Ramon Magsaysay
Overview
 
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay (August 31, 1907 – March 17, 1957) was the third President of the Republic 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...

 (and seventh president overall) from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957
1957 Cebu Douglas C-47 crash
The 1957 crash of a Douglas C-47 plane named "Mt. Pinatubo" on the slopes of Mount Manunggal, Cebu, Philippines, killed the 7th President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay, and 24 other passengers. The crash is estimated to have occurred at 1:40:00 AM, March 17, 1957, Philippine Standard Time...

. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.
Ramon F. Magsaysay was born in Iba, Zambales
Iba, Zambales
Iba is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Zambales, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of Zambales. According to the latest census, it has a population of 44,344 people in 7,260 households....

 on August 31, 1907 to Exequiel Magsaysay, a blacksmith, and Perfecta del Fierro, a schoolteacher.
Encyclopedia
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay (August 31, 1907 – March 17, 1957) was the third President of the Republic 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...

 (and seventh president overall) from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957
1957 Cebu Douglas C-47 crash
The 1957 crash of a Douglas C-47 plane named "Mt. Pinatubo" on the slopes of Mount Manunggal, Cebu, Philippines, killed the 7th President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay, and 24 other passengers. The crash is estimated to have occurred at 1:40:00 AM, March 17, 1957, Philippine Standard Time...

. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.

Early life

Ramon F. Magsaysay was born in Iba, Zambales
Iba, Zambales
Iba is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Zambales, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of Zambales. According to the latest census, it has a population of 44,344 people in 7,260 households....

 on August 31, 1907 to Exequiel Magsaysay, a blacksmith, and Perfecta del Fierro, a schoolteacher. He entered the University of the Philippines
University of the Philippines
The ' is the national university of the Philippines. Founded in 1908 through Act No...

 in 1927. He worked as a chauffeur to support himself as he studied engineering; later, he transferred to the Institute of Commerce at José Rizal College
José Rizal University
José Rizal University is a non-sectarian, non-stock private educational institution. It is located at Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. It was founded in 1919 by Vicente Fabella, who was the first Philippine Certified Accountant.José Rizal University joined the National Collegiate...

 (1928–1932), where he received a baccalaureate in commerce. He then worked as an automobile mechanic and shop superintendent. When World War II broke out, he joined the motor pool of the 31st Infantry Division 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...

.
When Bataan
Bataan
Bataan is a province of the Philippines occupying the whole of the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon. The province is part of the Central Luzon region. The capital of Bataan is Balanga City and it is bordered by the provinces of Zambales and Pampanga to the north...

 surrendered in 1942, Magsaysay escaped to the hills, organized the Western Luzon Guerrilla Forces, and was commissioned captain on April 5, 1942. For three years Capt. Magsaysay operated under Col. Merrill's famed guerrilla outfit and saw action at Sawang, San Marcelino, Zambales
San Marcelino, Zambales
San Marcelino is a 1st class municipality in the province of Zambales, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 29,052 people in 5,866 households.-Etymology:...

. Magsaysay was among those instrumental in clearing the Zambales coast of the Japanese prior to the landing of American forces together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops on January 29, 1945.

House of Representatives

On April 23, 1946, Magsaysay was elected under the Liberal Party to the Philippine House of Representatives. In 1948, President 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...

 chose Magsaysay to go to Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 as Chairman of the Committee on Guerrilla Affairs, to help to secure passage of the Rogers Bill, giving benefits to Philippine veterans. In the so-called "dirty election" of 1949
Philippine general election, 1949
Elections for the members of the Senate were held on November 8, 1949 in the Philippines. While President Elpidio Quirino won a full term as President of the Philippines after the death of President Manuel Roxas in 1948, and his running mate, Senator Fernando Lopez won as Vice President, their...

, he was re-elected to a second term in the House of Representatives. During both terms he was Chairman of the House National Defense Committee.

Secretary of National Defense

In early August 1950 he offered President 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...

 a plan to fight the Communist guerillas, using his own experiences in guerrilla warfare during World War II. After some hesitation, Quirino realized that there was no alternative and appointed Magsaysay Secretary of National Defence on August 31, 1950. He intensified the campaign against 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...

 guerillas. This success was due in part to the unconventional methods he employed and developed alongside an American adviser, General Edward Lansdale
Edward Lansdale
Edward Geary Lansdale was a United States Air Force officer who served in the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency. He rose to the rank of Major General and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1963. He was an early proponent of more aggressive US actions in...

. The counterinsurgency the two deployed utilized soldiers distributing relief goods and other forms of aid to outlying, provincial communities. Where before Magsaysay, the rural folk looked on the Philippine Army if not in distrust, at least with general apathy, during his term as Defense Secretary Filipinos began to respect and admire their soldiers.

In June 1952 Magsaysay made a goodwill tour to the United States and Mexico. He visited New York, Washington, D.C. (with a medical check-up at Walter Reed Hospital) and Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 where he spoke at the Annual Convention of Lions International.

By 1953 President Quirino thought the threat of the Huks was under control and Secretary Magsaysay was becoming too weak. Magsaysay met with interference and obstruction from the President and his advisers, in fear they might be unseated at the next presidential election. Although Magsaysay had at that time no intention to run, he was urged from many sides and finally was convinced that the only way to continue his fight against communism, and for a government for the people, was to be elected President, ousting the corrupt administration that, in his opinion, had caused the rise of the communist guerrillas by bad administration. He resigned his post as defense secretary on February 28, 1953, and became the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party, disputing the nomination with senator Camilo Osías
Camilo Osías
Camilo Osías was a Filipino politician, twice for a short time President of the Senate of the Philippines....

 at the Nacionalista national convention.

1951 Negros Occidental incident

In 1949
Philippine general election, 1949
Elections for the members of the Senate were held on November 8, 1949 in the Philippines. While President Elpidio Quirino won a full term as President of the Philippines after the death of President Manuel Roxas in 1948, and his running mate, Senator Fernando Lopez won as Vice President, their...

, the governor of Negros Occidental
Negros Occidental
Negros Occidental is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Bacolod City and it occupies the northwestern half of Negros Island; Negros Oriental is at the southeastern half...

 Rafael Lacson assumed the gubernatorial chair and he ran the war-torn province as a police state. He tied up with the wealthy sugar plantation owners in the province, assembled private local armies and held the constabulary in an iron fist. The next year, many local journalists foretold the defeat of Lacson in the office if he would not loosen up his policies in the province.

In 1951 local elections
Philippine general election, 1951
A senatorial election was held in the Philippines on November 13, 1951. The election was known as a midterm election as the date when elected candidates take office falls half-way through President Elpidio Quirino's four-year term....

, a man named Moises Padilla, a former guerrilla fighter against the Japanese during Second World War, declared his bid for candidacy to become the mayor of town of Magallon
Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental
Moises Padilla is a 4th class municipality in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 34,658 people in 6,376 households....

 (now Moises Padilla). Padilla's opponent was an ally of Lacson. Because of this political alliance, Lacson sent a word to Padilla to renounce his candidacy or else he would die. Even though he was warned, Padilla continued his campaign but he sought military protection from defense secretary Ramón Magsaysay.

After the elections, Padilla lost the mayoralty race. The night after that, Lacson's uniformed men picked Padilla up and he was sent on a "town show" where he was beaten and tortured along the road. After the torturing, one of Lacson's men announced in the town plaza that this is "what happens to people who oppose us." When the news reached Magsaysay that Padilla was being tortured, he went to Negros Occidental. To his surprise, Magsaysay was informed that Padilla had already been killed by Lacson's men before the secretary even went to the province. Padilla's body was swimming in blood, pierced by fourteen bullets, and was positioned on a police bench in the town plaza.

The event afterward made Magsaysay's political career brighten up. Magsaysay himself carried the body of Padilla with his bare hands and delivered it to the morgue
Morgue
A morgue or mortuary is used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification, or removal for autopsy or disposal by burial, cremation or otherwise...

. News clips showed Magsaysay's pictures holding Padilla's body the next day. Magsaysay even used this event during his presidential campaign in 1953
Philippine general election, 1953
Elections for the members of the Senate were held on November 10, 1953 in the Philippines. Incumbent President Elpidio Quirino of the Liberal Party lost his opportunity to get a second full term as President of the Philippines to former Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay of the Nacionalista Party....

.

The trial against Lacson started in January 1952. Magsaysay and his men presented their evidence enough to convict Lacson and his 26 men for murder. On August 1954, the guilty verdict was given by Judge Eduardo Enriquez. The sentence was to put Lacson, his 22 men and three other mayors of Negros Occidental municipalities in an electric chair.

Presidential Election of 1953

Presidential elections were held on November 10, 1953 in 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...

. Incumbent President 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...

 lost his opportunity to get a second full term as 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...

 to former Defense Secretary Ramón Magsaysay
Ramon Magsaysay
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay was the third President of the Republic of the Philippines from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.-Early life:Ramon F...

. His running mate, 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...

 José Yulo
Jose Yulo
José Yulo was the Chief Justice of the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation and was Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1939 until the World War II started in 1941.-Career:...

 lost to 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...

 Carlos P. García
Carlos P. Garcia
Carlos Polistico García was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist and guerrilla leader...

. Vice President
Vice President of the Philippines
-Description:The Vice-President is the first in the Philippine line of succession, assuming the Presidency upon the death, resignation, or removal by impeachment and subsequent conviction of the incumbent. The position was abolished by Martial Law in 1972, and was not included in the original text...

 Fernando López
Fernando Lopez
Fernando López,Sr. was a Filipino statesman. A member of the influential López Family of Iloilo, Fernando López served as Vice President for three terms, under President Elpidio Quirino for the Liberals and Ferdinand Marcos for the Nacionalistas.-Early life and career:López was born on April 13,...

 did not run for re-election. This was the first time that an elected president did not come from the Senate
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...

. Moreover he started the jingles during election, for one of his inclinations and hobbies was dancing.

The United States government, including the CIA, had a strong influence on the 1953 elections, and candidates in the election fiercely competed with each other for U.S. support.

Presidency

In the Election of 1953
Philippine general election, 1953
Elections for the members of the Senate were held on November 10, 1953 in the Philippines. Incumbent President Elpidio Quirino of the Liberal Party lost his opportunity to get a second full term as President of the Philippines to former Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay of the Nacionalista Party....

, Magsaysay was decisively elected president over the incumbent 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...

. He was sworn into office wearing the Barong Tagalog
Barong Tagalog
The barong Tagalog is an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. It is very lightweight and worn untucked , over an undershirt. In Filipino culture it is a common wedding and formal attire, mostly for men but also for women...

, a first by a Philippine president. He was then called "Mambo Magsaysay".

As president, he was a close friend and supporter of the United States and a vocal spokesman against communism during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. He led the foundation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954 in Manila, Philippines. The formal institution of SEATO was established on 19 February...

 also known as the Manila Pact of 1954, that aimed to defeat communist-Marxist movements in South East Asia, South Asia and the Southwestern Pacific.
During his term, he made Malacañáng Palace
Malacañang Palace
The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every...

 literally a "house of the people", opening its gates to the public. One example of his integrity followed a demonstration flight aboard a new plane belonging to the Philippine Air Force
Philippine Air Force
The Philippine Air Force is the air force of the Republic of the Philippines, and one of the three main services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Its official name in Filipino is Hukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas....

 (PAF). President Magsaysay asked what the operating costs per hour were for that type of aircraft, then wrote a personal check to the PAF, covering the cost of his flight.

His administration was considered one of the cleanest and most corruption-free; his presidency was cited as the Philippines' Golden Years. Trade and industry flourished, the Philippine military was at its prime, and the Filipino people were given international recognition in sports, culture and foreign affairs. The Philippines ranked second in Asia's clean and well-governed countries.

President's Action Body

Ushering, indeed, a new era in Philippine government, President Magsaysay placed emphasis upon service to the people by bringing the government closer to the former. This was symbollically seen when, on inauguration day, President Magsaysay ordered the gates of Malacañang Palace
Malacañang Palace
The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every...

 open to all and sundry, who were allowed to freely visit all the dependencies of the presidential mansion. Later, this was regulated to allow weekly visit.

True to his electoral promise, President Magsaysay created the Presidential Complaints and Action Committee. This body immediately proceeded to hear grievances and recommend remedial action. Headed by soft-spoken, but active and tireless, Manuel Manahan, this committee would come to hear nearly sixty thousand complaints in a year, of which more than thirty thousand would be settled by direct action and a little more than twenty five thousand, referred to government agencies for appropriate follow-up. This new entity, composed of youthful personnel, all loyal to the President, proved to be a highly successful morale booster restoring the people's confidence in their own government.

Agrarian Reform

To amplify and stabilize the functions of the Economic Development Corps (EDCOR), President Magsaysay worked for the establishment of the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA). This body took over from the EDCOR and helped in the giving some sixty five thousand acres to three thousand indigent families for settlement purposes. Again, it allocated some other twenty five thousand to a little more than one thousand five hundred landless families, who subsequently became farmers.

As further aid to the rural people, the President Established the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Administration (ACCFA). The idea was for this entity to make available rural credits. Records show that it did grant, in this wise, almost ten million dollars. This administration body next devoted its attention to cooperative marketing.

Along this line of help to the rural areas, President Magsaysay initiated in all earnestness the artesian wells campaign. A group-movement known as the Liberty Wells Association was formed and in record time managed to raise a considerable sum for the construction of as many artesian wells as possible. The socio-economic value of the same could not be gainsaid and the people were profuse in their gratitude.

Finally, vast irrigation projects, as well as enhancement of the Ambuklao Power plant and other similar ones, went along way towards bringing to reality the rural improvement program advocated by President Magsaysay.

President Ramón Magsaysay enacted the following laws as part of his Agrarian Reform Program:
  • Republic Act No. 1160 of 1954—Abolished the LASEDECO and established the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) to resettle dissidents and landless farmers. It was particularly aimed at rebel returnees providing home lots and farmlands in Palawan and Mindanao.

  • Republic Act No. 1199 (Agricultural Tenancy Act of 1954) – governed the relationship between landowners and tenant farmers by organizing share-tenancy and leasehold system. The law provided the security of tenure of tenants. It also created the Court of Agrarian Relations.

  • Republic Act No. 1400 (Land Reform Act of 1955) – Created the Land Tenure Administration (LTA) which was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of large tenanted rice and corn lands over 200 hectares for individuals and 600 hectares for corporations.

  • Republic Act No. 821 (Creation of Agricultural Credit Cooperative Financing Administration) – Provided small farmers and share tenants loans with low interest rates of six to eight percent.

HUKBALAHAP

In early 1954, Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was a Filipino Senator and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the Marcos regime in the years leading to the imposition of martial law in the Philippines...

 was appointed by President Ramón Magsaysay to act as personal emissary to Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc was a Filipino political figure and communist insurgent. He was the leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group between 1942 and 1954. His involvement with the movement came after his initiation to the problems of agrarian Filipinos when he was a student in the early 1930s...

, leader of 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...

 rebel group. Also in 1954, Lt. Col. Laureño Maraña, the former head of Force X of the 16th PC Company, assumed command of the 7th BCT, which had become one of the most mobile striking forces of the Philippine ground forces against the Huks, from Colonel Valeriano. Force X employed psychological warfare through combat intelligence and infiltration that relied on secrecy in planning, training, and execution of attack. The lessons learned from Force X and Nenita were combined in the 7th BCT.

With the all out anti-dissidence campaigns against the Huks, they numbered less than 2,000 by 1954 and without the protection and support of local supporters, active Huk resistance no longer presented a serious threat to Philippine security. From February to mid-September 1954, the largest anti-Huk operation, "Operation Thunder-Lightning" was conducted that resulted to the surrender of Luis Taruc on May 17. Further clean up operations of guerillas remaining lasted throughout 1955, diminishing its number to less than 1,000 by year's end.

Foreign Policies

SEATO

The administration of President Magsaysay was active in the fight against the expansion of communism in the Asian region. He made the Philippines a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), which was established in Manila on Sept. 8, 1954 during the "Manila Conference". Members of SEATO were alarmed at the possible victory of North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 over South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, which could spread communist ideology to other countries in the region. The possibility that a communist state can influence or cause other countries to adopt the same system of government is called the domino theory
Domino theory
The domino theory was a reason for war during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect...

.

The active coordination of the Magsaysay administration with the Japanese government led to the Reparation Agreement. This was an agreement between the two countries, obligating the Japanese government to pay $800 million as reparation for war damages in the Philippines.

Defense Council

Taking the advantage of the presence of U.S. Secretary John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

 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,...

 to attend the SEATO Conference, the Philippine government took steps to broach with him the establishment of a Joint Defense Council. Vice-President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Garcia
Carlos P. Garcia
Carlos Polistico García was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist and guerrilla leader...

 held the opportune conversations with Secretary Dulles for this purpose. Agreement was reached thereon and the first meeting of the Joint United States-Philippines Defense Coincil was held in Manila following the end of the Manila Conference. Thus were the terms of the Mutual Defense Pact between 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...

 and the United States duly implemented.

Laurel-Langley Agreement

The Magsaysay administration negotiated the Laurel-Langley Agreement which was a trade agreement between 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...

 and the United States which was signed in 1955 and expired in 1974. Although it proved deficient, the final agreement satisfied nearly all of the diverse Filipino economic interests. While some have seen the Laurel-Langley agreement as a continuation of the 1946 trade act, Jose 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...

 and other Philippine leaders recognized that the agreement substantially gave the country greater freedom to industrialize while continuing to receive privileged access to US markets.

The agreement replaced the unpopular 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....

, which tied the economy of the Philippines to that of United States economy.

Bandung Conference

Billed as an all Oriental meet and threatening to become a propaganda springboard for Communism, a Conference was held in Bandung
Bandung
Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's third largest city, and 2nd largest metropolitan area in Indonesia, with a population of 7.4 million in 2007. Located 768 metres above sea level, approximately 140 km southeast of Jakarta, Bandung has cooler...

 (Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

) in April 1955, upon invitation extended by the Prime Ministers of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon, and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. Although, at first, the Magsaysay Government seemed reluctant to send any delegation, later, however, upon advise of Ambassador Carlos P. Romulo
Carlos P. Rómulo
Carlos Peña Rómulo was a Filipino diplomat, politician, soldier, journalist and author. He was a reporter at 16, a newspaper editor by the age of 20, and a publisher at 32...

, it was decided to have the Philippines participate in the conference. Ambassador Romulo was asked to head the Philippine delegation. At the very outset indications were to the effect that the conference would promote the cause of neutralism as a third position in the current cold war
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 between the democratic bloc and the communist group. John Kotelawala
John Kotelawala
General Sir John Lionel Kotelawala, KBE, CH, KStJ, CLI was a Sri Lankan soldier and politician, most notable for serving as the 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1953 to 1956....

, Prime Minister of Ceylon, however, broke the ice against neutralism. He was immediately joined by Philippine envoy Romulo, who categorically states that his delegation believed that "a puppet is a puppet", no matter whether under a Western Power or an Oriental state.

At one time in the course oft the conference, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 acidly spoke against the SEATO. Quick to draw, Ambassador Romulo delivered a stinging, eloquent retort that prompted Prime Minister Nehru to publicly apologize to the Philippine delegation.

Records had it that the Philippine delegation ably represented the interests of the Philippines and, in the ultimate analysis, succeeded in turning the Bandung Conference into a democratic victory against the plans of the Communist delegates.

Reparations Agreement

Following the reservations made by Ambassador Romulo, on the Philippines behalf, upon signing the Japanese Peace Treaty in San Francisco on September 8, 1951, for several years of series of negotiations were conducted by the Philippine government and that of Japan. In the face of adamant claims of the Japanese government that it found impossible to meet the demand for the payment of eight billion dollars by the way of reparations, president Magsaysay, during a so-called "cooling off" period, sent a Philippine Reparations Survey Committee, headed by Finance Secretary Jaime Hernandez, to Japan for an "on the spot" study of that country's possibilities.

When the Committee reported that Japan was in a position to pay, Ambassador Felino Neri, appointed chief negotiator, went to Tokyo. On May 31, 1955, Ambassador Neri reached a compromise agreement with Japanese Minister Takazaki, the main terms of which consisted in the following: The Japanese government would pay eight hundred million dollars as reparations. Payment was to be made in this wise: Twenty million dollars would be paid in cash in Philippine currency; thirty million dollars, in services; five million dollars, in capital goods; and two hundred and fifty million dollars, in long-term industrial loans.

On August 12, 1955, President Magsaysay informed the Japanese government, through Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama
Ichiro Hatoyama
was a Japanese politician and the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Prime Minister of Japan, serving terms from December 10, 1954 through March 19, 1955, from then to November 22, 1955, and from then through December 23, 1956.-Personal life:...

, that the Philippines accepted the Neri-Takazaki agreement. In view of political developments in Japan, the Japanese Prime Minister could only inform the Philippine government of the Japanese acceptance of said agreement on March 15, 1956. The official Reparations agreement between the two government was finally signed at Malacañang Palace
Malacañang Palace
The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every...

 on May 9, 1956, thus bringing to a rather satisfactory conclusion this long drawn controversy between the two countries.

Death

Magsaysay did not finish his term that was expected to end of December 30, 1957 because he died in a plane crash. On March 16, 1957 Magsaysay left Manila for Cebu City
Cebu City
The City of Cebu is the capital city of Cebu and is the second largest city in the Philippines, the second most significant metropolitan centre in the Philippines and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country.The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was...

 where he spoke at three educational institutions. That same night, at about 1 am, he boarded the presidential plane "Mt. Pinatubo", a C-47
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

, heading back to 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,...

. In the early morning hours of March 17, his plane was reported missing. It was late in the afternoon that day that newspapers reported that the airplane had crashed on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu and that 36 of the 56 passengers and crew aboard were killed; the actual number on board was 25, including Magsaysay. Only newspaperman Néstor Mata
Néstor Mata
Nestor Mata is a Filipino journalist whose writing career has spanned six decades. He is perhaps best known as the lone survivor of the 1957 plane crash that killed the President of the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others.-Biography:...

 survived. Vice President Carlos Garcia
Carlos P. Garcia
Carlos Polistico García was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist and guerrilla leader...

, who was on an official visit to Australia at the time, assumed the presidency to serve out the last eight months of Magsaysay's term.

An estimated 5 million people attended Magsaysay's burial on March 31, 1957.

He is then referred to by the people the "Idol of the Masses".

Popular references

  • The First Team
    The First Team (novel)
    The First Team is a 1971 thriller by John Ball. The book is set in a future history of a United States living under a brutal Soviet occupation, at a date which is not specified but seems to be the late 1970's, and can retroactively be considered a kind of alternate history.Ball is best known for...

    ,
    a 1971 thriller by author John Ball
    John Ball (American author)
    John Dudley Ball , writing as John Ball, was an American writer best known for mystery novels involving the African-American police detective Virgil Tibbs. He was introduced in the 1965 In the Heat of the Night where he solves a murder in a racist Southern small town...

    , hinges on the effort to recapture the USS Ramon Magsaysay, an American ballistic missile submarine
    Ballistic missile submarine
    A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

    . Freeing the submarine from control of the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     will force the Soviets to surrender their occupation of the United States.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein
    Robert A. Heinlein
    Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

    's novel Starship Troopers
    Starship Troopers
    Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...

    , the smallest starships are named after footsoldiers. Upon reading some of their names, protagonist Johnnie Rico remarks "There ought to be one named Magsaysay."
  • In Gundam Seed, an Agamemnon class carrier is named after Ramon Magsaysay; in episode 48: "The Magsaysay will take command of space divisions 48 and 211 from this point on", and this reference is further related to Starship Troopers' tribute: "The remaining vessels of the 15th carrier group are to gather at the signal coordinates of the Heinlein"

Family

He was married to Shyvi Luz Magsaysay, with three children: Teresita Banzon-Magsaysay (b. 1934), Milagros "Mila" Banzon-Magsaysay (b. 1936) and Ramon "Jun" Banzon-Magsaysay, Jr.
Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
Ramón Banzon Magsaysay, Jr. is a political figure and senator of the Philippines.-Early life and career:Magsaysay Jr. was born in Manila to former President Ramón Magsaysay and Luz Banzon. He was 15 when his father was elected president and was 18 when his father died in a plane crash in Cebu...

 (b. 1938).

Descendants

Several of Magsaysay's descendants became prominent political figures in their own right:
  • Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
    Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
    Ramón Banzon Magsaysay, Jr. is a political figure and senator of the Philippines.-Early life and career:Magsaysay Jr. was born in Manila to former President Ramón Magsaysay and Luz Banzon. He was 15 when his father was elected president and was 18 when his father died in a plane crash in Cebu...

    , son of former President and former Congressman/former Senator
  • Genaro Magsaysay, brother of former President and former Senator
  • Vicente Magsaysay
    Vicente Magsaysay
    Vicente Magsaysay is a Filipino who has been the Chairman of the Board of The Philippine Postal Bank since January 22, 2009. He was previously Governor of the province of Zambales. He was also a senatorial candidate running under the banner of TEAM Unity. He built the Jesus F...

    , uncle of former President and Congressman/former Governor of Zambales
    Zambales
    Zambales is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is Iba. Zambales borders Pangasinan to the north, Tarlac and Pampanga to the east, and Bataan to the south. The province lies between the South China Sea and the Zambales Mountains. With a land area of...

  • JB Magsaysay
    JB Magsaysay
    Joseph Benedict Aquino Magsaysay, also known as JB Magsaysay , is a Filipino actor, a public servant, a businessman and was one of the 13 housemates of ABS-CBN's Pinoy Big Brother, Season 1...

    , grandnephew of former President and public servant
  • Paco Magsaysay, grandson of former President and owner of Carmen's Best Ice Cream

See also

  • 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...

  • Ramon Magsaysay Award
    Ramon Magsaysay Award
    The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay's example of integrity in government, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is often considered Asia's Nobel...

  • Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
    Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
    Ramón Banzon Magsaysay, Jr. is a political figure and senator of the Philippines.-Early life and career:Magsaysay Jr. was born in Manila to former President Ramón Magsaysay and Luz Banzon. He was 15 when his father was elected president and was 18 when his father died in a plane crash in Cebu...


External links

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