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Preserve war testament

04:05 AM February 20, 2020

It was, I believe, in the 1960s when I went to visit Fort Santiago where a sign existed mentioning it as a place where the occupying Japanese forces imprisoned many Filipinos.

It was a couple of decades later when I returned to Fort Santiago and found the sign gone. I learned somewhere that it was removed so as not to upset Japanese visitors to Manila and their government, which was making big investments in the country.

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I distinctly remember writing an angry letter to a newspaper decrying that fact and pointing out that such a sign was needed to ensure that such wartime atrocities would not be repeated.

It has meant much to me because my late mother-in-law, Josefa Llanes Escoda, was imprisoned there and later executed. Her remains were never found, but her memory lingers on in the P1,000 bill which bears her face, along with those of Vicente Lim and Jose Abad Santos.

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Now, the report “Newly opened dungeon to give public ‘complete Fort Santiago experience’,” (News, 2/17/2020) makes me wonder what kind of a sign has been put up for the Filipino public as well as tourists from Japan and other countries.

One hopes that, like the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., which I once visited, Fort Santiago will endure as a testament of all who died at the hands of the Japanese.

ISABEL T. ESCODA

Cebu City

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TAGS: Fort Santiago, Isabel T. Escoda, Japanese Occupation, letter, war atrocities
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