LUKBAN TO LOCAL PRESIDENTES AND INHABITANTS, MARCH 17, 1900

Exhibit 1324.

[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.

[VICENTE LUKBAN].
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