1945: Josefa Llanes Escoda

On this day in 1945, Filipina suffragist Josefa Llanes Escoda was last seen before her presumed execution by the Japanese occupying troops holding her at Manila’s Far Eastern University.

Escoda came of age with her native archipelago under American colonization. An energetic and brilliant woman, Escoda lectured in sociology at the University of the Philippines, held several civil service posts, founded the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and helped win female suffrage.

During the Japanese occupation, her efforts to aid POWs — including those on the Bataan Death March — made her the “Florence Nightingale of the Philippines”.

But she declined to do so in the capacity of Japanese collaborator and she and her husband Antonio were arrested in 1944 and executed in the weeks following MacArthur’s return and push towards Manila.

Escoda is pictured on the Philippines’ current 1000-peso bill.


Escoda is in the center of the three figures on this banknote. Jose Abad Santos, also executed by the Japanese, is in the top left.