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"The Rape of Manila" in I-Witness this Saturday

GMA 7’s multi-awarded documentary program I-Witness will travel back to World War II to come to terms with the past to understand the present. Sandra Aguinaldo will recollect the “Rape of Manila” during the Japanese War in this special episode of I-Witness this Saturday on GMA 7.

Inside the National Museum is a painting that depicts a disturbing image of several Japanese soldiers raping and killing a family in an Ermita home. The painting done in 1947 titled “Rape and Massacre in Ermita” provides a glimpse of the incredible carnage that befell a beautiful and cosmopolitan city once referred to as the “Pearl of the Orient.”

The grim month of fighting in the country’s capital Manila in February 1945 has left wounds as deep as those inflicted through a bayonet. A wound so deep, that almost 70 years later, those who survive still clearly remember the pain. Ambassador Jose Rocha lost 13 members of his family at the German Club. One aunt was even raped. His younger cousins were also not spared. Another survivor of the war is Ambassadress Isabel Wilson. Fourteen at that time, she was separated from her family and ended up in Bayview Hotel where all the women were held.

As the American soldiers continued to struggle to take hold of the city, the atrocities to Filipinos and foreigners alike, intensified. In La Salle, 41 people including brothers and children, were massacred by Japanese soldiers inside the college chapel. University of Santo Tomas served as a concentration camp to 3,500 civilians. Japanese soldiers invaded every corner of the city. They entered every building and every home.

The incessant shelling and burning of buildings and homes flattened the once glorious city. At the end of Word War II, Manila became the most destroyed allied city, after Warsaw. Approximately 100,000 civilians lost their lives. Don’t miss “The Rape of Manila” in I-Witness this Saturday, March 22, right after Celebrity Bluff, on GMA 7.