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Manuel Roxas, On Agrarian Reforms 1946

5 Nov

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
Message on Agrarian Reforms

[August 8, 1946, Philippine Congress]

I am transmitting to you at this time for your earnest consideration proposed amendments to the Tenancy Law, and am accompanying these proposals with the first report of the Agrarian Commission which recently completed its studies of economic conditions in agricultural districts, and of the unrest which exists in some of these districts.

You will find from the report that the proposed amendments are highly recommended by the Agrarian Commission whose findings are based on a thorough, objective and detailed study of the major factors involved.

The Agrarian Commission was created by Executive Order precisely to study this situation. The members of this Commission have listened to every conceivable viewpoint and have made a first hand study at the very scene of these problems. The conclusions of this Commission are so finely devised, although they represent no new departure from views held by experts on this subject before the war that I have been assured of support for these proposals by representatives of both the tenants and the landowners.

This particular report deals chiefly with the relationship between tenant and landowner in the rice-producing areas the recommendations of the Commission were arrived at after a careful investigation of the economic and social problems of the individuals and groups involved in that relationship, and of the tenancy contract itself as prescribed by existing laws. The Commission also gathered information concerning the actual operation of these contracts and the resulting difficulties and conflicts which have arisen in widespread areas.

I have given much thought and study to this report have reached the conclusion that the recommendations of the Commission are based on sound principle and afford, for the present at least, a fair and just basis for the establishment of a vastly improved relationship between tenant and landowner. I, therefore, recommend to the Congress the amendment of the Tenancy Law in accordance with the recommendations of the Agrarian Commission. As soon as the necessary funds are available, I shall submit recommendations for the implementation of the other findings of the Commission, especially those proposing the construction of irrigation systems, the establishment of agricultural experiment stations, the organization of credit cooperatives for the benefit of tenants and small farmers, and the modernization of the technique of rice production.

Tenancy is an archaic and socially undesirable system as the basis for agriculture. It is a remnant of feudalism. It is a form of extreme paternalism which retards the economic and social progress of tenants and farm workers. It ties the laborer to the land as a chattel. It deadens his spirit of enterprise and makes him totally dependent on the landowner. The condition of many tenants is not unlike serfdom. This situation is repugnant to modern concepts of free enterprise and human dignity. It retards the economic advance of our nation. Wherever the system of tenancy prevails in the world, social and economic conditions are depressed. We must therefore look forward to a gradual but orderly abolition of the tenancy system; we must strive gradually and in an orderly manner to make of our farm laborers the owners of the land that they cultivate and thereby stimulate the creation of as large a class as possible of small independent farmers who can and will be the backbone of the social and political body of the nation.

To attain this end, I propose, first, to establish the fairest possible contractual basis between the tenant and landowner; second, wherever practicable and as soon as circumstances permit, to replace the system of tenancy as we know it with a system of fixed land rental, either in money or in produce; third, to acquire large estates for the purpose of subdividing them for sale at cost to the tenants; and, fourth, to open up large areas of public land for development and distribution to farmers to be attracted from the congested farm areas. This program, together with scientific aid to agriculture and the credit and other facilities that small farmers require in the organization of new farms, necessitates the expenditure of considerable amounts of money. As soon as funds are available I shall propose to the Congress the immediate implementation of this program.

As an immediate measure I propose the following amendments to the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 4054, commonly known as “The Philippine Rice Share Tenancy Act”:

1.   In the absence of a written contract, (a) the tenant is to receive 70 per cent of the net produce of the land and the landowner 30 per cent for first class land—land whose normal production is over 40 cavans of palay per one cavan of seeds; (b) 75 per cent for the tenant and 25 per cent for the landowner for second class land—land whose normal production is between 25 and 40 cavans per one cavan of seeds; and (c) 80 per cent for the tenant and 20 per cent for the landowner for third class land―land whose normal production is less than 25 cavans per one cavan of seeds; provided the tenant supplies the work animals and farm implements and defrays all the expenses for planting and cultivation of the field. Expenses for harvesting and threshing shall be deducted from the gross produce. Expenses for the maintenance of irrigation systems within the respective areas shall be for the account of the tenant, but amortizations for the cost of construction of the system itself shall be for the account of the landowner. The expenses for construction and maintenance of privately-owned irrigation systems shall be agreed upon between landowners and tenants, but in case of disagreement, all expenses for construction shall be for the account of the landowner and the expenses of the distribution canals for the account of the tenant.

2. In case the landowner supplies the work animals and farm implements and the landowner bears all the expenses of planting and cultivation, the landowner shall receive 70 per cent and the tenant 30 per cent of the crop; but if the landowner and .the tenant bear equally the expenses of planting and cultivation, the crop shall be divided equally between the parties.

3. In case the land is planted to a second crop of rice or to other auxiliary crops, the tenant shall receive 80 per cent and the landowner 20 per cent of the net produce, provided all expenses of production are borne by the tenant.

4. In case a written contract is executed between landowner and tenant, it is to be declared against public policy and prohibited for the tenant to agree to receive less than 55.per cent of the net crop, if the tenant supplies the work to animals and farm Implements and is to bear 50 percent of the expenses of planting and cultivation.

5. In case of a contract for a fixed rental of the land, it is to be declared contrary to public policy and prohibited to stipulate a rental higher than 25 per cent of the estimated normal harvest.

6. The area to be set aside for the tenant for his house, garden and the raising of poultry and livestock should be increased from 500 square meters to not less than 600 square meters, nor more than 1,000 square meters depending upon the availability of suitable land belonging to the landowner.

The amendments I am proposing to the Tenancy Law are neither radical nor new in this country. They are virtually the same as those prevailing in the tenancy contracts in the Visayan provinces. In the Visayas, tenants and landowners are working in complete harmony, and the social condition of the tenants is relatively higher than that in the provinces of Central Luzon.

One of the most important effects of these amendments will be to induce the tenant to work harder and more continuously because of the prospect of receiving a major part of his produce. It will also induce him to avoid spending needlessly for planting and cultivating, since he will realize that such expenses will have to be borne by him exclusively. This is actually the case in the Visayan provinces. Whereas in Luzon, the usual expenses for planting and cultivation amount to a considerable sum, in the Visayan provinces few such expenses are being actually contracted because the tenant and members of his family do all the work of planting and cultivating. In cases where additional help is required, there exists a system of cooperative labor supplied by neighboring tenants and their families.

I fully realize that the proposed amendments will not solve all the economic problems of the tenants of rice lands. It is a fact, for instance, that the present methods of rice cultivation are such that no tenant can cultivate more than three hectares of rice land. And even if he were given all the produce of this land, he would still have an insufficient income to support a socially acceptable standard of living. The final answer must rather be found in gradually increasing the efficiency of the tenant by the adoption of modern methods of agriculture, the use of fertilizers, the use of mechanical implements, the stimulation of household industry, the development of seasonal employment, and the increase in the amount of land which the tenant can put into production with his own work. This is a gradual process which will require more than legislation to achieve; it will need greater efforts on the part of the tenant and a long process of education and demonstration in modern agricultural technique.

I have received letters and petitions from owners of small rice landholdings, protesting against the amendments which I am proposing in this message. These petitioners claim that if the tenants are to be given a larger share of the crop, the income of the small owners will be greatly reduced, facing them with economic disaster. My answer to this protest is that these small landowners should cultivate their own lands; thus they will not have to share the crop with tenants. We cannot deny justice to the tenants merely because the landowners do not want to work their own land and prefer to live on the work of others. These owners, if they prefer to have other employment, must be content with a fair return from land ownership.

I wish to emphasize that I am not proposing these amendments to allay threats of violence or in response to the demands of private organizations or their leaders. This is not a palliative. I am proposing these amendments because I consider them fair, just and necessary. The present crop-sharing system in Central Luzon is as old as organized production of rice itself. Crop-sharing tenancy dates back to an age, which preceded even the writing of the Old Testament, when tenants were really the slaves of the landlords.

The 70-30 crop division itself is not an especially novel concept. I recall proposing it several years before the war. The proposition was endorsed by President Quezon; it was only because of the outbreak of war that this reform was not carried out.

I desire to inform the Congress that before submitting this message, a meeting was held to discuss the Agrarian Commission report with representatives of the tenants and of the landowners. I am happy to advise the Congress that these representatives approved the recommendations of the Commission and agreed to support the’ amendments which I am now submitting for your consideration.

In view of the fact that the planting season for rice is under way and that the harvest will take place before the next session of the Congress, I earnestly request that this matter receive your early attention and that the proposed amendments be enacted at an early date.

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NOTE.―The Agrarian Commission was created by Administrative Order NO. 38 on June 4, 1946, to study rural conditions specially in the rice regions, in so far as they affect discontent and unrest among the people there. Among its recommendations which Congress embodied in Republic Act No.34 approved on September 20, 1946, was the fixing of definite percentage rates for the shares of the tenants and the landowners in the rice product. This law provides that not less than 70 per cent of the harvest goes to the tenant if he furnishes the necessary implements and the work animals and defrays all the expenses for planting and cultivation of the crop, except when there is a written agreement to the contrary.

This legislation is calculated to improve the conditions of the tenant in those congested rice regions where he usually received even less than 50 per cent of the crop and had to render to the landowner certain gratuitous services in addition.

Manuel Roxas, The Life of President Manuel L. Quezon 1946

5 Nov

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
Eulogy on the Life of the Late President Manuel L. Quezon

[July 28, 1946, Delivered before the 1st Congress of the Republic]

We do not gather here to grieve or weep. Time has stanched our tears. The sorrow now in our hearts is not alone for him who lies in blissful sleep before us, but also for ourselves, the living, who yearn still for the strength and comfort of his presence.

This was a man whom we loved with all devotion; this was a man whom we honored with all the gifts at our command. Today we pay formal tribute to his mortal remains. Today our nation, the Republic of the Philippines, enshrines him as a hero on the altar of our love and gratitude.

Manuel L. Quezon has at last returned to his native land. For him, it has been a long voyage home. But as we prepare to yield his body to the good earth which first nurtured him, we know that we will not inter, we cannot inter, the essence of his being. That essence is as much a part of us as the free air we breathe. We are a free people and a free nation, in large part, because of him. This Republic, its Government and its institutions are as much his works as they could be of any single man. These are his perpetual monuments. Across the trackless and virgin territory of time, Manuel Quezon’s wisdom led the way, through four critical decades, through two great world wars, to victory and finally to independence.

The entire world is similarly in his debt. To him it owes a portion of that flaming spirit of leadership, which guided mankind through the valley of evil and darkness to salvation and redemption. In this larger sense, we cannot claim him for ourselves alone. This death took both a father from his country and a leader from the world. The pain of loss is felt wherever men are free. In our sorrow we are one with all mankind.

The sad bugle notes of death sounded for Manuel Quezon even as the forces of world freedom gathered for their final forward thrust. The critical battles had been fought; his work was done. His strife had ended. Victory lay soon ahead. But the leader of his people, the captain of our hosts was not to see the moment of triumph. In an alien but spiritually native land, in the land where he had helped arouse the legions of redemption, he died. On the beautiful wooded shores of Lake Saranac in New York, heartland of the nation he had learned to love second only to his own, the great soul, which had clung so long to a frail and hard-spent body, joined the immortals of all ages.

Perhaps the Almighty, in His surpassing goodness, saw fit to claim the life of Manuel Quezon, after his great work was ended, that he might be spared the trial and pain of seeing the cost his countrymen were to pay for liberty. Perhaps the Divine Mercy was extended that he might one day return home in glory, beloved and mourned, but blissfully blind to the scars of ruin spread across this grotto of tropic beauty, the land whose grace and charm he loved so well.

In this critical epoch, he was the first of the mighty leaders of liberty to pass from the world scene. Eight brief months later, Manuel Quezon’s great and good friend, Franklin D. Roosevelt, joined him in death, on the very eve of those final triumphs which brought peace to mankind. But Franklin Roosevelt lived long enough to see the redemption of the pledges he had made to the Filipino people, to see MacArthur’s men return in irresistible power to wrest Manila and the Philippines from the enemy. From Franklin Roosevelt, from that weary body, too, the mantle of life slipped away.

These two men, fast and devoted friends, had ascended beyond the limits of race and nation and reached the blinding heights of universality…one an American, one a Filipino. They were of the chosen race of benefactors of mankind.

It is difficult to evaluate the works of Manuel Quezon at this short space from death, because all of our present is in a sense a product of his past. The record of that past is a continuous canvas of our history in this century. In recalling his life, we recall the story of the modern growth of our nation. His climb to fame and leadership is a tale which must be told to all our generations. The impetuous spirit which broke the bonds of personal poverty, which hurdled every obstacle because there was none great enough to stay him, is one of the proudest products of our race. His name is truly a glittering ornament of this nation.

In Baler, that storied seacoast town of Tayabas, steeped in historic lore and crossed by all the currents of his time, Manuel Quezon grew to manhood in the typical atmosphere of the Spanish era. His rebellious soul declined to bear the indignities of alien rule and national inferiority. Scholarly in spirit, hungry for knowledge, and ambitious, yet he bridled angrily at the plight of his people. With the frank eyes of youth, he learned to distinguish the dignity of worth from the trappings of authority. Although bound to inaction by parental pledge, he was spiritually one with Rizal, with Bonifacio, with Del Pilar , and the other great patriots of that day. When the armies of revolution took the field in 1898, he was quick to join the struggle for liberty. When the antagonist became not Spain but America, when it was feared that the Republic across the seas came but to replace the former tyrant, Quezon fought while there was yet hope, and in the jungles of Bataan suffered privations and dangers which 40 years later he had new occasion to know. But it was not until American deeds and American policies had received the basic doubts in the questioning mind of Major Quezon that he obeyed his orders to surrender.

Suddenly clapped into an American military prison and held without charge for four long months, and then as suddenly released, Manuel Quezon was not conditioned to trust or love the new rulers of his land. The more credit to him, then, and to America, that in the vista he observed in the following years he comprehended in the detail of events the firm pattern of basic benevolence; he saw imported from America not only economic goods for sale but the priceless wares of liberty, of justice and of democracy. He saw American soldiers build hospitals and roads and bridges. He saw schools spring up, and Americans teaching the ways of freedom in them. He saw American judges dispense the law impartially between American and Filipino. He perceived the cult of fair play being preached and practiced by the conqueror. He heard from an American Civil Governor, William Howard Taft, that the Philippines were to be governed for the benefit of the Filipinos. A former revolutionist, Quezon was named prosecutor, then Governor of his proud province.

Elected to the first Philippine Assembly, an avowed advocate of immediate and absolute independence, Manuel Quezon revealed for the first time the great talents endowed him…the lightning speed of thought, the brilliance of intuition, the unerring judgment of decision, the unswerving devotion to principle and ideal, and the keen incisiveness which enabled him to distinguish between truth and illusion, between appearance and reality, between honesty and pretense. These were the faculties in rare and multifold combination which marked Manuel Quezon for the role of leadership among his people.

In 1912, having already spent some years in the United States Congress as Resident Commissioner and having mastered for his purpose the American language, he helped secure from the Democratic Party a firm pledge of Philippine independence. By a scholarly presentation of the Philippine position, he won President-elect Woodrow Wilson to his side, and through personal persuasion, gained the interest and intercession of Representative Jones of Virginia. The historic product of those labors was the Jones Act of 1916 which promised, to the great wonder of the world, independence to the Philippines as soon as the Filipinos were ready to govern themselves.

In the blazing glory of that accomplishment, Manuel Quezon returned to his homeland to receive a hero’s welcome such as few have ever witnessed. In triumph he was elevated to the supreme leadership of his party and of his people, a leadership he never lost in the 22 remaining years of his life. Seldom if ever has one man attained such power and influence among his people and held it unchecked for so long. Yet it was not power held through force or intimidation; there was no Gestapo to retain him in his rule. It was a leadership exercised by the prestige of his person, by the stature of his accomplishments, by the dominating proportions of his talents, and by the unswerving loyalty of his followers. Few men in all history, unclothed in the purple of royalty, have equaled Manuel Quezon’s tenure as a people’s leader. It has no counterpart anywhere in the world in our time. How did he use this authority, this power, this influence? That is the statesman’s test, perhaps the answer to his greatness. He used it mildly, carefully and skillfully in the interests of his people, in the interests not of vested wealth which sought his favor, not of the socially elite who courted him, but in the interests of the great trusting mass of people, inarticulate, plain and poor. To them he was devoted. For them he was a spokesman and a champion. In their name he espoused, against the opposition of intrenched wealth and power, the cause of social justice. We, today, carry forward with renewed and steadfast resolve the program he so nobly advanced…the struggle against the inhumanity of man to man. We pledge in his name that we will not falter on the path he blazed so well.

He feared no man; often he dared defeat; he was unimpressed by danger. Quick in his anger, and quick to forgive, warmly loving and cordially hating, enjoying ease, yet indefatigable in labor, stern and soft by speedy turn, sentimental yet realistic, the unquestioned master of the spoken word, loving people so much that he hated solitude—this was the man behind the statesman. This was the sum of things which added up to that magic and unforgettable personality. This was the presence which inspired his followers, which awed or won over his enemies, which impressed presidents and kings, which delighted friends, which made him the tender husband and the loving father that he was throughout his life.

Manuel Quezon was no ordinary man. He was beloved by Providence. In his later political career, his decisions were occasionally inscrutable, but almost always right. Through the flat decade of the twenties, when the vessel of independence was becalmed in a sluggish sea, he kept up the flagging will of his countrymen, continued to beat the drums of freedom, and never once lost sight of his goal.

As the tempo of events quickened in the world, Manuel Quezon was ready. With enthusiasm undimmed by a quarter century of public life, with energy apparently undiminished by the drain of the dread illness which was so common among our people, he plunged into the crisis of his lifelong battle for independence. That battle, too, he won.

It was in 1935 and an exulting people voiced overwhelming will that Manuel Quezon be the first President of the Philippines.  It seemed that he had reached the high plateau of his career. He toyed indulgently with the thought of retiring at the end of his term in office, to tend his health, to take his ease, to travel, to spend his reclining years in the warm and comforting circle of a devoted and cherished family.

In his first historic term, he set the new Commonwealth well on the road to freedom. He obtained from President Roosevelt a pledge of’ special economic concessions after independence. He dreamed and designed the construction of a magnificent capital city, the crowning jewel of the fame that was to outlast him. He made a goodwill trip to Cuba and to Mexico, and in accents which rang clear in those lands, he told of his faith in America, in democracy, and in world unity.

Then, from a narrow strip of land called the Polish Corridor, there burst the lightning of war. Guns grew louder; throughout Europe freedom was vanquished; a new tyranny ran rampant over the ancient seats of western civilization. In the Orient, deep out of the north China Sea, there rose the menacing clouds of war. Closer and closer they drew to the Philippines, still only a mark in the sky, but to the wise and practiced eye of Manuel Quezon, they tokened danger .

The time for retirement of the leader was not yet come. This new danger had to be met. In the United States, ideologically pledged to the support of the western allies. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for an unprecedented third term. In the Philippines Manuel Quezon was chosen for his second. In the few remaining lands of freedom and peace, men girded their loins for battle. Our leader called on his countrymen to rally without question to the cause to which the United States was pledged―the sacred cause for which he had fought all his life, for justice and liberty. The youth, who had fought America with desperate fury in 1898, poured out his eloquence and spent his magnificent spirit in support of that nation now.

The rest of the story of Manuel Quezon is the history of Philippine participation in the war. When the mailed fist of Japan struck without warning, first at Pearl Harbor and then at Manila, Quezon’s choice was already made. It was not an easy choice. It was a choice previously faced by Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Siam, and Malaya. It was a choice between resisting for the sake of principle, or yielding for the sake of relative safety. Not all these nations made the same choice. At that time the issue on which hung the future of the world was in grave doubt. The forces of evil were on the march; there were many men of impartial mind who thought the age of barbarism had already won. But the lion heart of Manuel Quezon would admit neither doubt nor despair. He threw, not without question without hesitation, the force of eighteen million Filipinos into the struggle on the side of right, on the side of the United States. In a major sense, of course, Manuel Quezon’s choice was gathered, from the hearts of his people. There was no question in their minds. There was no unwillingness on their part. The die was cast. And when the time came, when he was asked to leave his beloved land, and to wage the fight from afar, he acceded, but with painful sorrow. His heart ached at the thought of leaving his people to face their fate alone. First from Australia and then from Washington, he urged his countrymen to resist, to keep high their hopes, to maintain intact their faith in the eventual triumph of liberty.

He plunged with all his heart and soul into his new task…on the one hand as supreme leader of the forces of resistance, and on the other as the eloquent advocate, for the gathering and launching of the offensive against Japan, for the rescue of our people from their brutal bondage.

The flickering flame of physical vitality burned lower now that he was drawing from unseen reserves the last elements of energy for his final work. The fragile body which supported with so much strain the explosive energy of a dynamic mind served its fatal warning. But death was no stranger to Manuel Quezon. Often it had beckoned, never perched far distant from him. The sultry veil, which those who live call death because they cannot see beyond it, drew closer to him. Still he fought it, refused it. But as to all, even so to Manuel Quezon, death finally came. The essential task accomplished, his glorious achievements lying in brilliant array behind him, the great soul, with the strong surge of the upward flying eagle, wrenched itself from its mortal house. This life was ended.

The American nation and the American people mourned him as one of their own. The leaders of state of many lands paid him tribute. The muffled drums which sounded as the

funeral cortege wound its way through Arlington National Cemetery reverberated across distant waters. They were heard in the Philippines, and the millions here wept in unison.

I remember that day. I was at morning mass in the House of God when the tragic news was spread. Choked with grief, I prayed with all my heart for the repose of his soul, for the solace of his widow and his children, for the salvation of our people, smitten anew with this irreparable loss.

Now the storm and terror of the recent past are ended. The dark and angry clouds which long enveloped us are rolling away. The golden fingers of the new day’s light rest with healing touch upon the pain and wounds which this, our people suffered. Strong and willing hands rebuild that which is destroyed. This rich, kind earth renews itself; the blossoms of tomorrow will hide the scars of yesterday.

Now the body of our leader returns to rest. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead come reassurance, courage and hope. The spirit of Manuel Quezon which never left us, soothes with gentle balm our heavy sorrow. In the Night of Death in which he dwells, our love can hear the rustle of a wing, and the seraphic song of angels to lull our grief, to give us strength, to bring us peace. Let there then be peace, too, for Manuel Quezon; for now he belongs to the ages. May the causes for which he lived and in whose names he died…Liberty, Justice and Democracy…exult in eternal triumph!

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NOTE.─The remains of President Manuel L. Quezon arrived in Manila on July 27, 1946, at 9 o’clock in the morning, on board the United States aircraft carrier, Princeton. The last American Governor General of the Philippines, Justice Frank Murphy, in representation of the President of the United States, accompanied! The casket in its voyage across the Pacific. The arrival gave occasion for the delivery of the foregoing eulogy.

President Quezon died at 10: 05 a.m. on August 1, 1944 (American time) at Saranac Lake, New York State. In the afternoon of the next day, his body arrived in Washington, D.C., and was taken from the Union Station to St. Matthews Cathedral, where a mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated the following morning. After the religious ceremony which was attended by high officials of the Philippines, the United States and other countries, and by many Filipinos living in and around Washington, the remains were transferred to the Arlington Cemetery where they were deposited until their transfer to the Philippines.

It is of interest to note in this connection that the second Act passed by the First Congress of the new Republic appropriated P50,000.00 to defray the expenses for a state funeral and for the erection of a mausoleum to contain the remains of the late President. This mausoleum will only be temporary, for there has been created a Quezon Memorial Committee entrusted with the task of soliciting funds from the public for the construction of a permanent Quezon Memorial.

Manuel Roxas, Convention of Filipino Businessmens 1946

29 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
To the Filipino Businessmen’s Convention

[July 6, 1946]

To the delegates and officers of this convention I wish to tender my heartiest greetings.  It is most appropriate that you meet shortly after the soul-stirring birth of our infant Republic to consult with one another on her crucial problems within your special field of interest.

I look upon you as fellow architects in the vast task of national reconstruction.  Our goal is set, and all I would ask of you as you meet to propose and discuss is to remember that, in what we are determined to build, everything depends upon the quality of our construction materials, the calibre of the competence employed in their use, and the integrity with which what plan we have is enforced into concrete fulfillment.  The very substance of our opportunity for creative leadership rests on these fundamentals.

We are called upon to build firmly and durably.  This requires the best available materials, the greatest skill, the highest honesty, the most far-reaching enterprise.  Where we falter in living up to any of these basic imperatives, the result must of necessity be shoddy, shaky and ultimately disastrous.  As economic leaders of our young Republic, I beg of you to meditate on the suffering that would be visited upon our people should you neglect to lead and cooperate on the highest plane possible.

It is you who will give flesh and bone to the very pattern of our culture and destiny.  It is you who can determine the quality of living in this country of ours—whether it will be progressive, abundant and full of grace, or whether it will remain impoverished, ugly and disruptive.

I need not stress further that this is a tremendous responsibility and that you and I and everybody else must face it together; consecrate ourselves, as it were; and go at it with a heart and a will that shall not reckon the ruggedness of mountains.

I wish your convention every success.  May it be rich in ideas rooted in reality.  May it generate the passion to conquer the most stubborn obstruction.

Manuel Roxas, Cooperation with the US 1946

26 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
On the Cooperation with the United States

[July 3, 1946]

As president of the Philippine Republic, I have committed myself to a policy of frank, open and wholehearted cooperation with the United States in its foreign policy, particularly in the Far East, and toward the United Nations.

I regard the United States as the leading nation in this part of the world.  I have great faith and confidence in the fine purposes and the altruism of the United States and i am certain its foreign policy will always be inspired by these great ideals.

The United States is not looking for advantage anywhere in the Far East.  I am firm in my purpose not merely to cooperate with America’s policy in the Philippines, but also do everything in the power of the Philippine government in enabling the United States to safeguard all military, naval and airbases it may desire permanently to establish here.

As president of the Philippines, I will so arrange the defense of these islands that it may be intimately coordinated with the plans of the United States for the maintenance of defensive bases in the Philippines.  We will maintain as large an army as our resources permit and it will cooperate very closely with armed forces of the United Sates based in the Philippines.

Also, I am committed, with reservations, in favor of stimulating the influx of American capital in the Philippines.  After the destruction we have suffered, due to war, it can be truthfully said that the Philippines constitute an almost complete economic vacuum.  We do not have enough of our own capital to develop the country and, therefore, unless American capital comes to our aid we will have to depend on other foreign capital.

I wish to safeguard against this in order to avoid any future political complications which might prove most dangerous to the independence of the Philippines.

Most of the people of the Philippines, without exception, profess the most profound affection and gratitude to the people of the United States.  It is not merely because of what America has taught us before the war in showing us the ways of real democracy and thus inspiring us with an even greater love for freedom and equality it is also because of America’s liberation of our country from the hands of a cruel and inhuman enemy.

We have drunk very deeply from the fountain of America’s great history and traditions.

After we receive our independence we will continue to seek and to maintain as close relationship with the United States as possible.  Perhaps not always will we be able to maintain a close political relationship, but an intimate cooperation with American institutions will remain and endure.

We will always continue teaching the English language in our public schools.  We will attentively watch America’s leadership in world affairs.

I truly hope there will be no more war.  However, should future events prove otherwise and the United States once again takes up arms in defense of liberty and human rights, i am sure the people of the Philippines will consider it not only merely an honor but also their duty to fight alongside the Americans.

Lanao Del Norte Ambush

24 Oct

3 Soldiers were killed in an ambush in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao Del Norte. according to report posted by Philippine Daily Inquirer on October 23, 2011;

COTABATO City, Philippines—Suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels on Sunday killed three soldiers in an ambush in Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte.

Three soldiers under the military’s 5th Infantry Battalion were wounded in the same incident, Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, told the Inquirer by phone.

Cabangbang said that troops, headed by Lt. Col. Bagnun Gearlan, were heading to the nearby town of Malabang, Lanao del Sur, when they were ambushed around 11:15 a.m. along the highway in the village of Payong in Sultan Naga Dimaporo town.

Cabangbang said the attackers later fled toward the village shoreline.

“We are still trying to figure out if MILF rebels perpetrated the attacks,” Cabangbang said.

Von Al Haq, spokesman for the rebel group, denied that their forces were involved in the latest assault against government troops.

“We are investigating. But as of yesterday (Saturday), the directive to all our forces on the ground is to maintain our defensive position,” he said.

Earlier on October 21, Moro rebels killed seven troops in three ambushes in Zamboanga Sibugay and on October 19, MILF fighters killed 19 soldiers in an ambush they staged in the town of Al Barka in Basilan province.

On Saturday, some 150 suspected MILF rebels reportedly occupied two schools in Talusan town in Zamboanga Sibugay.

In one of the latest eruptions of violence in Mindanao on Sunday, suspected Muslim rebels also killed five rubber plantation workers on Basilan island, according to a report by Agence France Presse.

“Five were killed in this morning’s ambush,” regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said, according to the AFP wire report.

So much had happened for the month of October 2011 in mindanao. Last October 3, 2011 the NPA rebels attack the Taganito Mining Site in Surigao, instead of condemning the attacks President Aquino relieved the Police Commanders due to negligence. The NPA next attacked a banana plantation in Surigao the government again called this as an isolated case.

October 18, 2011 carnage of the Military was the most deadliest made by Mindanao rebels, and  MILF followed-up this with the ambush at Zamboanga Sibugay after 2 days. Again the government called this as just an isolated cases, and has yet to issue condemning the ambushes being made by MILF. While the Military was on its low morale the MILF again attacks anew, ambushing a group of soldiers this time at Lanao Del Norte.

The military were being ambush and killed in all fronts and yet the President has yet to issue a statement condemning the attacks because of His policy of peace. Peace talk should be suspended until the MILF has surrendered the culprit.

While the Aquino administration is bent on pursuing lasting peace in Mindanao, He should not let his armed forces be killed, this would just make them demoralized. By issuing statements condemning the attacks made by rebels at least would boost the morale of his men, and not by lashing due to negligence. Our government should make their stand during peace talk negotiations, and the interest of the majority must be the priority and not the MILF’s interest as Mindanao population is not purely Muslims, there are Christians also.

MILF clashes again anew

22 Oct

As the Basilan clash between the military and MILF were still fresh from the minds of the Filipino people, and are still being investigated by the Philippine government, a new bloody encounter has been reported again between the military and the MILF this time it was in Zamboanga Sibugay. This time the casualties are 7 soldiers and policemen and 7 other wounded and 1 soldier reported missing. According to the news posted at Philippine Star website, dated October 22, 2011 ;

MANILA, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) escalated its attacks on government forces, killing seven soldiers and policemen with seven others wounded and another soldier missing in Zamboanga Sibugay late Thursday.

The attacks came two days after MILF forces killed 19 soldiers in Basilan in one of the worst outbreaks of violence that brought the death toll among security forces to 26.

Col. Santiago Baluyot, chief of the Army’s 102nd Brigade, yesterday said the rebels ambushed two military convoys in Barangay Gulayon in Alicia town and a separate attack against a joint military-police patrol in Simbol, Kabasalan town.

Baluyot said the convoy was on its way back to headquarters in Ipil town when it was attacked.

MILF spokesman Von al Haq said the rebels did carry out the assaults, which he said were in retaliation for the military’s alleged “indiscriminate shelling” of Muslim villages.

And Philippine Daily Inquirer’s report posted on its website dated October 22, 2011;

MILF admits killing 7 more troops in 3 attacks

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Seven soldiers and policemen were killed in three separate attacks in Zamboanga Sibugay province late Thursday, bringing to 26 the death toll among government forces in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in strife-torn Mindanao this week.

Ten others were wounded in the attacks, barely two days after 19 soldiers were killed during a fight with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Basilan province.

The MILF immediately admitted that its forces had staged Thursday’s attacks in Alicia and Kabasalan towns, but claimed these were in retaliation for military actions there.

The attacks occurred over a four-hour span within a 60-kilometer radius.

Four soldiers were killed and six wounded in the first ambush which occurred at about 7:21 p.m. in Barangay Gulayon in Alicia town, said Brig. Gen. Santiago Baluyot, commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade.

Two hours later, a soldier was wounded in an MILF ambush on a military truck in Ipil town, and three policemen were killed in a third ambush near midnight in Kabasalan town. Two policemen and one soldier were wounded in the third attack.

“The police and the Army were conducting joint operation in Zamboanga Sibugay,” explained Chief Supt. Elpidio de Asis, the Western Mindanao police chief.

Before the Kabasalan ambush, Baluyot said an improvised bomb exploded in a vacant lot near the port of Malangas but nobody was hurt.

De Asis said a similar explosion also occurred in Imelda town, but no one was injured.

Retaliatory attacks

In Cotabato City, MILF spokesperson Von al Haq said the MILF rebels staged the series of ambushes in Zamboanga Sibugay because the military had been pounding rebel positions in Payao town since Saturday.

“That’s the consequences of their action. It’s retaliation, part of war. Soldiers have been indiscriminately pounding our position and civilian areas in Payao town,” Al Haq said in a phone interview.

However, the attacks on Alicia and Kabasalan, which were led by Alloy, a commander under the MILF’s 114th Base Command, was not coordinated with the MILF central committee, Al Haq said.

“The action of our men was not organizational. It means the order to attack did not come from the central committee. It was their decision,” he said.

Al Haq said the MILF’s ceasefire committee has been working with its government counterpart to defuse the tensions.

On Tuesday, 19 soldiers were killed in a clash with MILF rebels in Al-Barka, Basilan, while on a mission to arrest a local MILF commander, Dan Laksaw Asnawi.

The military had said Asnawi was a fugitive. Asnawi, who operates under the MILF’s 114th Base Command, was charged with involvement in the beheading and mutilation of Marine soldiers, also in Al-Barka, in 2007.

He was arrested but escaped from the Basilan provincial jail, along with more than two dozen inmates, in December 2009.

Military air strikes

In Olutangga, Zamboanga Sibugay, parish priest Fr. Felmar Castrodes said he had been informed by villagers that the military had conducted air strikes against MILF forces in Payao town on Friday.

He said the air strikes started 4 p.m. Friday and were reported to him by residents of the villages bordering Payao and Olutangga towns.

“They feared that the violence would spread to their town,” he said in a text message.

The report could not immediately be verified. The military spokesperson based in Zamboanga City could not be reached for comment.

US drone deployed?

In Cotabato City, United States soldiers stationed in Zamboanga City under the Visiting Forces Agreement have started providing help to the military in locating the MILF rebel group responsible for the deaths of 19 soldiers in Al-Barka, Basilan, a military source said on Friday.

The source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said the US forces have deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Basilan to track down the group of Asnawi.

“They are providing us information from what they obtained through their unmanned aerial vehicle,” the source said.

But Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City, has denied the information.

Cabangbang said he was not aware of any request made for the deployment of a UAV in Basilan.

“Besides, it would be useless because of the forest cover. UAVs are effective in open terrain but not over areas that have many trees,” he said.

Cabangbang said any data gathered by a thermal-equipped UAV would be useless because humans have basically the same thermal signature.

“It would not help distinguish who the enemies are and who are not,” he said.

Other MILF groups

Meanwhile, Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakalahul said his office had received information that armed elements from neighboring towns were converging in support of the MILF rebels in Al-Barka.

“These MILF members are from Sumisip, Tuburan and Tipo-tipo,” he said.

Sakalahul also dismissed a statement from Cabangbang that the MILF rebels that had clashed with military troops on Tuesday in Al-Barka might have been reinforced by armed locals.

“It’s not fair, knowing my people, if there’s an encounter, they will make sure they are far from harm, they will secure their lives and properties,” he said.

Despite the consecutive loses from the military forces in just a couple of days, President Benigno S. Aquino III stood firm on his policy not to engage an all-out war against the MILF, and has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to continue observing the ceasefire agreement with the MILF.

The recent attacks prompted lawmakers to review the government’s position on the MILF. Senator Lacson said that President Aquino should consider the all-out war policy against the MILF just like what former President Joseph Estrada did in 2000. As Senator Lacson said ” It’s time for Pnoy to do an Erap. Peace in Mindanao cannot be achieved unless a tactical victory is attained first by AFP”.

Lacson also said that the belligerence of the MILF was brought about by the policy taken by the government to give the organization special treatment as part of the peace process even after it committed various atrocities in the past.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada also called for the immediate use of military force against the MILF considering the damage that they have done over the past days.

Estrada raised his doubts about the sincerity of the MILF in the ongoing peace negotiations after its move to attack government troops.

Administration and opposition lawmakers at the House of Representatives supported Aquino’s decisión not to launch an all-out war against the MILF.

But some warned Aquino against demoralizing the AFP and surrendering the country’s territorial integrity

Sulu Rep. Nur-Ana Sahidulla said the government must continue to reach out to the separatist group despite its reported atrocities as waging an all-out war would pose greater problems.

Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong said the position taken by Aquino showed his resolve to achieve lasting peace.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. backed the President’s decision but also underscored the need for the government to intensify its campaign against the perpetrators.

“PNoy was correct and I support his decision. We should pursue the peace. But take action against the perpetrators,” Belmonte said.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said the peace negotiations with the MILF should still be allowed to continue and let the existing ceasefire mechanisms take care of the recent incidents between the MILF and government forces.

Sen. Francis Escudero, for his part, called on the AFP to conduct an immediate and total review of its actual troop strength versus its troop ceiling in the wake of the separate attacks by the MILF.

The fresh fighting has further complicated efforts to end one of Asia’s longest insurgencies, with the MILF and the military accusing each other of breaking a ceasefire in place to promote peace talks.

Guingona said the ceasefire mechanisms should immediately respond to the situation and “address the wrongs of the encounter and make accountable those who made the offense.”

“This kind of tragedy delays the resolution of the peace process. Delays lessen the confidence of the people for the peace process and risk its failure,” Guingona said.

“This could not be allowed to happen because the longer it takes for us to resolve the problem the more violence it breeds. Violence must stop, rule of law and justice should be the order of the day,” he added. Government peace negotiator Leonen said he would not recommend a suspension of the ceasefire agreement with the MILF.

“We are continually assessing how MILF is complying with our ceasefire agreements. As long as there is a flicker of hope, we have to try it. (Otherwise) I would be first to recommend to President Aquino this is not working,” he said.

There are some talks that the military were already demoralized with what the President’s stand and the way he was disappointed with the military with the recent clashes with MILF. Colonel Antonio Parlade, Philippine Army Spokesman, had suggested in a recent press conference that the Government should declare a temporary suspension of the ceasefire agreement with MILF to allow the military to pursue those responsible for the October 18, 2011 encounter in Al Barka, Basilan.

Instead of hearing the side of Colonel Parlade, Colonel Parlade was relieved of his position. President Aquino’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said that spokespersons are not supposed to announce their personal opinion to the public. “The fact remains that as spokespersons we are not policy makers… We are suposed to stick to what the policy is. It should be clear that as spokespersons of the government, we cannot give our personal opinion,” Valte said in an interview over state-run radio, Radyo ng Bayan.

According to Colonel Parlade in a phone interview, “I stand by my statement… I was just echoing the sentiments of the soldiers,” adding that his proposal for the suspension of talks with the separatist group was also his personal opinion. Parlade said that he has “no bad feelings” against the military leadership for his relief. Parlade is one of the three military colonels who have been ordered relieved following the killing of the 19 Army Special Forces members in Sitio Bakisung, Barangay Cambug. The other two officials ordered relieved were Col. Alexander Macario, commander of the Special Operations Task Force of the Philippine Army, and Lt. Col. Leo Peña, commanding officer of the 4th Special Forces Battalion. Peña was ordered relieved a day after the encounter. Macario was relieved for allegedly committing “operational lapses.”

So much for a weakling President, being the Commander in Chief, who always prefer to wear yellow of which by the way means Cowardice, who stand by his policies of attaining peace while His men were being killed on all fronts, while the rebels exploits the ceasefire agreement.

Let us just hope that with the recent attacks that happened, General  Mabanta’s word that the military is not demoralized is true and that he speaks with the sentiments of the soldiers and junior officers for they are at the forefront of the battle unlike this General who just sit in the comfort of his air-conditioned room while the lives of his men are on the line.

And here’s also hoping that the coup de etat’s that happened during the first Aquino administration would not happen in the second Aquino administration.

To all our Soldiers, stay safe always.

Benigno S. Aquino III, Turn-over Ceremonies of Southville 9 Housing Units 2010

22 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the Turn-over Ceremonies of the Southville 9 Housing Units

[October 14, 2010, Bgy Pinugay, Baras, Rizal]

Vice President Jejomar Binay, Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; Governor Jun Yñares; Vice Governor Frisco San Juan, Jr.; Mayor Wilfredo Robles; Atty. Chito Cruz, General Manager of the National Housing Authority; mga naimbitang panauhin; mga iba pa nating kasamahan; mga residente ng Rizal; mga kababayan: Isang napakagandang araw sa ating lahat.

Sa likod ng mahigpit nating schedule, hindi po tayo nagdalawang-isip na samahan kayo sa araw na ito. Ang personal na pag-aabot sa inyo ng mga tahanang ito ay isang karangalan. Maraming salamat sa inyong imbitasyon.

Paroo’t parito na po ang unos na dumaan sa ating bansa sa mga nagdaang taon. Bagyo man o baha, lindol man o landslide, tila naging karaniwang pangyayari na sa atin ang mga iba’t-ibang sakuna. Subalit ipinakita natin sa isa’t-isa at sa buong mundo: kailanma’y hindi tayo magpapatinag. Sama-sama tayong umaahon sa bawat paglubog; buong bayan tayong bumabangon sa bawat pagkasadlak. Sa pagbabayanihan, pinatunayan nating wala tayong hindi kayang gawin. Kaliwa’t kanan man ang sumpong ng sakuna, basta tayo ay nagtutulungan, kailanma’y walang makakatibag sa atin.

Mahigit isang taon na ang lumipas nang hinagupit tayo ni Ondoy. Isang taon, ngunit alam kong parang kailan lang para sa ilan sa inyo. Nalinis man ang mga daan, may bakas pa rin ng kahirapang iniwan sa karamihan. Sa dami ng mga nawalan ng bahay, iilan pa lamang ang nare-relocate sa maayos na tirahan. Marami pa ring nakatira sa mga lugar na malapit sa panganib ng baha, sakaling dumating muli ang mga ganitong kalamidad.

Hanga po ako sa mga tulad ninyo: matitibay sa likod ng mga pagsubok. Sagisag kayo ng katatagan ng isang tunay na Pilipino.

Tulad ninyo, maraming kinaharap at kinakaharap na hamon ang ating administrasyon. Sa kabila ng mga ito, hindi rin tayo magpapatinag. Ngayong nakamit na natin ang tagumpay, saka pa ba tayo bibigay? Sa pagwaksi sa malubhang kondisyong dulot ng kahirapan, sa inyo pa rin nanggagaling ang aking lakas. Tayo po ay nagdadamayan at sa ganitong paraan, lahat tayo ay magtatagumpay.

Ilang buwan pa lamang matapos tayong mailuklok sa pagkapangulo, agad na po nating hinarap ang mga problemang ito. Kabalikat ang iba’t ibang ahensiya—ang HUDCC, na itinatag ng aking ina at ngayo’y nasa kamay ng ating Bise Presidente; ang mga sangay nito na tulad ng NHA; at mga lokal na pamunuan—naninindigan tayo upang makamit ng ating mga kababayan ang layuning magkaroon ng maayos, maipagmamalaki at sarili nilang tahanan.

Ang pagbabahagi natin ng mga pabahay sa Southville 9 Housing Project ay bagong pinto para sa bagong buhay – isang pagbubukas ng inyong mas magandang simula, at pagsasara sa kung anumang alaalang dala ng nakaraan. Ngayon, abot-kamay na natin ang pinapangarap nating bahay at lupa para sa ating mga pamilya.

Sa kasalukuyan, mula sa target na 2,800 na housing units, 2,600 na ang naipagawa at may 957 na pamilya na tayong nailipat at nabigyan ng disenteng tahanan. Patuloy pa po natin itong dadagdagan. Pangarap ko pong makita na ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ay magkaroon ng sarili nilang bahay at lupa. Kaya naman po natin higit na pinapatibay ang mga programang pabahay.

At batid po nating walang silbi ang pagkakatayo ng libu-libong tahanan kung wala namang nakaugat ditong aktibo at maunlad na pamayanan. Kaya naman po maliban sa inyong mga bahay, naniguro po tayo na may mga community at livelihood facilities na magagamit ninyo sa pagpapaunlad ng iyong kabuhayan. Sa kasalukuyan po ay may Baras National High School at Day Care Center na po tayong mapapasukan ng ating mga anak. Nagagamit na din po natin ang ating Multi-Purpose Hall, ang Ynares Learning Center at ang covered court. Lahat po ng ito ay bunga ng maigting na pakikipag-ugnayan ng lokal na pamahalaan sa mga pribadong sektor at mga NGOs. Maraming salamat po sa inyo.  Kayo ang patunay na sa mga ganitong public-private partnerships, walang ibang direksyon ang ating bayan kundi kaunlaran lamang.

At hindi po dito magtatapos ang pagkakaisang ito. Magdadagdag pa po tayo ng labinlimang (15) silid-aralan para hindi na po magsiksikan ang ating mga anak sa mga eskwelahan. Maliban sa barangay hall, palengke at kapilya, itataguyod din po natin ang isang multi-purpose hall para sa iba’t-ibang programang pangkabuhayan na maaari ninyong pagkakitaan at health center upang mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng inyong pamilya. Lahat po ng ito, magagawa lamang kung bawat isa sa atin ay buong-pagkukusang mag-aambag sa katuparan ng ating pinapangarap na maunlad na pamayanan. Lahat po ng ito ay walang-tigil na isinusulong ng ating administrasyon dahil nagtitiwala kaming buhay ang diwa ng People Power, at handa ang bawat Pilipinong magbayanihan upang tapusin na ang kahirapan.

At hindi po nagtatapos sa pagtugon ng iilang problema ang ginagawa ng ating pamahalaan. Sa tulong muli ng lokal na gobyerno, sisiguruhin po nating may mga ahensiyang nakatalaga sa paghahanda upang maiwasan ang mga paparating na kalamidad.  Mas magiging maagap na rin po tayo tuwing may mga bagyo matapos nating repasuhin ang weather forecasting system ng PAGASA. Malalaman niyo na po agad, hindi lang ang mga natural na sakunang parating, kundi maging ang mga nararapat ninyong gawin upang makaiwas sa perwisyong maaaring idulot nito. Lahat po ng ito ay ginagawa natin para sa inyong kapakanan at kaligtasan.

Kasabay po sa matagumpay na pag-aabot ng mga tahanang ito ang patuloy ninyong pakikipagtulungan sa gobyerno. Makilahok, sa halip na magreklamo; makibahagi sa solusyon sa halip na dumagdag sa gulo. Nasa iisang bubong na muli tayo. Marami pa tayong kailangang gawin; marami pa tayong kailangang kumpunihin sa nag-iisa nating bayan.

Sa inyong lahat: welcome home. Heto na ang inyong mga bagong tahanan: pugad ng kaginhawaan, at harinawa’t pugad ng darating na masaganang kinabukasan para sa inyong pamilya.

Maraming salamat po.

Basilan Clash

21 Oct

This caught my eye as i thread upon and read news posted in my favorite newspaper site Philippine Star tuesday evening, October 18, 2011;

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At least 1 soldier killed, 6 wounded in Basilan rebel attack
(philstar.com) October 18, 2011 08:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – At least one government soldier died and six others wounded early today following a fierce firefight with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern province of Basilan, military officials said.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said based on official reports, one soldier died and six others were wounded after the firefight on the outskirts of Al Barkah town.

When asked if there were military fatalities left behind in Basilan, Cabangbang said, “Its appears there are. We are attending to them. We have no other details yet.”

Cabangbang said the soldiers were deployed to check on the presence of an armed group in the area when the clashed erupted.

Military sources said the fighting lasted for about six hours, in which the rebels reinforced, outnumbering the government troops.

“We are sure the MILF will project that the soldiers were inside MILF territory. I’m sure the soldiers operated outside. They know they are not allowed to operate inside MILF areas,” said a source.

A standing ceasefire between the government and the MILF prohibits government forces from conducting operations inside MILF areas without prior coordination. The MILF is negotiating a peace accord with the government.

The Abu Sayyaf, active in southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s and has perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping, bombing and beheading. The Philippine military estimates the group, which has links with external terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, currently has less than 400 members.

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At first i thought that this was just an isolated case, news about the military against the mindanao rebels encounters were usual on everyday papers, to think that NPA Rebels has attack a mining company in Surigao just a couple of weeks ago. Three hours after an update has been flashed and this what was caught me by surprise, as the usual news of military and rebels encounter became a blood bath for the military;

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(UPDATE) Soldiers clash with rebels; 19 killed
Updated October 18, 2011 11:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Troops battled Muslim guerrillas in a volatile southern province today in fierce fighting that killed at least 19 combatants and left 10 soldiers missing, officials said.

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said the fighting erupted at dawn today near Al-Barka town on Basilan island when troops were investigating reports of rebel incursions. Sporadic clashes continued late into the night in the remote region, he said.

At least 13 soldiers were killed and 11 wounded, and 10 others were missing, he said.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman Von Al Haq said at least three rebels were initially killed in the clash, but police reported at least six rebels were killed.

Al Haq said government troops provoked the fighting by attacking the rebels in their Al-Barka stronghold in violation of an existing cease-fire. Army troops shelled the rebel stronghold after the initial clash, trapping villagers in the fighting, he said.

“The Philippine army is continuously bombarding the area where innocent civilians are being caught in the middle of the ferocious artillery strike,” the rebels said in a statement on their website. “This attack of the government forces blatantly violated the existing ceasefire accord.”

Cabangbang said troops were deployed to check reports by villagers that a group of gunmen known to be holding kidnap victims had strayed in areas close to their communities. He said the troops did not intrude on the guerrilla stronghold, and were about two miles (4 kilometers) from it when they were fired upon by the Moro rebels, prompting the troops to fight back, he said.

Cabangbang said the military believes the gunmen included a former rebel commander identified as Dan Laksaw Asnawi, who escaped from a Basilan jail in 2009 with 30 other inmates. Asnawi was detained for his alleged involvement in the beheading of 14 marines during a 2007 clash in Al-Barka, Cabangbang said.

“When we’re running after a criminal and get near their area, they cannot just kill our soldiers,” Cabangbang told The Associated Press by telephone.

The Moro rebels who clashed with troops were with al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, he said. Al Haq countered that rebels from his group do not operate with the violent Abu Sayyaf.

Cabangbang said special army forces were searching for the missing soldiers in Basilan, a predominantly Muslim island about 550 miles (880 kilometers) south of Manila.

Al Haq said an army general called him seeking the safe release of the missing soldiers if they were in rebel custody. Al Haq said he replied that his group could not immediately reach their fighters by phone to ask if they were holding military captives.

The 11,000-strong rebel group has waged a bloody insurgency for self-rule in the southern Mindanao region, the homeland of minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. The conflict has killed more than 120,000 people and stunted development of the resource-rich but impoverished south.

Malaysian-brokered peace talks between the rebels and the government received a major boost in August when President Benigno Aquino III met rebel chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo to bolster the negotiations.

The rebels, however, rejected a government proposal for Muslim autonomy when talks resumed a few weeks later in Malaysia but they said they will continue with the talks.

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On the morning of October 19, 2011, news about the clash is already widespread. MILF has confirmed the Basilan clash though with a new saddening story, claiming that 22 soldiers were killed as against the military’s 13;

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MILF confirms its fighters killed gov’t soldiers in Basilan
Home Updated October 19, 2011 10:00 AM

 MANILA, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) announced today that its fighters killed 22 soldiers, not 13 as reported by the military, in a nearly 11-hour firefight in Albarka town, Basilan province yesterday.

The MILF’s claim confirms the military’s report that its troops encountered MILF rebels.

The military said that its troops initially encountered suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits while patrolling a village in Albarka town. The numbers grew as the bandits were joined by MILF rebels stationed in the area, the military added.

The MILF said in a news item posted on its website, luwaran.com, its fighters also seized 22 high-powered military firearms, including four M203 rifles, four Mini M-60, an M-60, and 13 M-16 rifles.

The separatist group said six of its fighters were killed in the clash which started around 5:30 a.m. and lasted until around 4 p.m. yesterday.

The military said that the MILF rebels have taken hostage at least 10 members of the Philippine Army’s scout rangers. Massive search and rescue operations are being conducted by the military to recover its captured soldiers.

In the same news item, the MILF said that it will “help locate the soldiers and will return them if they are in MILF hands.” It said that it already made initial inquiries from its members, but it “yielded negative results.”

The MILF claimed that the clash happened as “government soldiers deliberately attacked an MILF area, without provocation at all.”

The military had denied that its troops provoked the firefight.

The blood clash happened as the government renewed its effort to bring back the MILF back to the negotiating table.

Last August, President Benigno Aquino III and MILF chief Al Haj Murad met in Tokyo and agreed to speed up the talks.

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On October 20, 2011 or two days after the bloody clash, President Nonoy Aquino has made a statement and according to Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, the President was “really angry” when told by the Chieff of Staff about the situation, and the government has dismissed the incident as an isolated case.

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Aquino ‘really angry’ over soldiers’ killing
By Jun Pasaylo The Philippine Star Updated October 20, 2011 11:14 AM

 MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III was “really angry” after learning that soldiers were killed by an armed group in Al-Barka, Basilan on Tuesday, a Malacañang spokesperson said today.

“He was informed by the chief of staff two days ago. Hindi pa alam that time sinong forces ang pumatay sa ating mga sundalo. Siyempre he was really angry that our soldiers were killed,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview.

Lacierda said that as President Aquino asked for information about the encounter, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Oban sent a military inspector general to Basilan to investigate.

He said that initial information sent to Malacañang was that there was “failure of communication” on the part of the military. He said that they were told that the military units that clashed with the rebels failed to inform the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) about the operation in Sitio Bakisung, Barangay Cambug.

Unacceptable

Lacierda said that the action of the MILF members was “unacceptable.”

“Hindi porke may failure of communication, bakit biglang binanatan ng MILF ang AFP soldiers? That is not acceptable. Alam naman natin na may ceasefire agreement,” he said.

He added that the incident was “frustrating” for the government, which, he said, has been pushing for peaceful means to resolve the problem in Mindanao.

Lacierda said that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, led by Secretary Teresita Deles and peace panel to the MILF chief Marvic Leonen, will coordinate with the CCCH and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group before the government comes out with an official stand on the incident.

He said that the government will also make sure that the incident is tackled in the peace negotiating table.

The soldiers’ killing came two months after the meeting between President Aquino and MILF leader Al Haj Murad in Tokyo last August.

Leonen, who was present in the meeting, said that Aquino and Murad agreed to fast track the peace negotiations and “that the implementation of any agreement should happen within the current administration.”

No need to inform MILF

In a phone interview, regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang told Philstar.com that the military did not see any reason to inform the AHJAG of the MILF about the operation in Al-Barka town.

“The place where the encounter happened is more than four kilometers away from the Area of Temporary Stay (ATS),” Cabangbang pointed out.

The ATS is an agreed designated area by the government and the MILF where forces of the separatist can stay to prevent a misencounter.

Cabangbang reiterated that the AHJAG coordination is “only needed” when government troops is conducting an operation within the identified ATS.

“Our troops are conducting combat operations in the area to verify the reported presence of armed men in the area, but it is not within the MILF’s ATS,” he insisted.

Charges vs MILF

The military is now conducting an investigation in the clash that killed 19 soldiers, and wounded 13 others.

“As of this time, we are already conducting a probe on the incident while some of our troops are conducting pursuit operations against the suspect with the coordination of the GPH-MILF AHJAG,” Cabangbang added.

The military spokesman said that the AFP will file criminal complaints and charges for violation of the ceasefire agreement against the MILF.

“Since the MILF admitted that they were the one who killed our soldiers, we will be filing appropriate charges against them,” he said.

Cabangbang, meanwhile, said that the AFP remains optimistic that the incident will not affect the ongoing peace talks between the government and the MILF. He echoed Leonen’s earlier statement that the incident was “isolated.”

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the government must make a stand regarding on what happened, they should be uplifting the morale of the military after the incident and at the same time not compromising the government stand on MILF-Government Peace talks. But the irony of it all came three days after the incident, the military now claims that 20 out of the total 41 soldiers sent to Al Bakra were first timers in clash and were not familiar with the place and was just been plucked out from scuba-training program. Now the military, even them were not spared by politics, has started pinpointing each other as per newspaper reports as to who ordered the assault and did not made any coordination from other authorities. On Wednesday, October 19, 2011, Colonel Leonardo Peña was relieved as Commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion by Army Chief Lieutenant General Arturo Ortiz pending investigation of the clash incident. Here are the stories coming from the survivors on that fateful day;

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 21, 2011

Before, during, after

Private First Class Renante Malinao of the 13th Special Forces Company said that as soon as his group entered the village at around 6 a.m., the firing from the MILF side immediately began.

“We scattered ourselves to avoid being hit. We crawled so we could survive,” he said, describing the bullets coming from all directions.

Malinao, who was positioned on a slope, said he was still hit despite his efforts to avoid the bullets.

Dark, four gunshots

Private First Class Arnel Malinao, a radioman from the 14th SF who was also injured in the clash, said it was quite dark when the soldiers reached Cambug.

While he and the soldiers were walking toward the target site, they heard four gunshots. “All of these were fired in the air,” Malinao said.

He said he and his comrades shifted to alert status and continued walking toward the target. It was at this juncture that they saw four men on two motorcycles but they were unsure if they were enemies.

Then shots rang out again and they saw about 10 men firing on them.

Falling one by one

“We dropped on our bellies and started crawling out of their sight,” Malinao said.

As the firing continued, he said he watched helplessly as his colleagues fell one by one.

Balili said the first to be hit was 1st Lieutenant Colt Alsiyao, followed by 1st Lieutenant Vladimir Maninang. They soon died.

“The last time I heard of Sir Khe (2nd Lieutenant Jose Delfine) was that he was wounded,” he said of the other official killed in the battle.

Reinforcements came in 3 hours

Malinao said he heard on the radio that Khe was calling for reinforcements before he was hit.

But he said the reinforcements only came around 9 a.m., about three hours after they were under fire.

“If the reinforcements came earlier, many would have survived,” said Private First Class Jestoni Layson, machine gunner of the 13th SF.

“The difference in time between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. was very significant,” he added.

Balili agreed with Layson’s assessment but he also said that even if the reinforcements arrived earlier, they would still be helpless because of the sheer number of the rebels.

Besides, they were all under fire and had to fire back while grabbing the wounded ones, he said.

Layson said even his previous stint in Al-Barka failed to help him protect his colleagues.

Private First Class Tonny Rey Espinida, one of the two missing soldiers found alive, said everyone was trying to escape and withdraw from the encounter site while pulling their wounded comrades out of the firing line.

In his case, Espinida said he was separated from the group when he fell down the slope during the first firing.

“It was very dark. I followed a river downstream before I realized that I survived. I reached the SF detachment (on Wednesday),” Espinida said.

Fame and death

Private First Class Michael Natividad, another soldier who had gone missing, was found Thursday slumped by the shoreline near the site of the encounter alive but drenched and cold.

A military official Thursday showed Balili a copy of the Inquirer, which showed a photo of him being carried by a soldier.

“Boy, you have become a real hero,” the official said in jest. But Balili curtly replied: “Sir, I could be a hero but at what cost?”

Layson was visibly hurting from the death of his colleagues—especially his classmates in the scuba diving sessions.

Scheduled graduation

“Only 16 of us remain should our scheduled graduation (on October 22) push through,” he said.

Macario said all the 41 soldiers involved in the Al-Barka clash had been recovered—either dead or alive.

He said there were only eight soldiers who went missing at the height of the clash. “Two of them were found alive while the other six were all dead,” Macario said.

When will this shall end? So many lives have been sacrificed, so many homes were destoyed, families fleeing, children’s studies affected and forced to stop from so many years of fighting between Government forces and Mindanao Rebels. Someday, though not in the very near future, these fightings are going to end reaching the lasting peace that has eluded Mindanao for so many many years. For the meantime all i can offer is hope and prayers to the people of mindanao.

Manuel Roxas, Ratification of Executive Agreement with USA, 1946

21 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
On the Ratification of the Executive Agreement with the U.S.A.

[June 21, 2946]

MR. SPEAKER, MR. PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS:

I have asked that this joint session be called in order that I may report to the Congress on the actions now required to provide for future trade and economic relations with the United States.

The American Congress has lately passed a Philippine Trade Act and a Philippine War Damage Act Those two acts provide the pattern of United States aid for our reconstruction and for the rehabilitation of our national economy. Without this assistance we are faced immediately by disaster. Without the helping hand thus extended to us, I do not believe we can survive.

I do not pretend to tell this Congress that this legislation or the money voted us by the United States Congress will automatically accomplish the rehabilitation of the Philippines. It is my duty to advise you that we must look forward to years of sacrifice and toil to accomplish our aims. Our future is grim, brightened only by the patriotic determination of the Filipino people to succeed, at whatever cost.

In my report to the Congress on the state of the nation, I described our present precarious economic condition. We are today living through the most crucial period of our life as a nation. Each day brings its crisis to our attention. We are faced by difficulties and decisions which test our capabilities to lead our people.

The obstacles are great and numerous. They will require all our wisdom and courage. One of our sources of hope is the help we have been offered by the United States. That nation which is about to grant us our freedom has also tendered to us the means of solving our economic problems, a protected place in the American market for 28 years and funds to help us rebuild our shattered land.

Such are the purposes of the Trade Act and the War Damage Act. I am directing your attention today largely to the Trade Act which grants us the protection of American tariff preferences.

The American Congress, in order to provide those trade preferences, had to cut across all the protective features of American tariff law. These preferences are being offered exclusively to the Philippines.

A new and unprecedented legal formula had to be devised. That formula consists of an Executive Agreement to be negotiated by the President of the United States with the President of the Philippines. Authorization for the Agreement is contained in section 401 of the Trade Act. That section also requires the acceptance by the Philippine Congress of the Agreement and the implementation by law of all the terms of that Agreement. We must agree to continue these provisions in force after we become a Republic and finally we must agree to take steps to amend our Constitution to provide certain rights for American citizens which are now at variance with the Constitution. I am already authorized by the United States Congress to enter into such an Executive Agreement with the President of the United States but it is expressly provided that this Agreement cannot be proclaimed and put into effect until this Congress accepts the Agreement by law.

I wish to report to the Congress, therefore, that I am proceeding to negotiate this Executive Agreement in accordance with the provisions of the Trade Act. As soon as it is complete and duly signed, I will submit it to this Congress for approval. I hope to be able to present the Agreement to you early next week. I am making every effort to hasten the conclusion of negotiations in order to give the Congress as much time as possible to reach a decision.

This Congress has never been asked to deliberate upon a more vital matter. Your decision will determine the fate of this nation for the next generation. I need not ask the gentlemen of the Congress to lay politics and political expediency aside. I know that regardless of party or faction every one of you recognizes his heavy responsibility. I ask merely that you examine all the facts and make your decisions accordingly. My recommendations are well known by now. I propose that you approve the Executive Agreement that I will soon transmit to you. It is my considered judgment that to do otherwise would be to invite economic and finally political catastrophe.

The Trade Act and some of its provisions have been under violent attack in some parts of the press and in some public circles during the past two months. I would like to be able to say that public discussion has been in progress. I am afraid I cannot describe what has been going on as discussion. There have been misrepresentations and misstatements of fact. Some political leaders have been willing to make capital out of a question which should be above politics. I shall undertake, in the course of this report, to present the facts regarding this legislation and to correct some of the gross misrepresentations which have been made. I have no doubt as to what your decision will finally be. Yet I feel that the Filipino people have the right to be correctly informed, to have their fears set at rest, and to view in intelligent perspective the proposals which have been made.

There are perhaps some plausible arguments against some portions of the Philippine Trade Act. If I had been permitted to promulgate it by personal edict, it would have been different in many respects from the Act we are considering today. But no one man can hope to see his own ideas completely accepted in an act of Congress. It is well if that this is so.

Let me recall, for the benefit of those who might not know, the procedure by which the United States Congress enacts legislation. There are introduced into the Congress at every session an average of 8,000 different measures.  Of this tremendous number no more than a few hundred are ever acted upon. The rest die in committee. Many desirable proposals suffer this fate. Any controversial measure to be approved by Congress must have a support so widespread as to demand priority over all others clamoring for congressional attention. Many proposals urgently desired by the national administration never see the light of day. In a Congress occupied by so many various and conflicting concerns, there is no other way.

Those of us who are old enough to remember can well recall the difficulties we faced in getting Philippine legislation through past Congresses when national problems in the United States were far less complex than they are today. It was only by a coalition of divergent interests that the first independence act was forced through the American Congress. It took that same coalition, backed irresistibly by an administration in the first flush of its early prestige, to secure the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.

Today we have one strong advantage in Congress that we never had before: wholehearted and unselfish concern for our welfare. But all the sectional and economic interests must still be reckoned with and must be reconciled in any piece of major legislation affecting them.

Moreover, each administrative department of the federal government is called upon to make a minute inspection of all legislation to insure that it is in conformity with the overall policies of the United States. The views of all these departments must be taken into consideration. There is established by these means a long and dangerous gauntlet of individual guardians of particular interests and policies. Such a system is inevitable for the maintenance of a continuous national policy in a nation so huge and with interests so vast.

I have gone into some detail in sketching this background. It was not without reason. I hope you will now realize how difficult it is to get legislation which satisfies any particular group or which conforms to any ideal plan.

The Trade Act had to run such a gauntlet. For six months it was considered by the various committees of Congress. It was entirely revised no less than five times during this process. In the end it required no less than the personal intervention of President Truman to effect a reconciliation of many viewpoints and interests.

Filipino officials representing this Government during the framing of this legislation desired at first perpetual free trade but later agreed to 20 years of free trade. Senator Tydings proposed twelve years of gradually increasing tariffs. The State Department insisted upon the elimination of preferences at the earliest possible date. The Agriculture Department was opposed to granting the Philippines a sugar quota. There were other departments which had similar strong views on various aspects of the legislation. In September, 1945, the first Bell Bill was introduced providing 20 years of free trade. A few weeks later the first Tydings Bill was introduced providing twelve years of gradually increasing tariffs. In October, Senator Tydings introduced a second bill prescribing twelve years of declining trade preferences and authorizing 100,000,000 dollars in war damages. In November, President Truman brought about the compromise between the Bell and Tydings proposals. Senator Tydings, President Osmeña, Representative Bell, High Commissioner McNutt and representatives of the administrative departments agreed to a plan for 8 years of free trade and 25 years of gradually decreasing preferences. The period of declining preferences was later shortened to 20 years. That is substantially the proposal which is before us today.

Many hearings were held on this measure before both the House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committees. Those hearings extended over a period of six months. The Philippine representative in Congress, Commissioner Romulo, testified many times. High Commissioner McNutt testified at great length and on many occasions. President Osmeña sent letters to the Congress which are in the record for all to read. As long ago as last October 12 he appealed for the passage of the Bell Bill. Commissioner Romulo has consistently asked the approval of this measure in all its various forms. Commissioner McNutt spent two and a half months in Washington, from February until April, in a supreme and finally successful effort to get this legislation through. Without his patient and tireless efforts, I do not believe that any of the Philippine legislation would have been passed before now.

The Trade and War Damage bills were finally approved in April of this year. Much has been said recently regarding so-called onerous provisions in these Acts. But all the violent protests are of very recent vintage. It is a fact that there was no formal protest from Philippine sources until this legislation was on the point of passing―on the eve of our national elections, to be exact. Let us examine some of these protests, with some reference, perhaps, to their timing.             I shall speak first of all of section 341 of the Trade Act, which provides as follows:

“The disposition, exploitation, development, and utilization of all agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces and sources of potential energy, and other natural resources of the Philippines, and the operation of public utilities, shall, if open to any person, be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the United States citizens.”

This is the so-called equal rights provision. In order to fulfill the obligations imposed upon us by this provision we must amend our Constitution. Had I been in Washington at the time, I would have vigorously protested against its unilateral quality and, had it been insisted upon, I would have suggested other means of accomplishing the same objective. If we trace the legislative history of this provision, we will find that it was in the first version of the Bell Bill introduced on September 25th, 1945. It was accepted at that time by the Commonwealth Government. I have assurance that it was approved by a former Secretary of Finance as well as by the head of the Commonwealth Government. No opposition to it was even expressed until November 16th, when it was mildly suggested by the Resident Commissioner that this provision should better be, included in a treaty of friendship. But the same provision persisted in every successive version of the Bell Bill. It was insisted upon most vigorously by Representative Harold Knutson, the author of what is now known as the Knutson Amendment.

Today we are faced by the fact that section 341 is a part of the Trade Act. There is no way of divorcing it from the Trade Act. If I could, I would remove it, not because of the alleged dangers it holds for us—I believe these to be non-existent―but rather because of the manner and form in which it is included. I do not believe that these reasons should weigh too heavily with us at this time, confronted as we are with the fact that this provision is part of the law. I have no fear whatsoever that the granting to American citizens of rights equal to those of Filipinos in the development of our natural resources will bring about an imperialistic exploitation of our country. This was not the intention of Congress. I am certain it will not happen.

It is perhaps too distant in the past for most of us to remember, but it is most interesting to note, that the provision in our Constitution protecting our natural resources from exploitation is not of Filipino but of American origin. The prevention of this exploitation has been the constant concern of the American Government from the very beginning of the occupation in 1898. Our laws restricting the acquisition of public lands and the development of our mineral resources can be traced back to the first Philippine Bill approved by the United States Congress in 1902. These wise provisions were implemented by the Philippine Commission and consistently repeated in the successive organic acts until finally these provisions found lodgment in our Constitution.

It seems to me therefore that to suspect the American Congress of conspiring to open the flood-gates to an imperialistic deluge, is to deny every fact we know. To impute this motive to the United States Government is to ascribe evil to virtue itself and to put an ugly countenance upon the noble stewardship maintained here by the United States for the past 48 years. A nation that for these many years has striven patiently and at great cost to uplift us politically and socially, a nation that has preserved for us our national patrimony so that when we shall become independent we may enjoy it in full measure and pass it on to our posterity—such a nation does not deserve the scurrilous attacks which have lately been made. I can ascribe those attacks only to lack of information or to malice. They do not befit our dignity as a people or nation. They arouse resentment among our trusted friends in Congress to whom it is proposed that we appeal for redress.

Today those who make these attacks are furnishing ammunition to the enemies of democracy elsewhere in the world. They are besmirching the good name of the nation which, more than any other, is the hope of all the underprivileged and defenseless peoples of the earth.

No, I will not attribute such motives to the American Congress. I will not believe that Congress intended any unworthy purpose. The Congressional intent was simply to invite and encourage American capital to invest in the Philippines and aid in our rehabilitation. The equal rights provision was not designed as a protection for American interests already here—it is intended to reassure potential investors that the Philippines is a safe area for enterprise, safe against discrimination for the next 28 years. Every responsible Filipino leader I know desires American capital enterprise and know-how to participate actively in our reconstruction. Our rehabilitation would be impossible without such assistance. The only question is the means of inviting that capital to venture here. Congress selected a means with which we may disagree as to form. We cannot disagree as to the objective. To seek the elimination of that provision at this time would be to warn American investors and American enterprise not to come to the Philippines. That would be suicidal for us. I will not propose it.

That does not mean that we should not be on guard against ruthless exploitation and imperialism. We must maintain a constant vigilance against the dangers of such exploitation by persons of any alien nationality, or even by Filipinos. We now have ample legal safeguards to accomplish that. The Government need not open up lands or resources for development or can halt at any time the dissipation of such resources. The Government itself can assume the responsibility of their development. The Government has the power to expropriate public utilities; the Government has the power to tax and control conditions of employment. Of course we shall not use those powers except to prevent abuses. But if abuses occur, we shall not hesitate to use the legal authority that is already available or set up new devices of restriction and control to protect our national interests. The Executive Agreement will set up no barriers to our exercise of all legal means to prevent predatory exploitation or the domination of our economy by selfish economic interests. Commissioner McNutt himself has publicly urged us to maintain such safeguards. And in the very remote possibility that the American Government should ever change its policy and seek to further imperialistic designs here, we have the recourse of terminating the Executive Agreement on five years’ notice.

I wish to emphasize again and again that all the arguments which have been made against this provision have been based not on facts but on fears. I refuse to be frightened by the ghost of imperialism. Americans have had equal rights—potentially more than equal rights― for 48 years in the Philippines. America could have made of the Philippines a Belgian Congo. I look about me and see no evidence of outrageous exploitation. Instead of being made slaves we have been freed. Instead of teaching us obedience, America has taught us love of liberty. Instead of overseers, America has sent us teachers. Since 1913, the balance of trade between the United States and the Philippines has been heavily in our favor in every single year until the outbreak of the war. If this provision, whatever its form, will help us survive economically as an independent nation, I will go along with it for the emergency period. I do not propose to sacrifice the national welfare on the altar of pride. I will not be Lazarus on a heap of ruins.

At the proper time I shall propose the required amendment to our Constitution but I shall recommend it as an Ordinance appended to the Constitution to be effective only during the life of the Executive Agreement.

I will now refer to section 402, sub-section (f). This is the provision pegging the peso to the dollar. It has been cited as an infringement upon our sovereignty and free choice. Those who make that citation forget, perhaps, that the peso is already pegged to the dollar in the Bretton Woods International Monetary Agreement which has been duly ratified by the Philippine Senate. In a world searching for security, the stability of monetary values is an economic essential. We cannot expect to retain the freedom to raise or lower the value of our peso and retain the confidence of traders in other parts of the world. As far as pegging the peso to the dollar is concerned, the dollar is the standard of value for all world currencies today. By connecting our peso with the American dollar, we stand within the magic and charmed circle of standard value, the dollar area, to which all currencies are being attracted today. This provision does no more than require us to do something which it is to our own unquestioned interest to do. But if this arrangement should work a hardship on us, we are not without recourse. The ratio of the peso to the dollar can be changed with the approval of the President of the United States.

Some voices have been raised in protest against the absolute quotas provided for certain of our exports to the United States. It is said that this is discrimination. Such a charge cannot in my judgment be maintained. These quotas are the very same—in the case of cigars, our new quota is greater―that we had in the American market before the war. The quotas were originally established as a compromise to allay the opposition of American commodity interests who had protested in years past against unlimited imports from the Philippines on a duty-free basis in competition with similar American commodities.

These quotas are now being continued in the post-independence period as an offset against the trade preferences we are given. But these fixed quotas are now a source of considerable advantage to us. By establishing a ceiling on the amount of these commodities we can ship to the United States, we are automatically forced, after our production reaches quota limits, to diversify in other non-quota fields. That is one advantage we gain. A second benefit lies in the 28-year insurance of these quotas. We are assured for that period of time of having a market for these goods up to the amount of our quota. No other country has such an assurance.

In the case of sugar, all producing areas including those inside continental United States are under quota, but none of these areas has a quota assurance for a period longer than two years. In the Philippines we are given a 28-year guarantee, a guarantee which supersedes any sugar act which Congress might pass in the future. The same is true of cordage.

The President of the United States is given authority to establish quotas on other Philippine commodities entering the United States when those imports threaten American producing interests. That is also a fair safeguard. As long as the United States grants us the privilege of preferential tariffs, we must respect America’s right to safeguard her own interest against Philippine products which have a market in the United States as a result of tariff protection.

We are told that there are no quotas on American commodities entering the Philippines. For the time being we desire none. We want as many imports as we can possibly get. If, during the course of the 28 years of the Agreement, we find any Philippine industry threatened by imports from America, we are free, in my judgment, to establish quotas on those imports or devise other means of protecting our infant industries. I find nothing unreciprocal about this provision.

One other aspect of the rehabilitation legislation against which criticisms have been leveled is the so-called tie-up between the Trade Act and the War Damage Act. That connection is established by section 601 of the War Damage Act which provides that no war damage payments in excess of 1,000 pesos may be made to private individuals or corporations until the Executive Agreement has been proclaimed to be in effect by the President of the United States. This provision has been described as a club to require our acceptance of the Bell Act. I consider this allegation to be completely baseless. Honestly speaking, I see no particular purpose in section 601 since to my mind the Trade Act is as essential, if not more so, to our national welfare as the War Damage Act and it is inconceivable to me that the Executive Agreement provided in the Trade Act could be rejected. There is a natural and organic connection between the two Acts. In the original Tydings version they were both in the same bill and were separated only for reasons of legislative convenience to make simultaneous consideration in the Senate and the House possible.

Actually and legally section 601 associates only part of the war damage payments with the Executive Agreement. Regardless of whether we accept the Executive Agreement, the P240,000,000 for the reconstruction of our public buildings, roads, bridges, and harbors are still to be spent in our behalf. The P200,000,000 worth of surplus property will still be transferred to us. Private war damage payments up to 1,000 pesos are to be made in any event. The other payments are made contingent upon the effectiveness of the Executive Agreement only because they are part of the pattern of economic reconstruction. It would be senseless, for instance, to make payment for the reconstruction of a sugar central or a coconut mill if there were no market for the sugar or the coconut oil. It was the clear and consistent intention of Congress that the War Damage funds be used for the rehabilitation of industries destroyed by war. Special and careful provision is made in the War Damage Act to prevent individuals from collecting war damages and transferring the payments out of the Philippines. Buildings and structures must be rebuilt or in process of rebuilding, as a condition precedent to receiving war damage payments. Hence it was decided that these payments would not be authorized unless there were trade provisions permitting these industries to exist.

Let us not imagine that the war damage authorization represents a windfall of dollars ready to be distributed among us for whatever purposes might meet individual fancies. These funds are carefully earmarked and their expenditure safeguarded so that they must be used for rehabilitation purposes. But these funds alone are only a part of the amount of money that will be needed to rebuild our land. Vast amounts of fresh capital must be attracted to accompany the war damage money to give us a productive economy adequate to our needs. Of the $620,000,000 authorized for war damage payments, $400,000,000 is set aside to compensate for damage to private property. That $400,000,000 must be divided among all the claimants and the number of claimants will total more than half a million. According to the survey of the War Damage Corporation of the United States Government, total losses suffered by private persons and corporations amounted to $464,420,000. Damage inflicted on church property amounted to $139,000,000. These figures are today considered extremely conservative. All these losses must be met out of the $400,000,000 authorized by Congress. These losses include automobiles, household furniture, and office equipment. The buildings which were damaged include club houses, auditoriums and theaters. The amount of money which will be paid out for the rehabilitation of productive enterprises is but a part of the total available amount. And if that amount is the only money we have for the rehabilitation of our economy, those who pin all their hopes on war damage payments may look forward to a rude awakening.

It was not the intention of Congress to make these payments a bribe to induce our acceptance of the Trade Act, because Congress well knew the war damage money is but a fraction of the capital we require. The Bell Act provision and the subsequent encouragement of trade and productive enterprise are in themselves intended as an inducement and as a lure for capital investment here. Without that investment we are lost. No bank will lend us money unless we have a productive economy. We cannot have a productive economy without markets and without the capital required to produce for those markets. The three elements of our rehabilitation are first, a market for our goods; second, capital to enable us to revive our production; and third, labor and enterprise to produce. To coordinate this trilogy the United States Congress provided, first, trade preferences; second, assurances to capital; and third, a part of the funds we will need to rebuild and reconstruct. To strike out any one of these elements is to destroy the whole of the master plan for our rehabilitation.

I have gone into great detail in regard to the so-called onerous provisions of the Trade Act. It might be well by contrast to recite the beneficial provisions regarding which there can be no question.

The Trade Act provides eight years of completely free trade and twenty years of gradually increasing tariffs or declining duty-free quotas as the case may be. For sugar and cordage, for instance, increasing tariffs are provided. For coconut oil, tobacco products and some others which could not withstand the imposition of any tariffs, declining duty-free quotas are stipulated.

These are provisions which have never been made for any other foreign country on earth. These are provisions which violate America’s basic international trade policies. Yet without these provisions, our industries cannot even begin to function. The tariff preferences are basically and fundamentally essential to us.

When consideration of this legislation was begun seven months ago, it was believed an impossible task to secure congressional approval of such provisions. But in the end, they were approved.

The tariff duties, when they begin to be assessed against our products in 1954, are to be assessed at the lowest world duty charged to any nation in the world including Cuba. That means that Cuba, for instance, which has enjoyed a 20 per cent preferential in the American market since 1901, will be at a disadvantage compared to the Philippines until 1974.

It also means that products which are found on the free list for Cuba, and for Cuba alone, as, for instance manganese, will be on the free list for the Philippines for the full 28-year period of the Agreement.

We are guaranteed a two-cent preferential in processing taxes on our copra, also for 28 years, thus guaranteeing for that period an exclusive market in the United States for Philippine copra. No other country can compete in the face of this preferential.

Whereas, the United States agrees to tie its hands in the allocation of sugar quotas and in the assessment of processing taxes on coconut oil for those 28 years, we make no such concession. This is a provision completely unilateral in our favor, completely non-reciprocal.

The United States, under this Act, in effect revises all its tariff laws, all its reciprocal trade agreements with all the countries in the world, departs from its own international trade policy, and sets up a special trade relationship with the Philippines.

It might be well for us to remember that our forthcoming independence is a free grant by the United States. Added to that grant are the economic privileges I have already referred to. The nation whose productive power and armed might brought Germany and Japan to their knees is committed to the guarantee of our security and of our survival. We could have no more magnificent sponsor of our independence.

We are a prostrate nation. The apparent well-being of some of our citizens today leads them to puff up with dignity, like the bullfrog of Aesop’s fable. But let us look at the real plight of our people, and the real situation which stares at us from every quarter.

What if we reject the Executive Agreement, and assert our pride and dignity and demand that Americans stay out of the Philippines and refrain from making investments here? What is our situation then? What are our prospects, on the one hand of obtaining a better bill, and on the other of getting along without the Trade Act at all? In the first place, I do not believe we could at this time get a better Act. After July 4th, we will be without congressional representation. Any proposition submitted to Congress in our behalf after July 4th must be the product of an inter-departmental agreement within the United States Administration. I do not think such an agreement possible without months of deliberation. And while these deliberations are going on, the Congress will adjourn. This is an election year in the United States.

While the present Congress is favorably disposed toward us, I cannot forecast the complexion or attitude of the next Congress.

We, ourselves, are not agreed on what a perfect trade formula would be. Some are against free trade. Some are for perpetual free trade. Some wish our pre-war industries revived. Some wish them to remain destroyed.

Should we be so foolish as to ask the United States Government to reconsider, I doubt if there would be legislation enacted before 1948. I doubt whether it would be as satisfactory legislation as that which we have today.

What of the other alternative, of dispensing with the Trade Act entirely?

Let us look at the facts of life. After July 4th, without this Executive Agreement, we will be on a full foreign duty basis, like any other foreign nation, with respect to the United States.

The sugar, tobacco, and coconut oil industries will be dead. So, too, will be embroideries, and pearl buttons, and probably cordage. Our exports for some years to come will consist of copra and abaca, and chrome. There will even be a tariff against our manganese. It will be many months before we can mine gold again.

That means, at pre-war production levels, an income from exports of approximately 60 million pesos, using current prices as a standard. Our imports this year from the United States will be valued at approximately 600 million pesos. If we are to rehabilitate ourselves, the amount of imports must be increased next year. The result will be that at the end of 1947, we will have denuded the Philippines of practically every peso and every centavo which the American GI’s and others brought in here, the so-called nest-egg on which we have been living and doing business for the past 18 months. We will be penniless.

It is easy to say that we can raise our own food and live, as we lived under the Japanese. Do we wish to push our people back into the middle ages of subsistence and economic isolationism? Of course, we do not. But unless we attract capital from abroad, and even more important, unless we can begin immediately to increase our exports of our major cash crops, we are doomed to disaster and worse.

We must be reminded that should we reject this Trade Act, and deprive ourselves of preferential markets, we prejudice completely our applications for loans from the United States Government. No government would lend us money in the absence of a productive economy that would permit us to repay the loan.

I do not think that there is any question of confronting such a situation. There is no reason to expect that this Congress will refuse to meet this question in its true light.

I have described and defended the Trade Act at great length. I sincerely believe that we have only one choice, and that is, to accept it. Let me point out to the Congress, that were we to be actuated by partisan considerations, the majority party might oppose this legislation. We are not responsible for it. We had nothing to do with its formulation or passage. But we do not intend to take a partisan attitude toward a question which involves our national existence.

One supplementary reason for this stand is our strong conviction that, as we approach independence, we must establish firmly the principle of continuity of foreign policy. I know of no more vital principle for the promotion of the respect of the world for our nationhood, for our stability, for our political maturity. I will not put this Government in a position of denying the commitments entered into with the United States by the last administration, merely for a doubtful political advantage. I believe it my patriotic duty to follow this policy. I hope to see developed among our people an understanding that politics halts at the water’s edge. We will not, we must not, play politics with our commitments abroad.

I have placed before you a momentous choice. There is no time for delay. We cannot gamble with the lives of our people. They must have assurance of future work. We must draw now the pattern of national reconstruction to permit the development of a broader, a richer, a more productive economy, than we ever had in the past.

All the dreams we have dreamed, of democracy, of social security, of agrarian reform, of prosperity and happiness for our people, hinge on your actions and your debates. By the wisdom of your decisions hangs the fate of this nation. In imposing this responsibility upon you, I need not go further. I need not indicate to you at any greater length the course you should follow.

I appeal to your patriotism and to the love I know every member here holds for his native land, to act in good conscience for the welfare of his country. Chart now the course this nation must follow in the years to come. Tell our people now that you have faith in our nation and in the ability of their Government to safeguard them from evil. Tell them that their struggles and sacrifices of the past four years were not in vain, and that the Republic of the Philippines is soon to reap the benefits of those sacrifices and struggles.

The basic blueprint of our economic recovery is here. It is for you to accept. It is for you even to reject. I assure the Congress that in accepting and in implementing the program that has been designed, they will be giving to the people of the Philippines, and to our friends and well-wishers throughout the world, the signal that we are on our way in a great crusade, 18,000,000 strong, to reach the haven of economic security which all the world is seeking today.

Manuel Roxas, Inaugural Speech

20 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
As President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines

[May 28, 1946]

MY COUNTRYMEN:

I have taken my oath as President of the Philippines to defend and support the Constitution and to enforce the laws of our country. I assume in all humbleness the complex responsibilities, which you have chosen to give me. I pledge my effort and my life to discharge them with whatever talent, strength and energy I can muster. But those responsibilities must be shared by the Congress, by the other branches of government, and, in the last analysis, by all the people of the Philippines who face together the great test of the future. I would not be content to assume this office, I would not have the hope to discharge the duties assigned me if I were not confident that my country- men are ready and capable of sharing in full measure the work and sacrifices which lie ahead. Certainly no people in recent history have been called upon to surmount the obstacles which confront us today. But I have supreme faith in the ability of our people to reach the goals we seek. I ask from the nation the full and undivided support of heart, mind and energy for the necessary tasks which await us.

In our traditions there are ample sources of inspiration. From the recent past we have the standard of dynamic leadership erected by Manuel Quezon, that mighty champion of independence and great friend and benefactor of the masses of the people. We have the spotless integrity and noble patriotism of Sergio Osmeña who grasped the banner of leadership when the incomparable Quezon was taken from us.

Our appointment with destiny is upon us. In five weeks we will be a free Republic. Our noble aspirations for nationhood, long cherished and arduously contended for by our people, will be realized. We will enter upon a new existence in which our individual lives will form together a single current, recognized and identified in the ebb and flow of world events as distinctly Filipino.

Yet look about you, my fellow-citizens. The tragic evidence of recent history stares at us from the broken ruins of our cities and the wasting acres of our soil. Beneath the surface of our daily strivings lie deep the wounds of war and economic prostration. The toppled columns of the Legislative Building before which we stand are mute and weeping symbols of the land we have inherited from war.

Unemployment is increasing, as the United States armed forces decrease the tempo of activities here. Our soldiers are being discharged in growing numbers to swell the ranks of those who must find work and livelihood. Many of those who have work are employed in trades dependent on the rapidly shrinking expenditures of the Army and Navy.

There is hunger among us. In the mountain provinces and in other far-flung areas of our land children starve. Prices race with wages in the destructive elevators of inflation. The black market with all its attendant evils of disrespect for law and public morality thrives in the channels of commerce.

Plagues of rats and locusts gnaw at our food supplies. Public health and sanitation have been set back a quarter of a century.

Housing for most of our urban citizens is shocking in its inadequacy and squalor. Disease and epidemic threaten, and we have to thank the Divine Providence that the toll of death is still relatively small.

Our communications are destroyed, stolen or disrupted, and many of our countrymen are still today cut off from the main currents of national life. Schools have been burned and teachers have been killed, our educational system is in large measure a shambles.

I have sketched a dark landscape, a bleak prospect for our future. I have not meant unduly to dramatize our ills. I do not wish to parade the sackcloth and ashes of our people. Nevertheless it is necessary to know the truth.  Many of us live today in the chambered Nautilus of our own mental construction. There are those who close their eyes to the problems that confront us, and prefer to direct the national attention and the national energy at objects outside ourselves, at fancied enemies, at fancied fears of imperialistic aggression. The coincidence of easy money and high prices gives to some of our people the false illusion of national prosperity and the mad notion that we have time to dally and debate. The prosperity of money and prices is a hallucination, a nightmarish dream resulting from the scarcity of commodities and the influx of a half billion dollars of troop money. Soon, very soon, we must awake from that dream. We will find that mere money, bloated by inflation and circulating in narrow channels, does not bring about prosperity and national well being. Every day, that money is being siphoned from our land by more and more imports—not productive imports, but imports of consumption. The well-being of the tradesman alone is not the well-being of our people. Disaster awaits us tomorrow if we do not rouse ourselves and get back to work, to productive work.

I recall our national temper and our national condition five years ago, the last year of the generation of peace.

We had then a land of comparative plenty. The products of our fields and farms were flowing in a never-ending stream across the oceans to the United States, to Europe, to China―even to Japan and Russia. The Government was rich in revenue from taxes, from customs, and from the refunded collections on Philippine products processed and taxed in the United States. We were in the midst of a program aimed at the eventual achievement of social justice for the underprivileged elements of our population. Yes, we had those elements then, as we have them now. We must not imagine that economic maladjustments, land hunger and farm tenancy are problems born of recent years. They are as old as our present civilization in the Philippines.

The brutal hand of war spread its breadth across our land and blotted out not only our progress toward a fuller life for all, but our entire economy, all the economic goods and tools we had amassed by a century of labor. We had not expected to be a battleground. We had not expected war. Nor were we alone among the peoples of the earth in our lack of understanding of the military aims of our enemies.

We were treacherously attacked; soon, despite the unmeasured heroism of our men at arms and of their gallant American comrades on Bataan and Corregidor, despite the magnificent courage and leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, our land was conquered. A new sovereignty, by dint of force, was imposed upon us. From the beginning the Filipinos had indicated by word and deed that the fate of the United States in this global conflict was the fate of the Philippines. President Quezon offered the United States the blood and treasure of the Filipino people until victory came. We did not then realize how complete that offer was!

For three and a half years we were an unwilling part of the Japanese sphere of conquest. But though the land was possessed, there was never a moment in which our hearts or convictions faltered. The Filipinos discharged their debt of allegiance to the United States with a payment of loyalty which has never been surpassed.

I need not refer further in phrase or word to the gallantry of our countrymen in their resistance to the Japanese. The deeds of the Filipino people have been celebrated wherever men have gathered to pay tribute to heroism, courage and fidelity. Their gallantry has become an epic, a byword, a standard by which all heroism many be measured. Many have tried to explain that heroism and that loyalty. But like all heroism it rises above the logic of mere reason. I judge it a proof and product of the passion for democracy  and freedom which America has taught us during 48 years  That teaching took deep root in a soil made fertile by our great heroes of pre-American days—Rizal, Mabini, and Bonifacio. Our hearts were ready when the Americans  came in 1898. By the manner in which America discharged her trust, we developed a devotion to that great nation which I know will exist for all time.

A nation is something more than the people who inhabit a geographic area. It is a spirit, a tradition and a way of life. There have been Americans whom we have disliked. There have been American administrations from which we have received scant comfort. There have been American Governors General with whom we have quarreled. But we have never had cause to waver in our confidence or faith in America. We have clasped to our  bosom her system of government, her language, her institutions, her historical traditions. We have made them ours. We cannot forget this fact and this great truth. We are to be a free nation largely because we were aided in that direction by the love of liberty and the goodwill of the American people. If we succeed as a nation, if we are able to survive as a nation—and of course we will—we will have America to thank. I bear witness to the fact that America stands ready to help, without selfishness, without motive except to reward us for our loyalty and to advance in our land the great cause of democracy and freedom for which Americans and Filipinos died together, in many corners of the earth in the past four years.

I find no dream of empire in America. While cognizant of power, America, as a nation, is troubled in the use of that power by an earnest and heartfelt desire to advance not the cause of greed but the cause of freedom. We are and shall be a living monument to this fact.

Yet we have today in our own land a few among us who would have us believe that we are in danger of an imperialistic invasion from the very nation which is granting us our sovereignty. They would have us believe that the American Republic, resplendent in her power and prestige as the leader of democracy and as the spokesman for freedom, would lend herself to a theft of our national heritage for the sake of a thimbleful of profits. No, my mind will not stoop to as low a conceit as that. The nation which spent three hundred billion dollars to arm the hosts of freedom, the nation which has spent and is spending so much of its substance not only to free but also to feed the hungry peoples of the earth will not do that. Small minds see small deeds. I will not place my Government in the position of accusing the United States Congress of willingly conspiring to cheat us of our birthright. I admit the possibility of error in the United States Congress as in any other constitutional body. But I have faith that justice will be done us by a country which has been our mother, our protector, our liberator and now our benefactor. In this world, the balances of justice move only on great momentums. I am firmly convinced that when the scales point unmistakably to injustice being rendered us, the United States Congress will grant us redress in full and generous measure.

I have no fears from a nation which idolizes humanity and crowns with laurels those who fight for freedom and brotherhood. There is no greater regard in America today than the national regard for our people. Shall we sacrifice that rich regard on the altar of petty pride and foolish fears? Shall we hold up to world obloquy the country whose legions liberated us for freedom? Shall we give comfort to the enemies of liberty in the crisis which now grips the earth? The forces of evil may be defeated, but they are not dead. And there are new forces of evil growing even in nations which were our allies. I see no such forces reflected in the policies of the United States.

Let us strengthen as much as we can the hand of the nation which stands clearly in the world’s confusion today for democracy and for justice under law. Let us bide our time for the rectification of alleged impositions. When the time comes, let us present facts rather than fears.

The gratitude of the Filipino people to America is great and enduring. Our feeling toward America is not represented by the loud complaints of an articulate few in our midst. I say in the presence of our great American High Commissioner―one of the ablest and most unselfish of our advocates and friends―that the America of Franklin D. Roosevelt and of President Truman is a land we love and respect. The mighty concern that these men have felt for our welfare dwarfs the magnitude of our fancied ills against the United States today.

Meanwhile, with the tools, which have been provided us, we must move forward without pause to bind up this nation’s wounds, to toil, to make, and to build. We have, and will have, a market for our produce. We must concentrate on production, on ever-increasing production. This nation must produce to live. We must have income from abroad―income from exports. We must have that income so that we may buy the machines, hire the technical skills, and, for a time, buy the food, which we need to sustain our strength and impart vigor and health to our young. That task must be begun now, today. The time for action has come. The national energy, in all its parts, must be focused on a single purpose, on the rehabilitation of our destroyed and ravaged economic enterprises―on rice, on sugar, on coconuts, on abaca, on coconut oil, on cigars and tobacco―on gold and chrome, and manganese and lumber. We must foster the enterprises which will raise the national income and bring in financial returns from abroad.

But our aim is not alone to rebuild the economy that was broken and destroyed by war. That is only the beginning of our task, stupendous as it is. We must rebuild, repair, and replace. We must feed the hungry and heal the sick and disabled. We must care for the widows and orphans of our soldier dead. We must wage war against inflation and unemployment. That is the obvious foundation stone of national rehabilitation. But we know, we have long known, that the narrow economy of the past must be broadened. The national structure must be sufficient to house the energies of the whole people. For the Philippines to fit into the pattern of the 20th century, to take its place as an equal among the nations of the earth, we must industrialize; we must make as well as grow. Only in this way can we raise to substantial and permanently high levels the living standards of our people. To support this kind of economy, the producers must become consumers and purchasers. They must have the income with which to buy the products of their toil. Higher wages accompanied by efficient and increased production are the true road to full employment. Increased wages and income in pesos must represent increased purchasing power. Prices must be kept under control until production and importation reach saturation levels. We must avoid a price structure based on scarcity. We must avoid a wage structure based on inflated prices. Meanwhile we must encourage the production of more and more of our primary requirements, production of things we ourselves will consume. The encouragement of production for consumption and the increase in the purchasing power of the masses are parallel paths which we must travel.

Our people are well known for their handicraft and for their ingenuity. There are available in the world today tools and machines of which we must become the masters. There are many natural resources in our land which can be processed by the methods of modem technology into finished items for our consumption and for sale abroad. There are many small industrial and business enterprises which must attract the skills and talents of our citizens. Every encouragement must be given the Filipino to participate in all the operations of our new economy at all its levels. But this participation cannot be a grant of government. Participation in business and industry cannot be magically induced. Opportunity can be afforded but it is the responsibility of the individual and groups of individuals to strive for and capture that opportunity and, by so doing, become integral parts of the expanded economy of the nation.

Tools and implements will be needed to make this dream an actuality. Capital will be required. The savings of our own people will be called for, but they are inadequate. We must invite foreign capital, American capital, investment capital.

We may well wisely look to the great international organs, the International Monetary and Rehabilitation Bank and others, for financial aid. We may look to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. But for some of our needs we can only obtain assistance from the United States. In addition, we must remember that the United States is the source of most of the finances of all these organizations. What we can secure directly from the United States is far better and more expeditiously obtained than through the devious channels of international action. We must bear in mind in this and other connections that the great international organization of the United Nations, lofty in concept, is yet only an infant in the arena of world affairs. Recent events have demonstrated to us, as to the rest of the world, that the skeleton of the United Nations Organization must grow flesh and develop muscles of its own before it can be depended upon as a repository of our immediate hopes.

We will be as wholehearted as any nation in our devotion to the ideals of an indivisible peace and an indivisible world. We will maintain with all our strength and all our power our obligations to the United Nations, and to the causes set forth in the United Nations charter to which we are a signatory.  In the same way we will maintain friendly and honorable relations with all our neighbors and look forward to the day when peace and security will be maintained by mutual consent and by the collective conscience of mankind.

But until that happy day dawns upon us, we can much more securely repose our fate in the understanding and comradeship which exist between the Philippines and the United States than in the hope of an international morality which, however desirable, is still today in the process of development. We are fortunate to have as the guarantor of our security the United States of America, which is today the bulwark and support of small nations everywhere in the world.

I have spoken of the past; I have spoken of the future; I have not spoken much of the present. I have suggested some of the problems we face. I have not referred to one of our most urgent ones.

In some few provinces of our land the rule of law and order has yielded to the rule of force and terror. Using economic injustice as a rallying cry, demagogues have destroyed the precious fabric of public faith in democratic procedure. The faith of the people in government and in law must be restored. I pledge myself to rectify injustice, but I likewise pledge myself to restore the role of law and government as the arbiter of right among the people.

A great American who loved mankind and died in its name, Abraham Lincoln, once said: “Among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet…they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost.”

This great humanitarian could not be accused of placing the values of law above human values. He recognized as do all right-minded men that if government has one function, it is to insure the reign of law for the protection of the weak in their inalienable rights―the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This Government is pledged to maintain the rights of the underprivileged with all its strength and all its power. It will see justice done to the poor, the lowly and the disinherited. But it will not sanction, it will not permit, it will oppose with every force at its command if necessary the imposition of extra- legal rule over any section of this country by any group of self-anointed leaders or individuals. The show of arms and terror will not daunt us. Defiance will not obtain from us a single additional iota of justice.  Justice is absolute and is not to be measured by strength of contention.

We will move with maximum speed to cure the ills which beset the landless and the tenants, the hungry and the unemployed. Only unavoidable lack of means can delay the full execution of this policy. A new tenancy law, granting a greater share of the produce of the land to those who till the soil will be recommended; usury will be stamped out; lands will be purchased by the Government and re-sold to tenants; new agricultural areas will be opened to settlement; modern methods of agriculture will be taught, and farm machinery will be made available for purchase. It is my aim to raise the status of the farm worker, to increase his earnings, to spread wide the benefits of modem technology.

Labor must be given the full fruits of its toil. Its right of organization must be protected. The dignity of work, and the worker’s equity in the product of his labor must be assured by the Government. We will endeavor to assure economic security for all our people. But meanwhile terror must be abandoned as an instrument of justice. Lawlessness must stop without a moment’s delay. Our people, starting out on a career of nationhood, cannot permit our national efforts to be influenced by fear. This proud nation will not grant economic concessions at gunpoint. Arms must be surrendered, except by those licensed to bear arms. The Government will undertake to protect each man, woman, and child in the security of his person, of his liberty, and of his property. That protection is an absolute requisite of progress.

We understand the habit of violence which developed in time of war when violence was the creed of freedom. Many of those who now hold arms illegally served well our common cause. We will not forget their services. We are not without sympathy for the centuries-old burdens of injustice visited upon some of our people. We must understand that anger will lurk in the hearts of men when the gains won by violence in war seem about to be taken away. But the rough gains achieved in the absence of law are transitory and insecure. Be assured that the welfare of those who suffered injustice in past years will be heeded. Their war-won gains will be replaced by the more substantial benefits of justice, of peace and tranquility within a framework of national prosperity and economic well-being. But first, arms must be surrendered and the leaders of violence must recognize the leaders duly chosen by the free vote of the people.

I recognize that government, in order to maintain respect for law, must in itself bear the unassailable stamp of integrity. Honesty in government is the first essential for the maintenance by the people of faith in its actions. It is a corollary of this that government must be efficient and must watch with vigilant eye the expenditures of public funds. Public officials must render public service. That is their duty. That is their responsibility. Every centavo of the people’s money must be spent for the people’s benefit. I intend to maintain these standards during my administration.

We have great tasks before us, tasks which challenge the very best and the most that is within us. There is no seed of effort which can be spared from the national planting. Charity and understanding must replace bitterness and anger. We cannot afford to cherish old feuds or old divisions. For the many tasks of national reconstruction, we need the thousand talents of all our people―men and women alike. The recent elections are past. Likewise the strife of war is over. Bitterness engendered by these events must be forgotten and healed. Violations of basic law will be tested and punished by law. Traitors will not escape their just desserts. But among the people, there must be no recriminations or mali2nancies. Errors of mind rather than of heart must be forgiven. The great test of war and sacrifice through which we have passed with such hardship will have failed in one of its few benefits if it has not taught us that only in unity can there be power, that only in singleness of national purpose can there be achieved national salvation. I do not mean to suggest that there is no room in this democracy for division of views or of parties. Vigilant, free and constructive minority organization is a spur to majority leadership and responsibility.

But as we go forward in our full faith to work out the destiny of our land and of our people, we must cling fast to one another, and to our friends across the seas; we must maintain in both our hearts and minds a gentleness of understanding as well as firmness of purpose. Sweat and sacrifice will be needed, but they will fall on barren ground, unless we move in the path of God, “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.”

I have faith in the wisdom of our people. I have trust in the goodness of God. Let us together maintain our faith in each other, in liberty and in the ways of democracy, and give strength to one another as we advance in our search for the evergreen pastures of peace and well being for all. With the help of God, let us build in this our land a monument to freedom and to justice, a beacon to all mankind.