The Philippines Genocide 3 million Filipinos Killed

The Philippines Genocide is the genocide history forgot, you will find in history books the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902 but they fail to mention the genocide carried out by the United States of America on the people of the Philippines.

I first came across references to the Philippines Genocide in 2009 and since then have spent a lot of time researching it. I have discussed it with many people, it seems people in the Philippines are not taught about the genocide and very few have even heard of the Philippines genocide.

The fact that it is not taught and so few know about it did make me question if it really happened. So I dug much deeper and have come to the conclusion it did happen, but as the victors write the history books they tried to cover it up because it  was so horrific.

Figures do not add up

What brought me to the conclusion that the Philippines genocide did happen is the figures in the history books which simply do not add up. The History books that were written by the victors claim somewhere between 200,000 to 300,000 died in that period, which is still a large number considering the population of the Philippines at the time was no more than 9 million.

200,000 to 300,000 dead just can not be correct. A People’s History of the United States (1980) cites 300,000 Filipinos killed in Batangas alone, that alone proves the figures wrong, William Pomeroy’s American Neocolonialism (1970) cites 600,000 Filipinos dead in Luzon alone by 1902. This is backed up by General Bell himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.”

E. Ahmed’s wrote “The Theory and Fallacies of Counter-Insurgency,” The Nation, August 2, 1971.“the bloodiest colonial war (in proportion to population) ever fought by a white power in Asia; it cost the lives of 3,000,000 Filipinos.”

Filipina historian the late Luzviminda Francisco carried out a thorough investigation of the Philippines Genocide and documented it, she arrived at the figure of 1.4 million Filipinos dead. The End of An Illusion (London, 1973). However, this only covered the period from 1899 to 1905 it does not cover the first 2 decades of U.S. colonial rule a time when the killing might have slowed but was still happening to keep the people in order, it also does not include the thousands of Filipino Muslims (Moros) that were brutally killed.

Census figures and the Philippines Genocide

People will often ask why do Census figures not show a drop in population for that period?

There could be a few reasons for this, firstly I doubt even today population figures for the Philippines are correct as so many people live of the radar, imagine how difficult it would have been to calculate the population in the late 1890s and the early 1900s.

The methodologies used by the Spanish and the Americans were also very different. The Spaniards generally left Igorots, Aetas, Lumads, and Moro peoples alone, so it is unlikely they were included in the census.

You also have to ask if the U.S census figures showed a drop of 1.4 million or more would they publish this for the world to see?

I suspect however the U.S figures were no more than a guess based on the Spanish figures, as it was at a time of war and would have been almost impossible to collect the numbers. Or maybe the U.S did give the task of collecting the numbers but rather than going out into hostile communities that would put them in danger they made them up using the Spanish census as a guide.

The slaughter

In an article published in The Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…

Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Major Littletown Waller a U.S. Marine that was accused of shooting 11 unarmed Filipinos on Samar. Another Marine officer described his testimony.

The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

Filipino did not stand a chance against the superior and overwhelming firepower of the American troops. In the first battle Admiral Dewey was firing 500 pound shells as he steamed along the River Pasig. The bodies of dead Filipinos was so high U.S. troops used them for a defensive wall.

Writer Mark Twain best known for his book “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”

On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.

We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain

Mark Twain also spoke of the almost universal racism of the white American troops and politicians he called them shameless. He was deeply disturbed by the sadistic war crimes that were committed by the American troops. He suggested that the Stars and stripes on the American flag should be replaced by a skull and cross bone.

Was it American policy to kill as many Filipinos as possible? Brigadier General J. Franklin Bell wrote “With a very few exceptions, practically the entire population has been hostile to us at heart,” so there is no doubt the Americans saw every Filipino as the enemy.

The USA carried out a scorched earth campaign in burning and destroying villages, they also tuned villages into concentration camps where they burnt the land around them and built watch towers that looked over the free-fire zones, anyone trying to leave the village was shot. They called these concentration camps reconcentrados.

The reconcentrados (concentration camps) were full of disease which caused a very high death rate the death rate in some camps was as high as 20%. One camp was 2 miles long by 1 mile wide and was the prison for 8,000 filipinos. Men were often rounded up to be questioned using torture if they gave the Americans the information they wanted or not did not matter as they were still shot.

A soldier from New York wrote

The town of Titatia was surrendered to us a few days ago, and two companies occupy the same. Last night one of our boys was found shot and his stomach cut open. Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. About 1,000 men, women and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark skin and pull the trigger”

Corporal Sam Gillis wrote “We make everyone get into his house by seven p.m., and we only tell a man once. If he refuses we shoot him. We killed over 300 natives the first night. They tried to set the town on fire. If they fire a shot from the house we burn the house down and every house near it, and shoot the natives, so they are pretty quiet in town now.”

A British eye witness in the Philippines said:

“This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.”

Why the Philippines Genocide happened

It all happened because of a prayer to god.

President McKinley was in the Whitehouse praying when he claimed it came to him that he could not give the Philippines back to Spain as that would look cowardly.

McKinley said he did not want the Philippines. But then one night in the White House, when he was down on his knees praying to God, it came to him:

That we could not give them back to Spain – that would be cowardly.

He could not let France and Germany have the Philippines as that would be bad for business.

He could not let the Filipinos rule themselves as he considered them incapable.

So he decided America should take the whole Philippines rather than just Manila which is all they had at the time, educate the people and Christianise them, something the Spanish had already done to many of the people.

So in 1899 the U.S.A. declared war on the Philippines as a way to educate, Christianise and civilise the people and the Philippines Genocide began.


While we can not be sure of the figure of 3 million that some historians claim We can be pretty sure from research that the figure of 1.4 million killed in the Philippines Genocide between 1899 to 1905 is correct, it is unlikely the killings just suddenly stopped, the reports from the time show how racist towards the Filipinos many of the American troops had become, they also show that many of the troops had come to enjoy the killing. Could you get men that had become brutal killers to suddenly stop killing? It is very unlikely, you only have to look at wars today that are nowhere near as brutal and in an age where people are more educated to realise how war affects some people. We also know the fighting with the Moros carried on.

So did the numbers killed reach 3 million? We will never know but it probably did between 1899 to 1942 when the Japanese arrived.

This post was last modified on May 13, 2018, 9:15 am

Categories: Philippines History
Tags: GenocidePhilippinesUSA

View Comments (30)

  • With figure estimates and quotes as important as these writing it will do well if references had been cited and clearly. Else, the claim is dubious, and worst it is fanning flames of anger and hatred towards a people which paints itself as big brother and liberator.

  • Some of you guys make me scared to go to the Philippines with your comments cause I am American married to a beautiful Philippine woman. I wonder why I was never taught this in History when I was in school another horrible time in the history of the world.

  • I am an American and I am ashamed. I love the Philippines, a country with a vibrant and complicated culture that deserves our respect.

    • I am a Filipino and there's no need to apologize. The people who have done the atrocities if any have long been gone and this story is in my opinion inaccurate and mainly based on speculations.. For the most part of modern times since the turn of the last century, America has done more to advance the education and lives of Filipinos. The last world war saw thousands of American soldiers who sacrificed and died to defend freedom in all of Asia. Thousands died in defense of the Philippines alone and I appreciate that. Don't let the hatred of a few fellow Filipinos for whatever reason deter the bond of friendship among our people and deter the efforts to create a better world for the future of our children.

      • I am a Filipino as well, Mark Twain was there and a BritishMan testified that its not a war anymore but its a Massacre...Shame on you to state that its a speculations...

      • Willie, with respect to your comment. That education pushed by Americans that everyone must be educated since it can not be installen.That's the reason why Filipinos became slave by rich countries like America etc. Yes, nobody can take our knowledge but they pay us as subordinate employees to serve them better. Our gained knowledge were bought to work for them. Another reason, this country became chaotic due to many bright people that they want to be the bosses, or they want to be the leader. Nothing single solid done. Hard the hard many bosses or leader with different knowledge & interest. What our country needs from the start of culture forming is how to run a business and be a proprietors. Not to serve with our education learned. They control us to be industrialize & remain buyers of their product crafted by us. That's how I look at it. Most if not all countries been under British became rich but Philippines under USA from 2nd to the riches after the war became like this. Come to think of this my brother. They almost started a war with Pacific ally to China. Good Digong refuses, I could not imagine that Philippine will become their staging area of war, and seemingly assss if they are helping us, but it's to their business advantage. American want Filipinos in their country 'coz their economy needs them. Many countries want Philippines, since it is the GATE OF THE PACCIFIC. So I'm still for them to apologize.

      • I share your sentiment. This event is part of our history and we all learned from the lessons of the past. Since then we have fostered relationships with our American brothers and sisters, as well as other nations who have occupied us. We became who we are because of all the people that became part of our journey as a nation. We cannot change the past but we can definitely shape our future for the better.

  • This left me speechless and overwhelmed. Thank you for your research work. Surely, Hitler was not the only one guilty of genocide.

  • I'm glad that this article has been published. I have read several researches about the genocide when I was in college and it was actually discussed in our history class, despite the fact that the university that I attended was established by the Americans. Both the thought of this genocide and the fact that I was enlightened about it through an American institution leaves me feverish after all these years- all because it makes me confused of whether I ought to be angry at them for killing my ancestors or whether I am to be grateful to them for allowing me to get good quality education- given the fact that this part of history is mainly missed out in other institutions of higher learning in the Philippines. Oh well, I guess I could say that they (the Americans) owe us- so I'll be a true Filipino and condemn this event in history and its perpetrators.

  • I learned about much of this when I was stationed in the Republic of the Philippines working for Pacific Stars & Stripes as their Philippine Bureau Chief in the early 1980s. The most remarkable thing, in my learning all this, was that so much of it took place under the direct command of Civil War Medal of Honor winner General Arthur MacArthur.

    At the time, General MacArthur had a son attending West Point who would later become a rather famous "General MacArthur" in his own right - and also in the Philippines.

    I can only imagine what might have been contained in the elder MacArthur's letters to his plebe offspring about the actions taking place in the Philippines at that time. And how this may well have instilled an enduring guilt in young Douglas that would mature into a genuine affection for the Filipino people later in his life.

  • What makes every Filipino immigrant, 1st-2nd-3rd-4th Generation believe that this insidious genocide no longer exist --- living in the Philippines or USA?

    From my perspective, a contrast --- Filipinos continue to be 'Blind Followers', unconscious of the generational embedded USA Propaganda Myth --- including suspicion of each other.

    I recently learned a valuable lesson: I booked an apt online with agoda.com; paid, received my confirmation and printed it out. As a mindful solo traveler, when I reached the apt concierge, I was told my name was not listed! I presented the confirmation print out. The concierge refused to call the property owner or agoda.com --- her reason was the call was going to cost the company! She then called 2 armed guards (yes with machine guns) to her concierge desk and demanded that I sit down.

    By this time, I am exhausted after 30 hours flight plus a taxi ride from Ninoy International Airport.

    I forced myself to call the property owner from my cell phone. He was in Norway, we spoke and was told his assistant was waiting for me, then lft. The assistant returned to the concierge desk to meet me and escorted me to another property. Once settled, I asked her to accompany me for lunch.

    After ordering food, I asked her what the 'mix up' was? She boldly told me to my face that she suspected that I was running a game. The Filipino word MAN LOLOKO! I was livid as I complied with the agoda.com online instructions, paid and received booking confirmation.

    This interaction brought such awareness to my consciousness. The immediate assumption of a solo woman traveler created suspicious unconscious judgement which had been embedded by USA to 'Do Unto Its Own People!'

    So Filipinos and Filipino Americans --- Be Conscious of Your Unconscious GENOCIDE of your own culture!

  • There are so many tragedies all over the world we don't know about. Genocide Turks committed over Armenian people during World War First or Genocide over Serbs committed by Croats during the World War Second at territory of Independent State of Croatia, Hitler's satellite state. More than million of civilians were brutally tortured and murdered, almost without a bullet shot. It was the only country in the world that had concentration camps for children. Very similar with Philippines is that it was forbidden to speak about the genocide over Serbian people since victims and murderers were forced to live in the same country. In the last decade of 20. century new war started in former Yugoslavia, basically where WWII had stopped, but the media war twisted that tragedy and made the Croats look like victims. My grandfather and grandmother were captured in the Croats concentration camp Jasenovac and managed to survive, but most of their families didn't. At the time they were taken prisoners they were only 4 years old.

    • Duska, the fact that Serbs were murdered during WWII does not give them right to murder Croats and people in Bosna decades later. Any genocide is genocide and it doesnt matter if the nation was a victim of the same before. In fact it even makes it worse, lesson not learned will cause these events to keep happening there until both sides honestly admit wrong doing

  • can never imagine such a respected country, since i was born,had done such inhumane acts to our forefathers democratic though. . sad to note that really. .

  • Oh come on... This is not new and this kind of stories of invasions by the western world accompanied by genocide are justified by envoking God!!!

  • No body asked the USA to make war. USA declared the war to Spain and to Filipino rebels to take profit and for their interest. USA made the genocide and killed 3 million filipinos to transfor Filipinas in a Colony. A territory of Spain for more than 400 centuries which now is one of the most poor in the world. On February 8, 1597, King Philip II, near the end of his 42-year reign, issued a Royal Cedula instructing Francisco de Tello de Guzmán, then Governor-General of the Philippines to fulfill the laws of tributes and to provide for restitution of ill-gotten taxes taken from the natives. The decree was published in Manila on August 5, 1598. King Philip died on 13 September, just forty days after the publication of the decree, but his death was not known in the Philippines until middle of 1599, by which time a referendum by which the natives would acknowledge Spanish rule was underway. With the completion of the Philippine referendum of 1599, Spain could be said to have established legitimate sovereignty over the Philippines. Villarroel, Fidel (2009), "Philip II and the "Philippine Referendum" of 1599", in Ramírez, Dámaso de Lario, Re-shaping the World: Philip II of Spain and His Time (illustrated ed.), Ateneo de Manila University Press, ISBN 978-971-550-556-7.

  • After the horrific and terrible pains they suffered at the hands of the Japanese soldiers, they have to welcome the americans who liberated them and removed them from hell. The genocide happened when the americans first arrived in the Philippines. Every war brings out the worst in people. It is human nature. I am not making justifications. I am merely stating that massacres and atrocities happen in every war since the beginning of time.

  • I did read that from the early 1900s until the 1940s there was a law that prohibited anyone talking badly about the Americans. I have always wondered how after just 45 years they welcomed the Americans back, I guess 40 years of people not talking about it is enough for most people not to know about the genocide.

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