Commonwealth of the Philippines
Overview
 
The Commonwealth of the Philippines (fɪlɪˈpinɐs) was a designation of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth
Commonwealth (United States insular area)
In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory.The definition of "Commonwealth" according to current U.S. State Department policy reads: "The term 'Commonwealth' does not describe or provide for any specific...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act
Tydings-McDuffie Act
The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 was inaugurated president in 1935, he became the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines.

The Commonwealth had a strong executive and a Supreme Court.
Encyclopedia
The Commonwealth of the Philippines (fɪlɪˈpinɐs) was a designation of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth
Commonwealth (United States insular area)
In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory.The definition of "Commonwealth" according to current U.S. State Department policy reads: "The term 'Commonwealth' does not describe or provide for any specific...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act
Tydings-McDuffie Act
The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 was inaugurated president in 1935, he became the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines.

The Commonwealth had a strong executive and a Supreme Court. The legislature, dominated by the Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

, was at first unicameral, but later bicameral. In 1937, the government selected Tagalog, the dialect of Manila, as the national language, although it would be many years before usage became general. Women's suffrage was adopted and the economy recovered to its pre-depression level before the Japanese occupation.

The Commonwealth government was in exile from 1942–1945, when the Philippines was under Japanese occupation. In 1946, the Commonwealth ended and the Philippines was proclaimed a republic.

Names

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was also known as the "Philippine Commonwealth", or simply as "the Commonwealth". It had official names in (pɪlɪˈpinɐs) and (fɪlɪˈpinɐs). The 1935 constitution specifies "the Philippines" as the country's short form name and uses "the Philippine Islands" only to refer to pre-1935 status and institutions. Under the previous regime, known most formally as the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, both terms had official status.

Structure

The Commonwealth had its own constitution, which remained effective until 1973, and was self-governing although foreign policy and military affairs would be under the responsibility of the United States, and certain legislation required the approval of the American President.

It featured a very strong executive
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

, a unicameral National Assembly
National Assembly of the Philippines
The National Assembly of the Philippines refers to the legislature of the Philippine Commonwealth from 1935 to 1941, and the Second Philippine Republic. The National Assembly of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was created under the 1935 Constitution, which served as the Philippines' fundamental...

, and a Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

, all composed entirely of Filipinos, as well as an elected Resident Commissioner
Resident Commissioners from the Philippines
From 1907 until 1946, the Philippines sent Resident Commissioners to the United States House of Representatives to represent the island state, which was a U.S. territory from 13 August 1898...

 to the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 (as Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 does today). An American High Commissioner and an American Military Advisor
Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines
The Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government was created in 1935 upon the initiative of President Manuel L. Quezon by the Philippine and American governments for the purposes of developing a system of national defense for the Commonwealth of the Philippines by 1946...

, Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 headed the latter office from 1937 until the advent of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1941, holding the military rank of Field Marshal of the Philippines
Field Marshal (Philippines)
Field Marshal of the Philippines was a rank created in 1937 to be held by Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur was accorded the rank as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, which retained his services to form an army in response to the growing danger from Japan and the...

. After 1946, the rank of field marshal disappeared from the Philippine military.

In 1939-40, after an amendment in the Constitution, a bicameral Congress, consisting of a Senate, and of a House of Representatives, was restored replacing the National Assembly
National Assembly of the Philippines
The National Assembly of the Philippines refers to the legislature of the Philippine Commonwealth from 1935 to 1941, and the Second Philippine Republic. The National Assembly of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was created under the 1935 Constitution, which served as the Philippines' fundamental...

.

Creation

The pre-1935 U.S. territorial administration, or Insular Government, was headed by a governor general who was appointed by the president of the U.S. In December 1932, the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act
Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act
The Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act was the first US law passed for the decolonization of the Philippines.By 1932, forces for the creation of this law coalesced around US farmers who were hit by the Great Depression and feared Filipino imports of sugar and coconut oil that were not subject to US tariff...

 with the premise of granting Filipinos independence. Provisions of the bill included reserving several military and naval bases for the United States, as well as imposing tariffs and quotas on Philippine exports. It was vetoed by President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 but the American Congress overrode his veto in 1933 and passed the bill. The bill, however, was opposed by the then Philippine Senate President Manuel L. Quezon and was also rejected by the Philippine Senate.

This led to the creation and passing of a new bill known as Tydings-McDuffie Act
Tydings-McDuffie Act
The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

, or Philippine Independence Act, which allowed the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a 10-year period of peaceful transition to full independence. The Commonwealth was officially inaugurated on November 15, 1935.

A Constitutional Convention was convened in Manila on July 30, 1934. On February 8, 1935, the 1935 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines was approved by the convention by a vote of 177 to 1. The constitution was approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 on March 23, 1935 and ratified by popular vote on May 14, 1935.

In October 1935, presidential elections
Philippine presidential election, 1935
Presidential elections, National Assembly elections and local elections were held on September 15, 1935 in the Philippines. This was the first election since the enactment of the Tydings-McDuffie Act that paved the way for a transitory government. Senate President Manuel Luis Quezon won against...

 were held. Candidates included former president Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy was a Filipino general, politician, and independence leader. He played an instrumental role during the Philippines' revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine-American War or War of Philippine Independence that resisted American occupation...

, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Philippine Independent Church
The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, (officially the or the IFI, also known as the Philippine Independent Catholic Church or in Ilocano: Siwawayawaya nga Simbaan ti Filipinas (in in Kinaray-a/Hiligaynon: Simbahan Hilway nga...

leader Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Labayan Aglipay was the first Filipino Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church.-Early life:...

, and others. Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 and Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...

 of the Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

 were proclaimed the winners, winning the seats of president and vice-president, respectively.

The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on the morning of November 15, 1935, in ceremonies held on the steps of the Legislative Building
Old Congress Building, Manila
The Old Congress Building is a building located on Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. It is currently home of the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines...

 in Manila. The event was attended by a crowd of around 300,000 people.

Pre-War

The new government embarked on ambitious nation-building policies in preparation for economic and political independence. These included national defense (such as the National Defense Act of 1935
National Defense Act of 1935
The National Defense Act of 1935 was passed by the Philippine National Assembly on December 21, 1935. The purpose of this act was to create an independent Philippine Army, this was interrupted by World War II.-Provisions:...

, which organized a conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 for service in the country), greater control over the economy, the perfection of democratic institutions, reforms in education, improvement of transport, the promotion of local capital, industrialization, and the colonization of Mindanao
Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

.

However, uncertainties, especially in the diplomatic and military situation in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, in the level of U.S. commitment to the future Republic of the Philippines, and in the economy due to the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, proved to be major problems. The situation was further complicated by the presence of agrarian unrest, and of power struggles between Osmeña and Quezon, especially after Quezon was permitted to be re-elected after one six-year term.

A proper evaluation of the policies' effectiveness or failure is difficult due to Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 invasion and occupation during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

World War II

Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 launched a surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941. The Commonwealth government drafted the Philippine Army
Philippine Army
The Philippine Army is the ground arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines . Its official name in Tagalog is Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas. On July 23, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Maj. Gen...

 into the U.S. Army Forces Far East
U.S. Army Forces Far East
USAFFE included the Philippine Department, Philippine Army , and the Far East Air Force. USAFFE Headquarters was created on July 26, 1941, at No.1, Calle Victoria, Manila, Luzon, the Philippines, with Major General MacArthur as commander. The Chief of Staff was Lieutenant General Richard K...

, which would resist Japanese occupation. Manila was declared an open city
Open city
In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the nation that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that they have abandoned all defensive efforts....

 to prevent its destruction, and it was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. Meanwhile, battles against the Japanese continued on the Bataan Peninsula
Battle of Bataan
The Battle of Bataan represented the most intense phase of Imperial Japan's invasion of the Philippines during World War II. The capture of the Philippine Islands was crucial to Japan's effort to control the Southwest Pacific, seize the resource-rich Dutch East Indies, and protect its Southeast...

, Corregidor
Battle of Corregidor
The Battle for Corregidor was the culmination of the Japanese campaign for the conquest of the Philippines. The fall of Bataan on 9 April 1942 ended all organized opposition by the U.S...

, and Leyte
Battle of Leyte
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the invasion and conquest of the island of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by...

 until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on May 1942.
Quezon and Osmeña were escorted by troops from Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 to Corregidor
Corregidor
Corregidor Island, locally called Isla ng Corregidor, is a lofty island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor was fortified with several coastal artillery and ammunition magazines to defend the entrance of...

, and later they left for Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and then the U.S. There they set up a government in exile, which participated in the Pacific War Council
Pacific War Council
The Pacific War Council was an inter-governmental body established in 1942 and intended to control the Allied war effort in the Pacific and Asian campaigns of World War II....

 as well as the Declaration by United Nations
Declaration by United Nations
The Declaration by United Nations was a World War II document agreed to on January 1, 1942 during the Arcadia Conference by 26 governments: the Allied "Big Four" , nine American allies in Central America and the Caribbean, the four British Dominions, British India, and eight Allied...

. During this exile, Quezon became ill with tuberculosis, and later he died of it. Osmeña replaced him as the president.

Meanwhile, the Japanese military organized a new government in the Philippines known as the Second Philippine Republic
Second Philippine Republic
The Second Philippine Republic, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , was a state in the Philippines established on October 14, 1943 under Japanese occupation....

, which was headed by president José P. Laurel
Jose P. Laurel
José Paciano Laurel y García was the president of the Republic of the Philippines, a Japanese-sponsored administration during World War II, from 1943 to 1945...

. This government ended up being very unpopular.

The resistance to the Japanese occupation continued in the Philippines. This included the Hukbalahap
Hukbalahap
The Hukbalahap , was the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines , formed in 1942 to fight the Japanese Empire's occupation of the Philippines during World War II. It fought a second war from 1946 to 1954 against the pro-Western leaders of their newly independent country...

("People's Army Against the Japanese"), which consisted of 30,000 armed people and controlled much of Central Luzon
Central Luzon
Central Luzon , also known as Region III , is an administrative division or region of the Republic of the Philippines, primarily serve to organize the 7 provinces of the vast central plain of the island of Luzon , for administrative convenience...

. Remnants of the Philippine Army
Philippine Army
The Philippine Army is the ground arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines . Its official name in Tagalog is Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas. On July 23, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Maj. Gen...

 also fought the Japanese through guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

, and it was successful, since all but 12 of the 48 provinces
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 were liberated.
The American General
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

's army landed on Leyte on 20 October 1944, and they were all welcomed as liberators, along with Philippine Commonwealth troops when other amphibious landings soon followed. Fighting continued in remote corners of the Philippines until Japan's surrender in August 1945, which was signed on 2 September in Tokyo Bay. Estimates for Filipino casualties reached one million, and Manila was extensively damaged when certain Japanese forces refused to vacate the city (against their orders from the Japanese High Command).

After the War in the Philippines, the Commonwealth was restored, and a one-year transitional period in preparation for independence began. Elections followed in April 1946 with Manuel Roxas
Manuel Roxas
Manuel Acuña Roxas was the first president of the independent Third Republic of the Philippines and fifth president overall. He served as president from the granting of independence in 1946 until his abrupt death in 1948...

 winning as the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines and Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Rivera Quirino was a Filipino politician, and the sixth President of the Philippines.A lawyer by profession, Quirino entered politics when he became a representative of Ilocos Sur from 1919 to 1925. He was then elected as senator from 1925–1931...

 winning as vice-president. In spite of the years of Japanese occupation, the Philippines became independent exactly as scheduled a decade before, on July 4, 1946.

Independence

The Commonwealth ended when the U.S. recognized Philippine independence on
Treaty of Manila (1946)
The Treaty of Manila is a treaty of general relations signed on July 4, 1946 in Manila, capital of the Philippines. Parties to the treaty were the governments of the United States and the Republic of the Philippines...

 July 4, 1946, as scheduled. However, the economy
Economy of the Philippines
The Economy of the Philippines is the 43rd largest in the world, according to the World Bank with an estimated 2010 gross domestic product of $200 billion, it is estimated that by 2015, the ranking of the Philippines would go up to the 18th and by the year 2050 it will land on the 14th...

 remained dependent to the U.S. This was due to the Bell Trade Act
Bell Trade Act
The Bell Trade Act of 1946, also known as the Philippine Trade Act was an act passed by the United States Congress specifying the economic conditions governing the independence of the Philippines from the United States....

, otherwise known as the Philippine Trade Act, which was a precondition for receiving war rehabilitation grants from the United States.

Uprisings and agrarian reform

At the time, tenant farmer
Tenant farmer
A tenant farmer is one who resides on and farms land owned by a landlord. Tenant farming is an agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating capital and management; while tenant farmers contribute their labor along with at times varying...

s held grievances often rooted to debt caused by the sharecropping
Sharecropping
Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land . This should not be confused with a crop fixed rent contract, in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a fixed amount of...

 system, as well as by the dramatic increase in population, which added economic pressure to the tenant farmers' families. As a result, an agrarian reform
Agrarian reform
Agrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land or, broadly, to an overall redirection of the agrarian system of the country, which often includes land reform measures. Agrarian reform can include credit measures,...

 program was initiated by the Commonwealth. However, success of the program was hampered by ongoing clashes between tenants and landowners.

An example of these clashes includes one initiated by Benigno Ramos
Benigno Ramos
Benigno Ramos was an advocate for the independence of the Philippines from the United States who collaborated with Japan.Educated in Bulacan, he went to work there as a teacher. Later, whilst based in Manila, he entered the civil service and by 1928 had risen to a high position with the Senate Staff...

 through his Sakdalista
Sakdalista
The Sakdalista movement was founded in 1930 by a right wing leader, Benigno Ramos, a writer and discontented former government clerk...

movement, which advocated tax reductions, land reforms, the breakup of the large estates or hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

s
, and the severing of American ties. The uprising, which occurred in Central Luzon on May, 1935, claimed about a hundred lives.

National language

Due to the diverse number Philippine languages
Languages of the Philippines
In the Philippines, there are between 120 and 175 languages, depending on the method of classification. Four languages no longer have any known speakers. Almost all the Philippine languages belong to the Austronesian language family...

, a program for the "development and adoption of a common national language based on the existing native dialects" was drafted in the 1935 Philippine constitution. The Commonwealth created a Surian ng Wikang Pambansa (National Language Institute), which was composed of Quezon and six other members from various ethnic groups. A deliberation was held and Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 (due to its extensive literary tradition) was selected as the basis for the "national language" to be called "Pilipino".

In 1940, the Commonwealth authorized the creation of a dictionary and grammar book for the language. On the same year, Commonwealth Act 570 was passed, allowing Pilipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

 to become an official language upon independence.

Economy

The cash economy of the Commonwealth was mostly agriculture-based. Products included abaca, coconuts and coconut oil, sugar, and timber. Numerous other crops and livestock were grown for local consumption by the Filipino people. Other sources for foreign income included the spin-off from money spent at the American army, navy, and air bases on the Philippines, such as the naval base at Subic Bay
Subic Bay
Subic Bay is a bay forming part of Luzon Sea on the west coast of the island of Luzon in Zambales, Philippines, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila Bay. Its shores were formerly the site of a major United States Navy facility named U.S...

 and Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base is a former United States Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located 3 miles west of Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was an American military facility from 1903 to 1991...

 (with U.S. Army airplanes there as early as 1919), both on the island of Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

.

The performance of the economy was initially good despite challenges from various agrarian uprisings. Taxes collected from a robust coconut industry helped boost the economy by funding infrastructure and other development projects. However, growth was halted due to the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Demographics

In 1941, the estimated population of the Philippines reached 17,000,000 while Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

's population was 684,000. The number of Chinese rose to 117,000. There were also 30,000 Japanese, with 20,000 living in Davao
Davao City
The City of Davao is the largest city in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Its international airport and seaports are among the busiest cargo hubs in the Philippines....

, and 9,000 U.S.-Mexicans. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 was spoken by 27% of the population, while Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 was spoken by only 3%.

The following is the estimated number of speakers of the dominant languages:
  • Cebuano
    Cebuano language
    Cebuano, referred to by most of its speakers as Bisaya , is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 20 million people mostly in the Central Visayas. It is the most widely spoken of the languages within the so-named Bisayan subgroup and is closely related to other Filipino...

    : 4,620,685
  • Tagalog
    Tagalog language
    Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

    : 3,068,565
  • Ilocano: 2,353,518
  • Hiligaynon
    Hiligaynon language
    Hiligaynon, often referred to as Ilonggo, is an Austronesian language spoken in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Capiz but is also spoken in the other provinces of the Panay Island group, including Antique,...

    : 1,951,005
  • Waray
    Waray-Waray language
    Wáray-Wáray or Samarnon is a language spoken in the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and in some parts of the Leyte and Biliran in the Philippines...

    : 920,009
  • Kapampangan
    Kapampangan language
    The Pampangan language, or Kapampangan , is one of the major languages of the Philippines. It is the language spoken in the province of Pampanga, the southern half of the province of Tarlac and the northern portion of the province of Bataan. Kapampangan is also understood in some barangays of...

    : 621,455
  • Pangasinan
    Pangasinan language
    The Pangasinan language or Pangasinense is one of the twelve major languages in the Philippines....

    : 573,752

List of presidents

The colors indicate the political party or coalition of each President at Election Day.
# | President Took office Left office | Party Vice President Term
1 Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 
November 15, 1935 August 1, 19441 Nacionalista  Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...

 
1
Philippine presidential election, 1935
Presidential elections, National Assembly elections and local elections were held on September 15, 1935 in the Philippines. This was the first election since the enactment of the Tydings-McDuffie Act that paved the way for a transitory government. Senate President Manuel Luis Quezon won against...

2
Philippine general election, 1941
Presidential, legislative and local elections were held on November 11, 1941 in the Philippines. Incumbent President Manuel Luis Quezon won an unprecedented second partial term as President of the Philippines via a landslide. His running mate, Vice President Sergio Osmeña also won via landslide...

2 Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...

 
August 1, 1944 May 28, 1946 Nacionalista  vacant
3 Manuel Roxas
Manuel Roxas
Manuel Acuña Roxas was the first president of the independent Third Republic of the Philippines and fifth president overall. He served as president from the granting of independence in 1946 until his abrupt death in 1948...

 
May 28, 1946 July 4, 1946² Liberal
Liberal Party (Philippines)
The Liberal Party of the Philippines is a liberal party in the Philippines, founded by then senators Senate President Manuel Roxas, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elpidio Quirino, and former 9th Senatorial District Senator Jose Avelino, on November 24, 1945 by a breakaway Liberal group from the...

 
Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio Rivera Quirino was a Filipino politician, and the sixth President of the Philippines.A lawyer by profession, Quirino entered politics when he became a representative of Ilocos Sur from 1919 to 1925. He was then elected as senator from 1925–1931...

 
3
Philippine general election, 1946
The Elections for the members of the Senate held on April 23, 1946 .-Background:Soon after the reconstitution of the Commonwealth Government in 1945 Senators Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino and their allies called for the holding on an early national election to choose the president and vice...



1 Died due to tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 at Saranac Lake, New York
Saranac Lake, New York
Saranac Lake is a village located in the state of New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,406. The village is named after Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac Lakes, which are nearby....

.

² End of Commonwealth government, independent Republic inaugurated.

Quezon Administration (1935-1944)

In 1935 Quezon won the Philippine's first national presidential election under the banner of the Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

. He obtained nearly 68% of the vote against his two main rivals, Emilio Aguinaldo and Bishop Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Labayan Aglipay was the first Filipino Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church.-Early life:...

. Quezon was inaugurated in November 1935. He is recognized as the second President of the Philippines
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

. However, in January 2008, Congressman Rodolfo Valencia of Oriental Mindoro
Oriental Mindoro
Oriental Mindoro is a province of the Philippines located in the island of Mindoro under MIMAROPA region in Luzon, about 140 km southwest of Manila...

 filed a bill seeking instead to declare General Miguel Malvar
Miguel Malvar
Miguel Malvar y Carpio was a Filipino commander who served during the Philippine Revolution and subsequently during the Philippine–American War. He assumed command of the Philippine revolutionary forces during the latter conflict following the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo in 1901...

 as the second Philippine President, having directly succeeded Aguinaldo in 1901.

Quezon had originally been barred by the Philippine constitution from seeking re-election. However, in 1940, constitutional amendments were ratified allowing him to seek re-election for a fresh term ending in 1943. In the 1941 presidential elections
Philippine general election, 1941
Presidential, legislative and local elections were held on November 11, 1941 in the Philippines. Incumbent President Manuel Luis Quezon won an unprecedented second partial term as President of the Philippines via a landslide. His running mate, Vice President Sergio Osmeña also won via landslide...

, Quezon was re-elected over former Senator
Senate of the Philippines
The Senate of the Philippines is the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress of the Philippines...

 Juan Sumulong with nearly 82% of the vote.

In a notable humanitarian act, Quezon, in cooperation with U.S. High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt
Paul V. McNutt
Paul Vories McNutt was an American politician who served as the 34th Governor of Indiana during the Great Depression, high commissioner to the Philippines, administrator of the Federal Security Agency, chairman of the War Manpower Commission and ambassador to the Philippines.-Family and...

, facilitated the entry into the Philippines of Jewish refugees fleeing fascist regimes in Europe. Quezon was also instrumental in promoting a project to resettle the refugees in Mindanao
Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

.

Quezon suffered from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and spent his last years in a "cure cottage"
Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake
Between 1873 and 1945, Saranac Lake, New York became a world renowned center for the treatment of tuberculosis, using a treatment that involved exposing patients to as much fresh air as possible under conditions of complete bed-rest...

 in Saranac Lake
Saranac Lake, New York
Saranac Lake is a village located in the state of New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,406. The village is named after Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac Lakes, which are nearby....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, where he died on August 1, 1944. He was initially buried in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. His body was later carried by the and re-interred in Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 at the Manila North Cemetery
Manila North Cemetery
The Manila North Cemetery , which measures 54 hectares, is considered the biggest and one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila. Beside it are two other important cemeteries, namely the La Loma Cemetery and the Manila Chinese Cemetery...

 before being moved to Quezon City
Quezon City
Quezon City is the former capital and the most populous city in the Philippines. Located on the island of Luzon, Quezon City is one of the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila, the National Capital Region. The city was named after Manuel L...

 within the monument at the Quezon Memorial Circle
Quezon Memorial Circle
The Quezon Memorial Circle is a national park and shrine located in Quezon City, former capital of the Philippines . The park is an ellipse bounded by the Elliptical Road. Its main feature is a mausoleum containing the remains of Manuel L...

.

Osmeña Administration (1944-1946)

Osmeña became president of the Commonwealth on Quezon's death in 1944. He returned to the Philippines the same year with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces. After the war, Osmeña restored the Commonwealth government and the various executive departments. He continued the fight for Philippine independence.

For the presidential election of 1946, Osmeña refused to campaign, saying that the Filipino people knew of his record of 40 years of honest and faithful service. Nevertheless, he was defeated by Manuel Roxas
Manuel Roxas
Manuel Acuña Roxas was the first president of the independent Third Republic of the Philippines and fifth president overall. He served as president from the granting of independence in 1946 until his abrupt death in 1948...

, who won 54% of the vote and became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines.

Roxas Administration (May 28, 1946-July 4, 1946)

Roxas served as the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in a brief period, from his subsequent election on May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946, the scheduled date of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. Roxas prepared the groundwork for the advent of a free and independent Philippines, assisted by the Congress (reorganized May 25, 1946), with Senator Jose Avelino
José Avelino
José Dira Avelino . The first President of the Senate of the First Republic of the Philippines under the presidency of Manuel Roxas. He was President Pro-tempore to President Manuel Quezon prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth.Avelino was born in a town called Calbayog in Samar to...

 as the Senate President and Congressman Eugenio Perez
Eugenio Perez
Eugenio Pérez was a Filipino politician who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 1946 to 1953. He was a member of the Liberal Party, whose president he served as during his term as Speaker.-Early life:Pérez was born in San Carlos, Pangasinan...

 as the House of Representatives Speaker. On June 3, 1946, Roxas appeared for the first time before the joint session
Joint session
A joint session or joint convention is, most broadly, when two normally-separate decision-making groups meet together, often in a special session or other extraordinary meeting, for a specific purpose....

 of the Congress to deliver his first state of the nation address. Among other things, he told the members of the Congress the grave problems and difficulties the Philippines are set to face and reports of his special trip to the U.S. — the approval for independence.

On June 21, he reappeared into another joint session of the Congress and urged the acceptance of two important laws passed by the U.S Congress on April 30, 1946 to the Philippine lands. They are the Philippine Rehabilitation Act
Tydings-McDuffie Act
The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

 and the Philippine Trade Act
Bell Trade Act
The Bell Trade Act of 1946, also known as the Philippine Trade Act was an act passed by the United States Congress specifying the economic conditions governing the independence of the Philippines from the United States....

. Both recommendations were accepted by the Congress.

See also

  • Political history of the Philippines
    Political history of the Philippines
    The political history of the Philippines are chronicles which describes the history of the islands, starting from the beginning of civilization and up to the present day period.*Politics of the Philippines**Prehistoric Philippines...

  • History of the Philippines
    History of the Philippines
    The history of the Philippines is believed to have begun with the arrival of the first humans via land bridges at least 30,000 years ago. The first recorded visit from the West is the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, who sighted Samar on March 16, 1521 and landed on Homonhon Island southeast of Samar...

  • Philippine Organic Act (1902)
    Philippine Organic Act (1902)
    The Philippine Organic Act, popularly known as the Philippine Bill of 1902 and sometimes known as the Cooper Act after its author Henry A. Cooper, was the first organic law for the Philippines enacted by the United States Congress during the American Colonial Period in the Philippines...

  • Jones Law (Philippines)
    Jones Law (Philippines)
    The Jones Law or the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, also known as the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916, replaced the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 that earlier served as a constitution for the Philippine Islands. The Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898 and a civil...

     Philippines Organic Act (1916)
  • Treaty of Paris (1898)
    Treaty of Paris (1898)
    The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed on December 10, 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the ratifications were exchanged....

  • Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935
    Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935
    The Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 established a repatriation program for Filipinos living in the United States where they were provided free passage back to the Philippines....

  • Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act

External links

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