by Bienvenido P. Cortes
* Climaco de la Cruz painstakingly interviewed the relatives of the victims. The author based this article from that interview.
I was nine years old and a Grade II pupil when the Japanese Imperial Army landed in Batan, Capiz (Aklan at that time was part of Capiz province) on October 19, 1943. We were along the beach in barrio Songcolan, a coastal barrio of Batan when we saw the approaching big ship entering the Dumaguit Bay at about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The ship was in camouflage with coconut leaves on each sides. I had no idea that it was a Japanese war ship. At about 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, Japanese soldiers landed in Poblacion, Batan town.
With no reasons at all except probably that no town officials welcomed them, they arrested all residents that they saw. They detained them in the house of one Pedro Salazar on Os-Rox Street.
At night time, they started beheading the 79 innocent civilians. Five persons escaped who were Ana Laurente Bautista; Marzi Salazar; Consuelo Sorilla; Federico “Dikoy” Bautista and Amparo Alejandro.
The Japanese soldiers butchered the following persons from the Poblacion: Sabas Salazar, Isidro Perlas, Vicente Oquendo, Serafin Bolivar, Raul Laurente, Restituta Parco, Gaudencio Bolivar, Policarpio Bolivar, Agustin Parohinog, Alfonso Perlas, Candido Salazar, Placida C. de la Cruz, Lourdes Salazar, Jesus Magbanua, Martina G. David, Profitiza David, Lt. Guanco, lst Regiment, 66th Infantry Combat Team; Rev. Fr. Bartolome Conanan, parish priest of Batan; and Rev. Fr. Francisco Bolivar.
From barrio Mandong, Batan: killed were Geminiano Oquendo, Alfonso Doroteo, Baltazar Doroteo, Ana L. de Salazar, Angeles Salazar, Conrado Salazar, Luzvilla Lauz, Gregorio Hilario, Liberato Hilario, Rufina Salazar de Lauz, Herminio Lauz, Epifania Panado, Regina Padios, Francisca Madiclum, Erica Conanan , and Jesus (c/o Quirino Bolivar).
From Barrio Ambulong, Batan: (32) – Antonio Rebase, Iluminada Gipti de Rebase, Tomas Rebase, Jr., Ernesto Rebase, Maria Rebase (child), Jovita Rebase, Francisco Panadero, Maria Salazar, Juan Salazar, Felicita Gipti de Cortes, Cayetana Palmani, Gracciano Cortes, Ester Cortes, Jose Cortes, Gloria Cleope, Sergio Paroginog, Octavia Paner, Leoncio Barros, Conrada Feliciano, Margarita Feliciano, Consolacion Alejandro, Flora Denosta, Sinforiano Denosta, Emilia Pioquiro, Domingo Flores, Sabas Bautista, Luz de la cruz, Shirley Inlucido, Flora Pioquiro, and Marcelina Hilario.
Six crew members of a sailboat named “Cesar”docked in Dumaguit Bay were caught and killed by the Japanese soldiers. Their names were unknown.
Seventy-four innocent Batangnons were all killed by the Japanese Imperial Army during their occupation in Batan.
Every October 19 of the year the people of Batan commemorates this bloody event with a simple program at the site of the building where the victims were slaughtered. A marker was established by local officials and relatives of the victims of Japanese atrocities.
Neither apology nor compensation was received from the Japanese government for the 74 civilians the Japanese Imperial Army killed on October 19, 1943 in Batan, Aklan. /MP