Official Month in Review: December 1951

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ON the first day of December, the President received a large group of senators, representatives, provincial governors, and municipal mayors who called at Malacañan to consult him on problems concerning their respective jurisdiction. In the afternoon, the President gave a tea party in honor of the delegates to the Far Eastern Council of Christian Churches who had been holding their convention in Manila since November 24.

The President expressed great satisfaction upon learning that one of the 12 countries represented in the convention was Japan. In a spirit of Christian charity, he said that following the example of the Lord, we cannot afford to nurture the feeling of hatred toward our neighbor, the former enemy country, Japan. He appealed to all religious sects to pool together their energies in checking the encroachment of communism in order to make our country safe for liberty and democracy.

THE President gave a luncheon in honor of Vice-President Alben Barkley of the United States and Mrs. Barkley at Malacañan Palace on December 3. About 54 high officials of the Philippine Government, some members of the diplomatic corps, and top brass of the U. S. Army and Navy and the Philippines Armed Forces were present.

Delivering one of the most impressive extemporaneous speeches ever heard at the banquet hall of Malacañan, the American vice president credited President Quirino with having justified freedom in the Philippines by “guaranteeing to the people and providing for them a fair and just election without regard to yourself.” Vice-President Barkley, President Quirino said, is entitled to the gratitude of the Filipino people for all “that you have said because in effect you have come to animate our spirit, awaken us, encourage us, to continue the work which we have undertaken, which we hope will always be encouraged and backed up by the United States.” (See HISTORICAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, pp. 6087-6094, for full texts of the speeches.)

ON the same day, the President issued Executive Order No. 485, organizing a portion of the municipality of Nabua in Camarines Norte into an independent municipality under the name of Balatan.

THE Cabinet at its meeting on December 4 decided that the Philippine Government reiterate its repeated request for the repeal of the excise tax on coconut oil and make its strong representations in the forthcoming hearings of the United States Senate against the approval of the bill that was recently passed by the House converting the excise tax into customs duty. The Philippine stand on the excise tax will be transmitted to the U. S. Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Washington.

During the cabinet meeting, the President took steps to make funds available for the rehabilitation of the Philippine General Hospital in the amount of ₱600,000. He directed Acting Assistant Executive Secretary Marciano Roque and Budget Commissioner Pio Joven to raise the money from the surplus of the Sweepstakes office and from the income of the Government from the Jai-Alai.

The President, upon receipt of a telegram on December 4 informing him of the Hibok-Hibok disaster, immediately instructed Secretary Roque to direct the PNRC the Social Welfare Administration, the Department of Health, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and all other relief organizations to give the needed relief to the striken area. The President further instructed Secretary Roque to get confirmation of the casualties reported and to follow through the progress of relief work.

ON December 6, the President issued Executive Order No. 170, creating a committee to coordinate and facilitate preparations of all requests from the Philippines for priority assistance on orders for commodities in short supply in the United States. The committee is composed of a representative of the Central Bank as chairman and a representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and a representative of the Philippine Council for U. S. Aid (PHILCUSA) as members. The committee is expected to minimize the difficulties and inconvenience involved in the securing of priorities for equipment, materials, and commodities now in short supply in the United States.

THE President authorized on December 7 the release of ₱10,000 to be placed at the disposal of relief workers in the field for local purchase of relief supplies and materials for the hard-pressed victims of the Hibok-Hibok disaster on Camiguin Island. The President immediately ordered the release of the amount upon receipt of a telegram from relief officials who reported on the mounting toll of lives and property as a result of further volcanic explosions on the island. He mobilized his cabinet at its meeting in the evening of that day to extend all-out aid to the victims of the eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok. The President on the same night fired Assistant City Fiscal Cornelio Ruperto of Manila who was found guilty of the charge of alleged favoritism, partiality, and distortion of facts before the Manila Court of First Instance and the Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of the Integrity Board that investigated him.

AT a merienda party given by the President at Malacañan in the evening of December 7 in honor of the delegates to the first Far Eastern Dental Conference, he appealed to the dentists to promote the dental health of the children, especially those of poor families so that they will grow up into healthy and vigorous citizens of the Republic. The President made a comparison between the human body and the body politic, and pointed out that metaphorically he is a “dental surgeon in the government” who pulls out government personnel infected with corruption and maladministration as a result of “political pyorrhea.”

ON December 8, the President signed Administrative Order No. 172, creating a National Rizal Day Committee to organize and make all arrangements necessary for the fitting celebration of the 55th anniversary of the martyrdom of the greatest Filipino hero and patriot. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo heads the committee which is composed of Labor Secretary Jose Figueras, Education Undersecretary Cecilio Putong, U. P. President Vidal A. Tan, Mayor Manuel de la Fuente, Antonio de las Alas, Juan Nakpil, Prudencio Langcauon, Mrs. Maria Katigbak, Dr. Herminio Velarde, as members, and Vicente Lontoc as executive secretary of the committee. The President also signed Administrative Order No. 173, authorizing the Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc. to become a surety upon official recognizances, stipulations, bonds and undertakings as provided by law.

SPEAKING to about 500 top officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from all parts of the country who called on the Chief Executive at Malacañan on December 8 to pledge their loyalty to their Commander-in-Chief, the President categorically declared: “There is no division in our ranks, contrary to reports that tend to divide us when we are so concentrated in our task of clearing our countrysides of the enemies of our freedom and democratic institution.” He told the top officers, “We have a unified Army, strong, aggressive, and just, in whom the people have their trust;” and that the Army will remain unified. The President, however, warned that he will not allow them to utilize their commands to achieve ulterior ends such as for political campaigning. (See HISTORICAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, pp. 6095-6099, for full text of the speech.)

IN a message received in Manila on December 10. President Harry S. Truman told President Quirino that “the American people have been immeasurably heartened in patching the Filipino people practice the way of democracy.” The U. S. President congratulated President Quirino for his determination and success growth of democracy in keeping the last elections clean and honest. “This in the Philippines is additional indication of the great and honorable traditions of Philippine-American friendships,” Mr. Truman’s cablegram concluded.

THE President on December 10 ordered the yatch Apo to proceed to Camiguin Island with food, clothing, medicines, and other relief supplies and materials for the eruption sufferers on the stricken island. The vessel was scheduled to leave Manila at 8 a. m. the next day with Social Welfare Administrator Asuncion A. Perez and relief workers on board. The President at the same time wired Health Secretary Juan Salcedo, Jr., who was then in Camiguin, to proceed to Cebu on the first opportunity to direct relief work for victims of typhoon Amy.

ON December 11, the President appointed 22 members of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines to serve as liaison between the Philippine government and the UNESCO and to associate principal bodies in the Philippines interested in educational, scientific, and cultural matters with the work of that UN organization.

The President also reappointed Generoso Velasquez as member of the board of pharmaceutical examiners for a term of three years, signed the ad interim appointment of Deogracias Pinili as first mayor of Dumaguete City under a new charter, and appointed Mrs. Eustaquia Dionaldo as vice mayor of the same city vice Antonio Oria, deceased.

ADDRESSING the opening plenary session of the Educators’ Congress held at Malacañan Park on December 12, the President declared: “It is more than a happy coincidence that this Educators’ Congress, as part of the Golden Jubilee of the Philippine Educational System, follow closely on the heels of the 1951 election now widely recognized as a signal victory for democracy in our country. In the success of that election we had a good demonstration of the meaning of our school system in the preservation of our democracy . . . The response of our new citizenry in peacefully and freely registering their will at the polls was as much a contribution of public education under a democracy. And the role played by the teachers in maintaining the freedom and purity of the ballot showed the manifest influence of our schools in our democratic way of life.” (See HISTORICAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, pp. 6100-6104, for full text of the speech.)

UPON the recommendation of the Integrity Board, the President on December 12 issued Administrative Order No. 175, dismissing the charges against Director Pablo Lucas of the Bureau of Printing, because the Board considered them flimsy. Director Lucas’ answer which was supported by documentary evidence convinced the Board that there was no need to hold hearing on the case. In dismissing the charges, the President said that he agreed with the findings of the Integrity Board that the charges lacked merit. (See p. 6066, for full text of the administrative order.)

The President also signed on the same day, Administrative Order No. 174, authorizing the United Insurance Company, Inc., to become a surety upon official cognizances, stipulations, bonds, and undertakings as prescribed by law. The President also issued an executive order creating an investigating committee on veterans’ pension in each municipality and chartered city and enjoining all officers and employees of the Government to render the necessary assistance to applicants. Each committee shall be composed of three competent revolutionary veterans in the locality who shall be appointed by the chairman of the Board on Pensions for Veterans.

In the evening of the same day, the President proclaimed the existence of a public calamity on Camiguin Island and in the provinces affected by typhoon Army. In this proclamation, the President declared in full force and effect the provisions, of Act No. 4164 which prohibits and penalizes the hoarding of palay, rice, corn, building or construction materials, and other prime necessities of life and other foodstuffs. Sale of those prime commodities at excessive prices will also be subject to heavy penalties.

ON December 13, immediately following receipt of a telegram from the Mayor of Cebu City soliciting assistance from the National Government, the President ordered the immediate release of about ₱10,000 worth of much needed building materials for the construction of temporary makeshift homes to house thousands rendered homeless in Cebu City by typhoon Amy. On the same day, the President issued Proclamation No. 295 reserving for the use of the United States Army five parcels of public lands situated in barrios Dau and San Joaquin, municipality of Mabalacat, Pampanga.

THE President spent almost two hours on December 14 at the side of Speaker Eugenio Perez, who was under treatment for kidney trouble at the Philippine General Hospital.

Earlier that morning the President honored Dr. John W. Taylor, visiting director general of the UNESCO, with a breakfast at Malacañan Palace.

On the same day, the President signed Proclamations Nos. 297 and 298, reserving certain parcels of land in Davao for radio station site and townsite purposes respectively upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

IN his determination to rid the Government of corrupt and inept officials, the President ordered on December 15 the immediate removal from office of Marcial L. Aguirre, assistant provincial fiscal of Occidental Negros, upon the recommendation of a special investigating committee appointed by the Solicitor General. Aguirre was found guilty of coercion, grave threats, and other charges. (See Administrative Order No. 176 which contains the order of Aguirre’s removal, p. 6067.)

THE Council of State, on the same day, adopted measures to rush relief supplies for the sufferers of the eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the typhoons Wanda and Amy which laid waste the entire provinces of the Visayas. The Council took step to make available approximately ₱1,000,000 which was needed according to estimates made by the Social Welfare Administration and the Red Cross to meet the needs of the disaster victims.

THE President in his 38th monthly radio chat delivered on December 15, appealed to the public, here and abroad, for voluntary contributions and donations to raise the balance of the estimated amount needed for relief of the victims of the disasters that visited the country. “Your contributions,” said the President in appealing for contributions, “will be the best possible investment you can have in a season of peace and goodwill. You will strengthen by that much the bond of human sympathy which joins you to your neighbors and community without which we can not exist and endure as a free and united people.” (See HISTORICAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, pp. 6104-6106, for full text of the radio chat.)

TOURING the ceremonies held in the evening of December 16 at the Malacañan social hall which climaxed the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Philippine Educational System, the President received a gold medal and a diploma of merit “for rising from barrio teacher to second President of the Republic of the Philippines and for continuing an abiding interest in education.” Speaking before leading educators gathered to witness the distribution of awards to 19 educational institutions and 165 individuals who had contributed most to the country’s educational progress, the President warned that “our country is in danger of being destroyed from its base because the democratic ideas which we have learned from the very beginning are being threatened to the great danger of our national life.”

THE President enplaned to the southern provinces early in the morning of December 17 to visit Hibok-Hibok victims on Camiguin Island and the typhoon sufferers in the Visayas and Mindanao. The President’s plane Laong Laan circled for some time over Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the de­vastated area and then landed at 11:45 a.m. at the Patag airstrip in Cagayan de Oro City. After receiving a warm welcome at Cagayan de Oro, the President proceeded to the Presidential yacht Apo which took him to Camiguin Island where he surveyed the extent of the eruption devastation and the relief operations.

FROM Camiguin, the President proceeded in the evening of the same day to Iligan, Lanao, to visit the Maria Cristina Falls power and fertilizer projects. He arrived in Iligan in the morning of December 18. From Iligan, he proceeded to Ozamis City where he took off on board the Laong Laan in the morning of December 19 to make flying visits to Koronadal and Allah Valley settlement projects in Cotabato, thence to Davao City, thence to Del Monte, Bukidnon.

The President stopped at several settlers’ homes to find out whether the Government could be of further assistance to the settlers. In Davao City, he conferred with provincial and municipal officials, warning them against sectional strife which might hamper the development of Mindanao. From Davao, the presidential party proceeded to Del Monte, where they lunched and spent the night. The presidential party returned to Manila on December 20 after a brief visit to the LASEDECO project in Maramag.

IN his extemporaneous speech at Camp Murphy on December 21 on the occasion of the commemoration of the AFP’s 15th anniversary, the President enjoined some 5,000 troops representing all services to stand firm in the defense of the humble and the weak and be a terror to the scheming strong who would seek to destroy their organization. The President delivered his speech following the parade and review given in his honor.

Also on the same day, the President signed Proclamation No. 299 withdrawing from sale or settlement and reserving for forest station site purposes a parcel of public domain in Davao City, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The President, moreover, ordered the immediate suspension of three municipal mayors, two chiefs of police, and policeman charged with alleged torture and subsequent murder of Moises Padilla, defeated candidate for Mayor during the last elections in Negros Occidental.

The President’s order came following receipt of a copy of the information filed with the Court of First Instance of Bacolod on December 13, naming these three municipal officials including suspended Governor Rafael Lacson and 23 other men for Padilla’s alleged torture and murder. Among those suspended by the President were Mayors Jose Gayona, Jr. of Magallon, Claudio Montilla of Isabela, and Manuel Ramos,of Castellana; Police chiefs Ceferino D. Laos of Magallon, and Bias M. Moleno of Villadolid; and some policemen and special policemen.

THE immediate release of ₱150,000 from the sweepstakes funds for aid to the sufferers of the eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the two recent typhoons that devastated the Visayan islands was ordered by President Quirino following his visit to Camiguin. The amount was handed to Social Welfare Administrator Asuncion A. Perez on December 22 by Acting Assistant Executive Secretary Marciano Roque.

ON December 24, the President granted the traditional Christmas pardon to 27 prisoners on the recommendation by the Board of Pardons and Parole. At 10:30 in the morning of that day, the President enplaned for Baguio, accompanied by Lt., and Mrs. Tomas Quirino and their son Butch, Press Secretary Antonio L. Arizabal, and the senior presidential aide and the assistant physician of the President. At 5 p.m. in the evening, the President inaugurated the Pines Hotel, with Mrs. Tomas Quirino, his daughter-in-law, cutting the ribbon to the hotel’s main entrance.

THE President on December 27 reiterated his appeal for general support and cooperation in the government program of economic development aimed at raising the people’s living standard. In the course of his conference with Nacionalista Representative Isaias R. Salonga of Rizal, who called on him at the Guest House shortly before noon that day, the President appealed to politicians, Nacionalistas as well as Liberals, to forget the 1953 elections, for the time being and work together for the good of the country.

SCHEDULED to inaugurate the STANVAC building on December 28, the President returned to Manila just in time that morning to attend the inauguration. The President delivered an extemporaneous speech during the inauguration, saying that we approved the Parity Law “because we wanted the Americans to come” and help us develop this country not only for our own benefit but also for the benefit of the United States. (Sec full text of the speech on pp. 6012-6016.)

In the evening, the President presided over the regular meeting of the Cabinet, and approved the arrangement for the extension for 10 years of the payment of the $60 million loaned by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the United States to the Philippine government. The loan was contracted in 1947 by the Philippine government by authority of Congress in 1946, and payment was due on December 31, 1951. By authority of the President, the Central Bank negotiated with the United States RFC for the extension of the period to pay the loans.

THE Cabinet approved to extend invitation to the ECAFE to transfer its regional office now located in Bangkok, Siam, to Manila. Recently, Dr. P. S. Lokanathah, executive secretary of the ECAFE, was in Manila purposedly to see what facilities the Philippine government can offer to house the ECAFE headquarters here. The Cabinet also approved the sending of a delegation to the eighth session of the ECAFE to be held in Rangoon, Burma, from January 11 to February 9, 1952.

THE President held a conference in Malacañan on December 29 with the presidents of the Philippine Sugar Association and the National Federation of Sugar Planters, the members of the Export Control Committee, Chairman Jose Yulo of the PHILCUSA, and Sugar Quota Administrator Vicente G. Bunuan to discuss the overall policies regarding the export of sugar, particularly in connection with the exportation of sugar by many applicants who desire to enjoy the same permission granted to the ECA and to Messrs. Filadelfo Rojas, Cantos, and Quiambao. It was unanimously agreed by those present that persons or firms who desire to export sugar to countries outside the United States may do so provided the sugar to be exported comes from “C” sugar under Act 4166, which is sugar earmarked to cover shortages in export and domestic allotment or for sale to other countries outside the United States.

IN the afternoon of that day, the President visited Speaker Eugenio Perez at the latter’s home to cheer him on his expected operation at Johns Hopkins and to wish him and Mrs. Perez von voyage. After one hour and 45 minutes with the Speaker, the President invited the Speaker and Mrs. Perez to ride with him to the airport. The President stayed at the airport among the hundreds of well-wishers until the Speaker’s plane took off. President Quirino went up the plane to have a final intimate huddle with the Speaker.

THE President Sunday morning, December 30, unveiled the marker for the restoration of Rizal’s cell in historic Fort Santiago, and shortly afterward delivered the only Rizal Day address, after being introduced by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo, chairman of the committee on Rizal Day commemoration. According to the President, speaking of our national hero, “The validity of Rizal to us is not based on the fact that he was a poet, a novelist, scholar,scientist, and the various other manifestations of his versatile intellect and genius. It is based on the fact that he provided us a dynamic, living faith as a nation and incarnated that faith in his thoughts, his life, and his death, better than anyone else did.” (See HISTORICAL: PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, pp. 6116-6120, for full text of the speech.)

ON New Year’s eve, December 31, the President granted the traditional executive clemency to 24 prisoners. He gave conditional pardon to the 24 prisoners upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole. The President also received in his study Manila Mayor-elect Arsenio H. Lacson with whom he conferred for about 15 minutes. Mayor Lacson was told by the President that he would induct the city mayor, the vice mayor, and the councilors, the next day, January 1, at a p.m., at the Palace. Malacañan announced on the same day that the President had designated Colonel Dionisio Ojeda, commanding officer of the 10th Battalion Combat Team, as acting Chief of Police of Manila, effective January 1.

Source: University of the Philippines, College of Law Library

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1951). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 47(12), ci-cvii.