American fury in the Philippines. XXII / Albay

The third count, the extreme methods of suppressing resistance
legalised by the Commission, as already mentioned, is best
illustrated in the policy of "reconcentration" earlier practised by
the military authorities.
The use of this plan for reducing a population to submission is
authorised by sec. 6 of the Commission's Act No. 781, further
organising the constabulary, in the following words:

In provinces which are infested to such an extent with ladrones or
outlaws that the lives and property of residents in the outlying
barrios are rendered wholly insecure by continued predatory raids,
and such outlying barrios thus furnish to the ladrones or outlaws
their source of food supply,... it shall be within the power of the
civil governor, upon resolution of the Commission, to authorise the
provincial governor to order that the residents of such outlying
barrios be temporarily brought within stated proximity to the
poblaci6n or larger barrios....

It is a fact that no recent year has passed without the application
of this policy on a large scale. In 1902, it was undertaken in the
region about Lake Taal, comprising parts of Laguna and Bat@ngas
provinces. It then affected not less than 1oo,ooo people, according
to the report of Colonel Wagner, who inspected the camps, each of
which included from 8,000 to 14,000 persons. During 1903, the same
plan was pursued in Albay, where very large areas were entirely
deprived of population, the inhabitants being herded in camps like
those of Bat@ngas. During the current year, reconcentration has been
ordered for Samar (executive order of August I5th) throughout a
region including about 20,000 inhabitants. Besides the official
applications of the policy on a large scale, other instances have
occurred. Several camps now exist in Cavite, and not long since
reconcentration was tried in Tayabas without official authority,
according to Mr. Taft. The number of persons thus recently affected
by this policy under the civil government may be summed up as follows:
Bat@ngas, 1902..........................100,000
Albay, 1903............................ 300,000
Tayabas, 1903..........................15,000
Cavite, 1904............................16,000
Samar, 1904............................ 20,000
Total.......................... 451,000

Of these cases of reconcentration, the first four occurred on the
island of Luzon, the last on that of Samar. The combined population
of these islands being 3,921,000, it thus appears that about one
person in nine throughout the whole population suffered confinement
in the camps at some time during the years 1902-1904.
An effort has sometimes been made to show that the policy of
reconcentration involves no inhumanity, but it is beyond question,
from the testimony both of natives and Americans who are conversant
with the workings of reconcentration, that its effects are most
disastrous, causing widespread suffering. We may fully accept the
belief that reconcentration results in terrible hardship. In the
camps, food is distributed only when extreme want requires it, work
on the roads being sparingly furnished to those who are able thus to
supply themselves with rations. The lack of house accommodation and
the scarcity of food, as well as the overcrowding of the inmates of
the camps, have invariably caused marked increase in mortality. At
the same time, there has been a tremendous loss of crops and houses
throughout the districts in which reconcentration has taken place.

Henry Parker Willis, 1905