Thursday, September 5, 2013
The Commonwealth Government
When Tydings-MucDuffie Law (Philippine Independence Act) was confirm, accepted and settled in the Philippines, it lead for the establishment of the Commonwealth Government for a ten-year transitional period in the Philippines from 1935-1945 in preparation for the independence from the United States.
The settlement of the Commonwealth Government was a watershed in Philippine history. To the Filipino people, it was realization of their efforts to govern themselves and chart their own destiny as people. The Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth in 1935.
On November 15, 1935, the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth Government happened. Manuel L. Quezon was elected president and tasked with preparing the country for full independence after a ten-year transition period. With Sergio Osmena as vice-president, they took their path in the ceremony.
Upon assuming the position, he took the task of laying the foundations of the future Philippine republic. According to him, “I would rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by the Americans.” The Commonwealth Constitution used to guide the Philippine Commonwealth Government was suspended during the Japanese Occupation and was restored after the war until a new constitution was ratified.
The primary concerns in the transition period were:
1. National Security and National Defense
2. Social Justice of the country
5. Economic Development
1. Reorganization of the government by creating offices, including Department of National Defense, Institute of National Language and the National Council of Education, Filipinization of the judiciary from Supreme Court to the municipal courts
2. Granting of women suffrage
3. Creation of new chartered cities – Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, Zamboanga, San Pablo, Quezon City, Cavite and Tagaytay
4. The adoption of national language, based on Tagalog
5. Promotion of Social Justice, as shown by the Eight Hour Labor Act enacted by the National Assembly and the appointment of public defenders (government lawyers)
6. Compulsory military training of able-bodied Filipino youths, under the supervision of Gen. Douglas MacArthur
7. Taking of the 1939 Official Census of the Philippines
8. The improvement of the Philippine economy, as revealed by the growth of agriculture, commerce and industries
9. Creation of Joint Preparatory Committee on Philippine Affairs (JPCPA)
10. Passing of three amendments of the 1935 Phil. Constitution
a. Tenure of the President and Vice-President was four years with reelection for another term
b. Establishment of a Bicameral Congress of the Philippines
c. Creation of an Independent Commission on Elections composed of three members to supervise
II. World War II
* The Commonwealth Era was interrupted when Japanese occupied the Philippines in January 2, 1942.
* Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña went into exile in the US. During the exile, Quezon become ill with tuberculosis, and later died of it. Osmeña replaced him as a President.
*At the same time, the Japanese installed a puppet government in Manila headed by Jose P. laurel as President. This government is known as the Second Philippine Republic.
* On October 20, 1944, the American General Douglas McArthur’s army landed on Leyte to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese. Japan formally surrendered in September 2, 1945.
* After the war, the Commonwealth was restored, and a one-year transitional period in preparation for independence began. Elections followed in April 1946 with Manuel Roxas winning as President and Elpidio Quirino as President.
* The Commonwealth ended when the US recognized Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 as scheduled. However, the economy remained dependent to the US, which was due to the Bell Trade Act (Philippine Trade Act) which was a precondition for receiving war rehabilitation grants from the United States of America.
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