This article is about the former president of the Philippines. For his grandson and former member of Congress, see Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo
As President, Macapagal worked to suppress graft and corruption and to stimulate the Philippine economy. He introduced the country's first land reform law, placed the peso on the free currency exchange market, and liberalized foreign exchange and import controls. Many of his reforms, however, were crippled by a Congress dominated by the rival Nacionalista Party
. He is also known for shifting the country's observance of Independence Day
from July 4 to June 12, commemorating the day President Emilio Aguinaldo
unilaterally declared the independence of the First Philippine Republic
from the Spanish Empire
in 1898. He stood for re-election in 1965
, and was defeated by Ferdinand Marcos
, who subsequently ruled for 21 years.
Under Marcos, Macapagal was elected president of the Constitutional Convention
which would later draft what became the 1973 Constitution
, though the manner in which the charter was ratified and modified led him to later question its legitimacy. He died of heart failure, pneumonia
, and renal
complications, in 1997, at the age of 86.
Macapagal was also a reputed poet in the Chinese and Spanish language, though his poetic oeuvre was eclipsed by his political biography.
Diosdado Macapagal was born on September 28, 1910, in Lubao, Pampanga
, the third of five children in a poor family.
His father was Urbano Macapagal y Romero (c. 1883 – 1946),
a poet who wrote in the local Pampangan language
and his mother was Romana Pangan Macapagal, daughter of Atanacio Miguel Pangan (a former cabeza de barangay
of Gutad, Floridablanca, Pampanga
) and Lorenza Suing Antiveros. Urbano's mother, Escolástica Romero Macapagal, was a midwife and schoolteacher who taught catechism
Diosdado is a distant descendant of Don Juan Macapagal
, a prince of Tondo, who was a great-grandson of the last reigning Lakan
of the Kingdom of Tondo
, Lakan Dula
He is also related to well-to-do Licad family through his mother Romana, who was a second cousin of María Vitug Licad, grandmother of renowned pianist, Cecile Licad
. Romana's own grandmother, Genoveva Miguel Pangan and María's grandmother, Celestina Miguel Macaspac, were sisters. Their mother, María Concepción Lingad Miguel was the daughter of José Pingul Lingad and Gregoria Malit Bartolo.
Diosdado's family earned extra income by raising pigs and accommodating boarders in their home.
Due to his roots in poverty, Macapagal would later become affectionately known as the "Poor Boy from Lubao".
Diosdado was also a reputed poet in the Spanish language although his poetic work was eclipsed by his political career.
Macapagal raised enough money to continue his studies at the University of Santo Tomas
He also gained the assistance of philanthropist Don Honorio Ventura, the Secretary of the Interior at the time, who financed his education.
He also received financial support from his mother's relatives notably from the Macaspacs who owned large tracts of land in barrio Sta. Maria, Lubao, Pampanga. After receiving his Bachelor of Laws
degree in 1936, he was admitted to the bar
, topping the 1936 bar examination with a score of 89.95%.
He later returned to his alma mater to take up graduate studies and earn a Master of Laws
degree in 1941, a Doctor of Civil Law
degree in 1947, and a PhD in Economics in 1957. His dissertation had "Imperatives of Economic Development in the Philippines" as its title.
After passing the bar examination, Macapagal was invited to join an American law firm as a practicing attorney, a particular honor for a Filipino at the time.
He was assigned as a legal assistant to President Manuel L. Quezon
in Malacañang Palace
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines
in World War II, Macapagal continued working in Malacañan Palace as an assistant to President José P. Laurel
, while secretly aiding the anti-Japanese resistance during the Allied liberation country from the Japanese.
After the war, Macapagal worked as an assistant attorney with one of the largest law firms in the country, Ross, Lawrence, Selph and Carrascoso
With the establishment of the independent Third Republic of the Philippines
in 1946, he rejoined government service when President Manuel Roxas
appointed him to the Department of Foreign Affairs
as the head of its legal division.
In 1948, President Elpidio Quirino
appointed Macapagal as chief negotiator in the successful transfer of the Turtle Islands
in the Sulu Sea
from the United Kingdom
to the Philippines.
That same year, he was assigned as second secretary to the Philippine Embassy
in Washington, D.C.
In 1949, he was elevated to the position of Counselor on Legal Affairs and Treaties, at the time the fourth-highest post in the Philippine Foreign Office.
In 1938, he married Purita de la Rosa
. They had two children, Cielo Macapagal-Salgado (who would become Vice Governor of Pampanga) and Arturo Macapagal
. Purita died in 1943.
House of Representatives
On the urging of local political leaders of Pampanga province, President Quirino recalled Macapagal from his position in Washington to run for a seat in the House of Representatives
representing the 1st district of Pampanga
The district's incumbent, Representative Amado Yuzon
, was a friend of Macapagal, but was opposed by the administration due to his support by communist groups.
After a campaign that Macapagal described as cordial and free of personal attacks, he won a landslide victory in the 1949 election
He won re-election in the 1953 election
, and served as Representative in the 2nd
and 3rd Congress
As a Representative, Macapagal authored and sponsored several laws of socio-economic importance, particularly aimed at benefiting the rural areas and the poor. Among the pieces of legislation which Macapagal promoted were the Minimum Wage Law, Rural Health Law, Rural Bank Law, the Law on Barrio Councils, the Barrio Industrialization Law, and a law nationalizing the rice and corn industries.
He was consistently selected by the Congressional Press Club as one of the Ten Outstanding Congressmen during his tenure.
In his second term, he was named Most Outstanding lawmaker of the 3rd Congress .
As the first ever Philippine vice president to be elected from a rival party of the president, Macapagal served out his four-year vice presidential term as a leader of the opposition
. The ruling party refused to give him a Cabinet position
in the Garcia administration, which was a break from tradition.
He was offered a position in the Cabinet only on the condition that he switch allegiance to the ruling Nationalista Party, but he declined the offer and instead played the role of critic to the administration's policies and performance.
This allowed him to capitalize on the increasing unpopularity of the Garcia administration. Assigned to performing only ceremonial duties as vice president, he spent his time making frequent trips to the countryside to acquaint himself with voters and to promote the image of the Liberal Party.
Macapagal swears in as President of the Philippines at the Quirino Grandstand
, Manila on December 30, 1961
As President, Macapagal worked to suppress graft and corruption and to stimulate the Philippine economy.
In the 1961 presidential election
, Macapagal ran against Garcia's re-election bid, promising an end to corruption and appealing to the electorate as a common man from humble beginnings.
He defeated the incumbent president with a 55% to 45% margin.
His inauguration as the president of the Philippines took place on December 30, 1961.
Major legislation signed
- Republic Act No. 3512 – An Act Creating A Fisheries Commission Defining Its Powers, Duties and Functions, and Appropriating Funds Therefore.
- Republic Act No. 3518 – An Act Creating The Philippine Veterans' Bank, and For Other Purposes.
- Republic Act No. 3844 – An Act To Ordain The Agricultural Land Reform Code and To Institute Land Reforms In The Philippines, Including The Abolition of Tenancy and The Channeling of Capital Into Industry, Provide For The Necessary Implementing Agencies, Appropriate Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes.
- Republic Act No. 4166 – An Act Changing The Date Of Philippine Independence Day From July Four To June Twelve, And Declaring July Four As Philippine Republic Day, Further Amending For The Purpose Section Twenty-Nine Of The Revised Administrative Code.
- Republic Act No. 4180 – An Act Amending Republic Act Numbered Six Hundred Two, Otherwise Known As The Minimum Wage Law, By Raising The Minimum Wage For Certain Workers, And For Other Purposes.
Economy of the Philippines under
President Diosdado Macapagal
In his inaugural address, Macapagal promised a socio-economic program anchored on "a return to free and private enterprise", placing economic development in the hands of private entrepreneurs with minimal government interference.
Twenty days after the inauguration, exchange controls were lifted and the Philippine peso
was allowed to float on the free currency exchange market. The currency controls were initially adopted by the administration of Elpidio Quirino
as a temporary measure, but continued to be adopted by succeeding administrations. The peso devalued from P2.64 to the U.S. dollar, and stabilized at P3.80 to the dollar, supported by a $300 million stabilization fund from the International Monetary Fund
To achieve the national goal of economic
and social progress with prosperity reaching down to the masses, there existed a choice of methods. First, there was the choice between the democratic
systems, the latter prevailing in Communist
countries. On this, the choice was easy as Filipinos had long been committed to the democratic method.
With the democratic mechanism, however, the next choice was between free enterprise
and the continuing of the controls system. Macapagal stated the essence of free enterprise in layman parlance in declaring before Congress on January 22, 1962, that "the task of economic development belongs principally to private enterprise and not to the government.
Before independence there was free enterprise in the Philippines under Presidents Manuel Quezon
, Sergio Osmeña
and Manuel Roxas
. In 1950 President Elpidio Quirino
deviated from free enterprise launching as a temporary emergency measure the system of exchange and import controls. The controls system was carried on by President Magsaysay and Garcia.
The first fundamental decision Macapagal had to make was whether to continue the system of exchange controls of Quirino, Magsaysay and Garcia or to return to the free enterprise of Quezon, Osmena and Roxas.
It had been his view since he was a Congressman for eight years that the suitable economic system for Filipinos was free enterprise. So on January 21, 1962, after working for 20 straight hours he signed a Central Bank decree abolishing exchange controls and returning the country to free enterprise.
During the 20 days available to make a decision on choice between controls and free enterprise, between his inauguration as president and before the opening of Congress
, Macapagal's main adviser was Governor Andres Castillo of the Central Bank
Further reform efforts by Macapagal were blocked by the Nacionalistas, who dominated the House of Representatives and the Senate at that time. Nonetheless, Macapagal was able to achieve steady economic progress, and annual GDP growth averaged at 5.53% for 1962–65.
The removal of controls and the restoration of free enterprise was intended to provide only the fundamental setting in which Macapagal could work out economic and social progress.
A specific and periodic program for the guidance of both the private sector and the government was an essential instrument to attain the economic and social development that constituted the goal of his labors.
Such a program for his administration was formulated under his authority and direction by a group of able and reputable economic and business leaders the most active and effective of which was Sixto Roxas III. From an examination of the planned targets and requirements of the Five-Year program – formally known as the Five-Year Socio-Economic Integrated Development Program – it could be seen that it aimed at the following objectives.
- immediate restoration of economic stability;
- alleviating the plight of the common man; and
- establishing a dynamic basic for future growth.
Free enterprise was restored with decontrol. The Five-Year Economic Program had been prescribed. Land reform abolishing tenancy had been launched. These were essential foundations for economic and social progress for the greatest number.
The essential foundations having been laid, attention must then be turned to the equally difficult task of building the main edifice
by implementing the economic program. Although the success of Macapagal's Socio-Economic Program in free enterprise inherently depended on the private sector, it would be helpful and necessary for the government to render active assistance in its implementation by the citizens.
Such role of the government in free enterprise
, in the view of Macapagal, required it (1) to provide the social overhead like roads, airfields and ports that directly or proximately promote economic growth, (2) to adopt fiscal and monetary policies salutary to investments, and most importantly (3) to serve as an entrepreneur or promote of basic and key private industries, particularly those that require capital too large for businessmen to put up by themselves. Among the enterprises he selected for active government promotion were integrated steel
, meat canning
Macapagal (left) in front of the Aguinaldo house replica at the Quirino Grandstand
, June 12, 1962
Like Ramon Magsaysay
, President Diosdado Macapagal came from the masses. He savored calling himself the "Poor boy from Lubao".
Ironically, he had little popularity among the masses.
This could be attributed to an absence any charismatic appeal owing to his stiff personality.
But despite this, Macapagal had certain achievements.
Foremost of these was the Agricultural Land Reform Code of 1963 (Republic Act No. 3844) which provided for the purchase of private farmlands with the intention of distributing them in small lots to the landless tenants on easy term of payment.
It is a major development in history of land reform in the Philippines
In comparison with the previous agrarian legislation, the law lowered the retention limit to 75 hectares, whether owned by individuals or corporations. It removed the term "contiguous" and established the leasehold
or the kasama
system was prohibited.
It formulated a bill of rights
that assured agricultural workers the right to self-organization and to a minimum wage
. It also created an office that acquired and distributed farmlands and a financing institution for this purpose.
The major flaw of this law was, however, that it had several exemptions, such as ort (big capital plantations
established during the Spanish
periods); fishponds, saltbeds, and lands primarily planted to citrus
, and other similar permanent trees; landholdings converted to residential
, or other similar non-agricultural purposes.
It was viewed that the 75-hectare retention limit was just too high for the growing population density. Moreover, this law merely allowed the transfer of the landlordism
from one area to another.
This was because landlords were paid in bonds, which he could use to purchase agricultural lands.
Likewise, the farmer was free to choose to be excluded from the leasehold
arrangements if he volunteered to give up the landholdings to the landlord.
Within two years after the law was implemented, no
land was being purchased under its term and conditions caused by the peasants
' inability to purchase the land.
Besides, the government
seemed lacking of strong political will, as shown by the Congress
' allotment of only one million Philippine pesos
for the implementation of this code. At least Php200 million was needed within a year from the enactment and implementation of the code, and Php300 million in the next three years for the program to be successful. However, by 1972, the code had benefited only 4,500 peasants covering 68 estates, at the cost of Php57 million to the government. Consequently, by the 1970s, the farmers ended up tilling less land, with their share in the farm also being less.
They incurred more debts, depending on the landlord
, and palay
buyers. Indeed, during the administration of Macapagal, the productivity of the farmers
One of Macapagal's major campaign pledges had been to clean out the government corruption that had proliferated under former President Garcia.
The administration also openly feuded with Filipino businessmen Fernando Lopez
and Eugenio Lopez
, brothers who had controlling interests in several large businesses.
The administration alluded to the brothers as "Filipino Stonehills who build and maintain business empires through political power, including the corruption of politicians and other officials".
In the 1965 election
, the Lopezes threw their support behind Macapagal's rival, Ferdinand Marcos
, with Fernando Lopez serving Marcos' running mate.
The Administration's campaign against corruption was tested by Harry Stonehill
, an American expatriate with a $50-million business empire in the Philippines.
Macapagal's Secretary of Justice, Jose W. Diokno
investigated Stonehill on charges of tax evasion, smuggling, misdeclaration of imports, and corruption of public officials.
Diokno's investigation revealed Stonehill's ties to corruption within the government. Macapagal, however, prevented Diokno from prosecuting Stonehill by deporting the American instead, then dismissing Diokno from the cabinet. Diokno questioned Macapagal's actions, saying, "How can the government now prosecute the corrupted when it has allowed the corrupter to go?"
Diokno later served as a Senator of the Republic
Macapagal appealed to nationalist sentiments by shifting the commemoration of Philippine independence day. On May 12, 1962, he signed a proclamation which declared Tuesday, June 12, 1962, as a special public holiday in commemoration of the declaration of independence from Spain on that date in 1898.
The change became permanent in 1964 with the signing of Republic Act No. 4166.
For having issued his 1962 proclamation, Macapagal is generally credited with having moved the celebration date of the Independence Day holiday.
Years later, Macapagal told journalist Stanley Karnow
the real reason for the change: "When I was in the diplomatic corps, I noticed that nobody came to our receptions on the Fourth of July
, but went to the American Embassy instead. So, to compete, I decided we needed a different holiday."
Macapagal (center) during a visit in Brazil in 1960
North Borneo claim
President Diosdado Macapagal on the bridge of the USS Oklahoma City in 1962
has original text related to this article:
On September 12, 1962, during President Diosdado Macapagal's administration, the territory of eastern North Borneo
), and the full sovereignty,
title and dominion over the territory were ceded by heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu
, HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, to the Republic of the Philippines
The cession effectively gave the Philippine government the full authority to pursue their claim in international courts. The Philippines broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia after the federation had included Sabah in 1963.
It was revoked in 1989 because succeeding Philippine administrations have placed the claim in the back burner in the interest of pursuing cordial economic and security relations with Kuala Lumpur
To date, Malaysia continues to consistently reject Philippine calls to resolve the matter of Sabah's jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice
Sabah sees the claim made by the Philippines' Moro leader Nur Misuari to take Sabah to International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a non-issue and thus dismissed the claim.
has original text related to this article:
has original text related to this article:
has original text related to this article:
In July 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal convened a summit meeting in Manila in which a nonpolitical confederation for Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, Maphilindo
, was proposed as a realization of José Rizal
's dream of bringing together the Malay peoples, seen as artificially divided by colonial frontiers.
Maphilindo was described as a regional association that would approach issues of common concern in the spirit of consensus. However, it was also perceived as a tactic on the parts of Jakarta
to delay, or even prevent, the formation of the Federation of Malaysia
. Manila had its own claim to Sabah
(formerly British North Borneo
and Jakarta protested the formation of Malaysia as a British imperialist
plot. The plan failed when Sukarno
adopted his plan of "konfrontasi
" with Malaysia. The Konfrontasi, or Confrontation basically aimed at preventing Malaysia from attaining independence. The idea was inspired onto President Sukarno by the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI), or literally the Indonesian Communist Party
. The party convinced President Sukarno that the formation of Malaysia is a form of neo-colonization
and would affect tranquility in Indonesia. The subsequent development of ASEAN
almost certainly excludes any possibility of the project ever being revived.
The U.S. government
's active interest in bringing other nations into the war had been part of U.S. policy discussions as early as 1961. President Lyndon Johnson
first publicly appealed for other countries to come to the aid of South Vietnam on April 23, 1964–in what was called the "More Flags" program.
Chester Cooper, former director of Asian affairs for the White House, explained why the impetus came from the United States instead of from the Republic of South Vietnam: "The 'More Flags' campaign ... required the application of considerable pressure for Washington to elicit any meaningful commitments. One of the more exasperating aspects of the search…was the lassitude …... of the Saigon government. In part ... the South Vietnam leaders were preoccupied with political jockeying. ... In addition, Saigon appeared to believe that the program was a public relations campaign directed at the American people."
1963 midterm election
The senatorial election was held on November 12, 1963. Macapagal's Liberal Party
(LP) won four out of the eight seats up for grabs during the election – thereby increasing the LP's senate seats from eight to ten.
1965 presidential campaign
President-elect Ferdinand E. Marcos
is received by incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal at the Malacañan Palace Music Room, before both proceeded to the inaugural venue, December 30, 1965.
Towards the end of his term, Macapagal decided to seek re-election to continue seeking reforms which he claimed were stifled by a "dominant and uncooperative opposition" in Congress.
With Senate President Ferdinand Marcos, a fellow member of the Liberal Party, unable to win his party's nomination due to Macapagal's re-election bid, Marcos switched allegiance to the rival Nacionalista Party to oppose Macapagal.
Among the issues raised against the incumbent administration were graft and corruption, rise in consumer goods, and persisting peace and order issues.
Macapagal was defeated by Marcos in the November 1965 polls
Post-presidency and death
Grave of Diosdado Macapagal at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Macapagal announced his retirement from politics following his 1965 loss to Marcos. In 1971, he was elected president of the constitutional convention
that drafted what became the 1973 Constitution
. The manner in which the charter was ratified and later modified led him to later question its legitimacy. In 1979, he formed the National Union for Liberation as a political party to oppose the Marcos regime.
Following the restoration of democracy in 1986, Macapagal took on the role of elder statesman
, and was a member of the Philippine Council of State
He also served as honorary chairman of the National Centennial Commission, and chairman of the board of CAP Life, among others.
In his retirement, Macapagal devoted much of his time to reading and writing.
He published his presidential memoir, authored several books about government and economics, and wrote a weekly column for the Manila Bulletin
President Benigno S. Aquino III
declared September 28, 2010 as a special non-working holiday in Macapagal's home province of Pampanga to commemorate the centennial of his birth.
Museum and library
These house the personal books and memorabilia of Macapagal.
Façade of the House
Bust (sculpture) of Macapagal in museum-library
Museum and library
Oil portrait of Macapagal
Second floor of the Museum
- Speeches of President Diosdado Macapagal. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1961.
- New Hope for the Common Man: Speeches and Statements of President Diosdado Macapagal. Manila: Malacañang Press Office, 1962.
- Five Year Integrated Socio-economic Program for the Philippines. Manila: [s.n.], 1963.
- Fullness of Freedom: Speeches and Statements of President Diosdado Macapagal. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1965.
- An Asian looks at South America. Quezon City: Mac Publishing House, 1966.
- The Philippines Turns East. Quezon City: Mac Publishing House, 1966.
- A Stone for the Edifice: Memoirs of a President. Quezon City: Mac Publishing House, 1968.
- A New Constitution for the Philippines. Quezon City: Mac Publishing House, 1970.
- Democracy in the Philippines. Manila: [s.n.], 1976.
- Constitutional Democracy in the World. Manila: Santo Tomas University Press, 1993.
- From Nipa Hut to Presidential Palace: Autobiography of President Diosdado P. Macapagal. Quezon City: Philippine Academy for Continuing Education and Research, 2002.
Named after Diosdado Macapagal:
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- ^ "The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Solayman (1571–1898): Genealogy and Group Identity". Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18. 1990.
- ^ Blood Relationship between Cecile Licad and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and their Bartolo roots by Louie Aldrin Lacson Bartolo
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Malaya, J. Eduardo; Jonathan E. Malaya (2004). So Help Us God: The Presidents of the Philippines and Their Inaugural Addresses. Manila: Anvil. pp. 200–214. ISBN 971-27-1486-1.
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- ^ a b c d "The Philippines: Smoke in Manila". Time. August 10, 1962. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- ^ a b "Building a Strong Republic" (PDF). Philippine Information Agency. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 27, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- ^ Diosdado Macapagal, Proclamation No. 28 Declaring June 12 as Philippine Independence Day, Philippine History Group of Los Angeles, archived from the original on May 12, 2009, retrieved November 11, 2009
- ^ Proclamation no. 28: June 12 as Philippine Independence Day Archived October 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine in Insights on the Philippine Independence, Kalayaan 2000[dead link], June 12, 2000, Presidential Communications Operations Office.
- ^ "Republic Act No. 4166". August 4, 1964. Retrieved August 5, 2009.
- ^ Ambeth Ocampo (September 28, 2010). "Looking Back : Macapagal at 100". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 12, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
- ^ Manuel S. Satorre, Jr., President Diosdado Macapagal set RP Independence Day on June 12, .positivenewsmedia.net, archived from the original on July 24, 2011, retrieved December 10, 2008
- ^ Karnow 1989, p. 365.
- ^ "UN General Assembly 15th Session – The Trusteeship System and Non-Self-Governing Territories (pages:509–510)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 20, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
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- ^ "Cession and transfer of the territory of North Borneo by His Highness, Sultan Mohammad Esmail Kiram, Sultan of Sulu, acting with the consent and approval of the Ruma Bechara, in council assembled, to the Republic of the Philippines". Government of the Philippines. April 24, 1962. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
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- ^ The Star (May 29, 2008). Call for ICJ arbitration dismissed.
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