 1900.
To the Local Presidente and other inhabitants of this Province:
On the 17th of this month there came into my hands an edict and
two circulars issued in the Visayan dialect by the invading North
Americans which are as set forth below. But, as a representative of
our Government, I am obliged to answer them paragraph by paragraph
so that the inhabitants of the Island of Samar may see how the Americans
are deceiving them and what falsehoods these proclamations contain.
Translated to Spanish they are as follows:
American edict. - The Americans have come to the Islands of
Samar and Leyte solely for the purpose of opening all ports and in
this way to allow commerce to go on as before; you must know that
they have not come to oppress the inhabitants but to aid and protect them
in their lives and property.
Answer. - If it be really and truly so that they have come only
to open the ports and continue commerce, why do they establish their
government, dictate reforms and collect taxes?
Are we perchance so ignorant as not to know that their sole object
is to govern us, colonize us and make slaves of us? Can not
the Philippine Government, indeed, take the necessary steps to renew
commerce without their assistance? They say that "they have not come
to oppress the natives, but to aid and protect them in their lives
and property:" then why rape, why rob, why sack, to say nothing of
other innumerable abuses committed by them in the towns they have
occupied? A fictitious protection this, indeed. And this being so, do
our lives and property need the protection of such Yankees as these?
Why have they come and forcibly taken some of the towns of this
Province when we don't need them? The Philippine people can govern
themselves and be at peace with other nations without any Yankee
assistance; they are capable and know how to enact laws for the promotion
of agriculture by gigantic strides along the road of progress
and civilization, and consequently there is no need for Americans to
come to teach and protect the Filipino since he is sufficiently capable
and intelligent to do so himself. And to prove to the world at large
that the Filipino needs no Yankee protection, cast a glance at the
government of your General before they came here, and behold how
the Province of Samar, in less than one year, made such strides for
progress and civilization that foreigners stared with wonder. And
with reason, for where has so fine an arsenal been constructed in a
few months where work almost as fine as that of Europe is done, and
which shortiy will be as fine? What country can boast of manufacturing
cartridges with no better implements than old sewing machines? Have
we not also discovered saltpetre here? You, the Local Chiefs of this
Province, know that we have accomplished these things without any
protection. And do you think that those intruders will teach you what
the representative of the Government has taught you? WiIl they teach
you how to make cartridges, to discover saltpetre, and other inventions
made by our government in this Province? No, a thousand times no!
The Spaniards, who resembled the Filipinos more closely in their manners,
their religion, and in their customs, did not, even after three
centuries, open to us the road to the science of manufacturing munitions
of war; we had to learn this by dint of much labor; and finally,
after suffering for so long a time from the yoke which weighed us
down, we were forced to rise up aaginst them and proclaim to the
world at large that the hour had arrived when we could demonstrate
our right to a place in the concert of civilized nations, and we asked
for liberty and independence and that we be separated from Spain.
These things we have attained. If the Spaniards, I say, did not teach
us that art, or tactics or other sciences of war which constitute the
basis of the progress and culture of all countries, how can we expect
them, or protection either, from a nation whose only law is its desire
to own and exploit these islands, which, on account of their richness,
are the envy of every nation in Europe and are justly called "The pearl
of the Orient"? How could the Yankees possibly conceive of so laudible
an idea as aiding our commerce and progress as a country when they
have already commenced their outrages?
American edict. - The Americans will not interfere with the religious
practices or beliefs of the people.
Answer, - Then why profane our temples and the images of our
Saints? Then why rob and sack sacred edifices? When the Yankees
were at Cantaguic (Gandara) they made kindling wood of the Saints
they found in the church, and made the church their sleeping place. On
the following morning when they left, the church was a veritable privy,
and it sickens me to think of it. While sacking Katbalogan, they took
an image of the Virgin which they found and stripped it of its clothes
and its gold and silver ornaments and then threw it into the water.
Do people who commit such sacrileges as these not meddle with religious matters? And if they do not molest the people in their religious
practices why did they go into the church at Paranas when the priest
was celebrating mass and create a disturbance? Open your eyes, my
beloved people, to the fact that the Yankees do not respect the religious
beliefs of the people.
American edict. - Every man who seeks his own welfare will
return to his home where he will be safe and where the Americans
will protect him; but he who does wrong will be duly chastised.
Answer. - How can the natives return to their homes when they
are abused while there with all manner of brutalities? Can it be said
that the man who returns to his home under present conditions seeks
his welfare when, once there, he is punished and oppressed by the
Yankees? Why protect us until we ask for protection? He who does
wrong, they say, will be duly chastised. If, in fact, as they say, they
come here to protect us, then why interfere with our Government and
why not leave it to us to chastise those that need chastisement? I do
not believe that the definition of protection includes the word Government,
and consequently they have no right to inflict punishment. This
talk of protection amounts simply to this; not only would they protect
you - which they wouldn't -- but they would also govern you, and colonise
you, and oppress you, and, finally, as I said in my previous proclamations,
exterminate our race.
American edict. - To secure peace to the inhabitants of the towns
occupied by the Americans, it must be understood that from 8 o'clock
at night, at which time the bell in the church will ring, no one will be
allowed to walk in the streets; and anyone found on the streets after
8:15 o'clock without proper authority, will be arrested and brought before
the Commanding Officer, where his statement shall be taken.
Answer. - It can at once be seen from this paragraph that they
have come to restrict and oppress us and not to protect us. On what
ground do they base this restriction? And why peace only for the
townspeople? I place no faith in this article, for before they came our
Government allowed the townspeople to walk the streets at all hours,
and still there was peace and harmony among the inhabitants. And
why now deprive us of this recreation and other pastimes which naturally
a man looks for after work? Foreigners, and those who came here on
men of war, can testify that there was no oppression under my govern.
ment; democracy, or equality and fraternity, reigned in all the towns,
and yet the inhabitants enjoyed peace and harmony. And how would
it be possible for there not to be peace among the inhabitants and
happiness in our homes even though our Government was liberal when
the Governor was a good man and those over whom he ruled were his
brothers who respected and were attached to our institutions as should
all Filipinos who love the independence and liberty of their country nnd
who do not wish to be slaves and governed by Yankees but rather
governed by themselves. But if the greedy American nntion should succeed
in making a colony of us, as is clearly its intention as shown by
its tactics, then there will never be pence in the Philippine Islands.
They will have a continuous struggle on their hands, for we already
have had a taste of what it is to be colonists; and the Filipino has
thenceforward had as his motto "Death rather than bear the chains of
servitude and slavery."
American edict. - The Americans hope that the inhabitants of this
Island shall assist them in their efforts for the welfare and pacification
of the country. - T. Allen, Major Commanding, Katbalogan, Samar,
Feb. 25th, 1900.
Answer. - What welfare and pacification of the country can we
hope for from those unprincipled impostors should we help them? Nothing, absolutely nothing, save oppression, slavery, and, ,vhat is worse,
the extermination of our race, and hence any Filipino who assists them
is a traitor to his country for that very reason; and in allomng himĚ
self to be deceived by gold he shows himself to be devoid both of dignity
and shame, and works for his own undoing and for that of his
children in the generation to come. Was there not, perchance, peace and
welfare in this Province before the Americans came? To what can the
present disturbed condition of the country be attributed? Is it not due
to them? Before their arrival, the Province of Samar was the envy
of the country for its peace and prosperity, for its progress and
civilization, and for its advance in the manufacture of fire arms and
munitions of war, as both foreigners and naval authorities can testify.