One of the purposes of the Philippine campaign is to liberate the Filipinos; they will not understand liberation if accomplished by indiscriminate destruction of their homes, their possessions, their civilization and their own lives; humanity and our moral standing throughout the Far East dictate that the destruction of lives and property in the Philippines be held to a minimum, compatible with the assurance of a successful military campaign; indications are that in some localities the Japanese are evacuating cities, leaving Filipinos in residence, either failing to warn them or compelling them to stay; aerial bombing causes the greatest destruction; our objective in areas we are to occupy is to destroy totally hostile effort in order to insure our own success; in other areas we neutralize, to weaken any hostile effort which may tend to increase resistance to our occupation objectives; in the latter areas, our attack objectives are primarily airfields and shipping, not metropolitan areas or villages or barrios; to the extent possible, we must preserve port facilities that we plan to use. The Commander Allied Air Forces will, and CINC-POA [the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas] is requested, to issue general instructions in consonance with the above objective of minimizing destruction of life and property of Filipinos. . . .
Charles A. Willoughby et al., eds., Reports of General MacArthur: The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, 2 vols. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966), 1: 118–120. .