Mass Grave of War Heroes Discovered in Malate
Archaeologists from the University of the Philippines in collaboration with the Malate Grave Project have discovered a mass grave of war heroes who died at the Remedios Hospital in Malate during World War II. It is the same site where Maria Orosa’s grave marker had been rediscovered in February 2020 but it is uncertain whether her remains are at the site.
The site is believed to be the final resting place of at least 12 war victims, based on the names inscribed on the original memorial that has been destroyed in 2014.
Mass Grave Location at Malate Catholic School (former Remedios Hospital)
Original Grave Site Marker with 12 Names, Destroyed in 2014
Site of Remedios Hospital in 1945
According to Matthew Westfall, sponsor of the Malate Grave Project, the team is now on its second phase of the project.
Project Phases and Timeline
A document shared by Westfall with Esquire Philippines shows the three phases of the Malate Grave Project.
Phase 1: Forensically exhume any bodies from the mass grave at the Malate Catholic School (January 25 to February 29).
Phase 2: Forensic analysis of remains. The team will perform forensic analysis and DNA testing (March to May 2020).
Phase 3: Rebuild the historic grave marker that has been destroyed. The team will identify a proper location and recreate the grave marker as a historical memorial to honor the victims and events at Remedios Hospital (now Malate Catholic School) in February 1945 (June to November 2020).
As of March 3, the team had already unearthed 24 comingled sets of human skeletal remains, as reported by Manila Bulletin.
“Most were buried very recently after death, and were largely intact, while other sets of bones appearing to have been burned. This count closely tallies with one of the U.S. Army War Crimes transcripts of a Remedios Hospital worker who reported that he helped bury 19 people and burn six others, totaling 25 individuals, on 18 February 1945,” said Westfall in an interview with Manila Bulletin.