In December 1944, in order to prevent their rescue by the advancing Allies, units of the Japanese 14th Area Army, under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, murdered 139 Allied POWs at Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

150 POWs hiding in three covered trenches during an air raid warning were doused with gasoline and set afire. Escapees were machine-gunned immediately or tracked down and killed. Only eleven POWs survived.

The December 1944 Palawan massacre instigated a series of American POW rescue missions including the raids at Cabanatuan in January  1945,  and Santo Tomas , Bilibid Prison and Los Baños in February 1945.