History of the Philippines

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History of the Philippines
Philippine History Collage.jpg

Before 1521

Philippine Revolution
First Philippine Republic

Military history
Communications history
Demographic history
Transportation history

The history of the Philippines begins with the arrival of the first humans in the Philippines by land bridges at least Upper Paleolithic|30,000 years ago. The first recorded visit from the West is the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan on Homonhon Island, southeast of Samar on March 16, 1521. Permanent settlements in the island of Cebu were established with the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1565, and more settlements continued northward with the colonizers reaching the bay of Manila on the island of Luzon. In Manila they established a new town and thus began an era of Spanish colonization that lasted for more than three centuries.

The Philippine Revolution against Spain began in April of 1896, culminating two years later with a proclamation of independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. However, the Treaty of Paris, at the end of the Spanish-American War, transferred control of the Philippines to the United States. U.S. colonial rule of the Philippines began in December 1899, with very limited local rule permitted beginning in 1905. Partial autonomy (commonwealth status) was granted in 1935, preparatory to a planned full independence from the United States in 1945. But what was envisioned as a 10-year transition period from a commonwealth to a fully sovereign state was interrupted by the Japanese occupation of the islands during World War II. Full independence was only granted to the Philippines in July 1946.

With a promising economy in the 1950s and 1960s, the Philippines in the late 1960s and early 1970s saw a rise of student activism and civil unrest against the corrupt dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos who declared martial law in 1972. Because of close ties between United States and President Marcos, the U.S. government continued to support Marcos even though his administration was well-known for massive corruption and extensive human rights abuse. The peaceful and bloodless 1986 EDSA Revolution, however, brought about the ousting of Marcos (who fled to Hawaii on board a U.S. military helicopter, where he was exiled until his death) and a return to democracy for the country. The period since then, however, has been marked by political instability and hampered economic productivity.


Early history

Main article: History of the Philippines (until 1521)
A raised-relief map of Southeast Asia
A 16th century Tagalog couple of the maharlika nobility caste

Negrito, proto-Malay, and Malay peoples were the principal peoples of the Philippine archipelago. [1] The Negritos migrated to the islands during the last ice age some Upper Paleolithic|30,000 years ago, when land bridges connected the archipelago to mainland Asia and Borneo. [2] Later migrations were by water and took place over several thousand years. [1]

The social and political organization of the population, in the widely scattered islands, evolved into a generally common pattern. Only the permanent-field rice farmers of northern Luzon had any concept of territoriality. [1]The basic unit of settlement was the barangay, originally a kinship group headed by a datu (chief). Within the barangay, the broad social divisions consisted of the maharlika (nobility|nobles), including the datu; timawa (Freeman (Colonial)|freemen); and a group described before the Spanish period as dependents. Dependents included several categories with differing status: landless agricultural workers; those who had lost freeman status because of indebtedness or punishment for crime; and alipin (slaves), most of whom appear to have been war captives. [1]

Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from the Indonesian islands. [3] By the 16th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and spread from there to Mindanao; it had reached the Manila area by 1565. [1] Although Islam spread to Luzon, Animism was still the religion of the majority of the Philippine islands. Muslim immigrants introduced a political concept of territorial states ruled by rajas or sultans who exercised suzerainty over the datu. Neither the political state concept of the Muslim rulers nor the limited territorial concept of the sedentary rice farmers of Luzon, however, spread beyond the areas where they originated. [1] When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the majority of the estimated 500,000 people in the islands lived in barangay settlements. [1]

Spanish rule (1521-1898)

Main article: History of the Philippines (1521-1898)

Early Spanish expeditions

Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines in 1521.
A statue of Lapu-Lapu marks the site where Magellan was purportedly killed in 1521.

Europeans first arrived in the Philippine Islands with the Spanish expedition around the world led by Portuguese Empire|Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 March 16. (March 17, 1521 in real date, did not realize that they had crossed the International Date Line ) Magellan landed on the island of Cebu, claiming the lands for Spain and naming them Islas de San Lazaro. [4] He established friendly relations with some of the local chieftains. They even had a traditional rite of Kasing - kasing (Blood Compact/ Sanduguan in native terms.) This consisted of drawing blood from the arms, mixing it with water or wine and drinking it together. This meant the same blood now flowed through their veins, making them" blood brothers," a sacred, inviolable pact. Moreover,Magellan was also able to convert some of them to Roman Catholicism. [4]He was able to do so by informing Humabon of Cebu that in Christiany, the old were respected. This encouraged the conversion because during those days the old were not respectd by the youth since they no longer could contribute to the tribe. Instead, the youth would command the old. Furthermore, this marked a very important episode in Philippine History. It showed that Magellan won over Humabon through a new culture that valued human dignity. However, Magellan was killed in a dispute with indigenous tribal groups led by a chieftain named Lapu-Lapu of Mactan. Magellan volunteered to spare Zula , who was supposed to fight against Lapu-Lapu, and fight Lapu-Lapu himself to show how the Europeans fought. There are three main reasons why Magellan failed at his attempt to defeat Lapu-lapu. 1) He had sent no reconnaissance to check unfamiliar terrain. 2) he warned the enemy that he was attacking them. 3) he allowed them to outnumber his men.

Over the next several decades, other Spanish expeditions were dispatched to the islands. In 1543, Ruy López de Villalobos led an expedition to the islands and gave the name Las Islas Felipinas (after Philip II of Spain) to the islands of Samar and Leyte. [5] The name would later be given to the entire archipelago.

Spanish colonization

Permanent Spanish settlement was not established until 1565 when an expedition led by the Conquistadores, Miguel López de Legazpi, arrived in Cebu from Mexico (New Spain). Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule. [6] Six years later, following the defeat of the local Muslim ruler, Rajah Solayman, Legazpi established a capital at Manila, a location that offered the excellent harbor of Manila Bay, a large population, and proximity to the ample food supplies of the central Luzon rice lands. Manila became the center of Spanish government, including military, religious, and commercial activities in the islands. [7] Despite the opposition of the Portuguese, who desired to maintain their monopoly on East Indies trade, the Spanish had secured a foothold in the Philippines, which became their outpost as the Spanish East Indies.

The famous Manila galleons sailed between Manila and the port of Acapulco in today's Mexico. These Manila galleons carried silver and other precious metals from the New World to Manila to purchase goods and raw materials from throughout Asia — for example, spices transshipped from the Spice Islands to the south, and porcelain, ivory, lacquerware and processed silk cloth from China and Southeast Asia. While some of these Asian goods were used in Mexico, most of the cargo was transhipped across Mexico for delivery to Spain, to be sold in European markets. The Philippines was administered as a province of New Spain until Mexican War of Independence|Mexican independenc (1821). [8]

Occupation of the islands was accomplished with relatively little bloodshed, partly because most of the population (except the Muslims) offered little armed resistance initially. [7] A significant problem the Spanish faced was the subjugation of the Muslims of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The Muslims, in response to attacks on them from the Spanish and their native allies, raided areas of Luzon and the Visayas that were under Spanish colonial control. The Spanish conducted intermittent military campaigns against the Muslims, but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th century.

Church and State were inseparably linked in Spanish policy, with the state assuming responsibility for religious establishments. [7]One of Spain's objectives in colonizing the Philippines was the conversion of the local population to Roman Catholicism. The work of conversion was facilitated by the absence of other organized religions, except for Islam, which predominated in the south. The pageantry of the church had a wide appeal, reinforced by the incorporation of Filipino social customs into religious observances. [7]

Flag of New Spain
The eventual outcome was a new Roman Catholic majority of the main Austronesian lowland population, from which the Muslims of Mindanao and the upland tribal peoples of Luzon remained detached and alienated (such as the Ifugaos of the Cordillera region and the Mangyans of Mindoro). [7]

At the lower levels of administration, the Spanish built on traditional village organization by co-opting local leaders. This system of indirect rule helped create a Filipino upper class, called the principalia, who had local wealth, high status, and other privileges. This perpetuated an oligarchy|oligarchic system of local control. Among the most significant changes under Spanish rule was that the Filipino idea of communal use and ownership of land was replaced with the concept of private ownership and the conferring of titles on members of the principalia. [7]

The Philippines was not profitable as a colony, and a long war with the Dutch Empire|Dutch in the 17th century and intermittent conflict with the Muslims nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury. [7]Colonial income derived mainly from entrepôt trade: The Manila Galleons sailing from Acapulco on the west coast of New Spain brought shipments of silver bullion and minted coin that were exchanged for return cargoes of Chinese goods. There was no direct trade with Spain. [7]

Decline of Spanish rule

Spanish rule on the Philippines was briefly interrupted in 1762, when Kingdom of Great Britain|British troops invaded and occupied the islands as a result of Spain's entry into the Seven Years' War. The Treaty of Paris (1763)|Treaty of Paris of 1763 restored Spanish rule and in 1764 the British left the country fearing another costly war with Spain. The brief British occupation weakened Spain's grip on power and sparked rebellions and demands for independence. [9]

In 1781, Governor-General José Basco y Vargas established the Economic Society of Friends of the Country. The Philippines by this time was administered directly from Spain. Developments in and out of the country helped to bring new ideas to the Philippines. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cut travel time to Spain. This prompted the rise of the ilustrados, an enlightened Filipino upper class, since many young Filipinos were able to study in Europe.

Enlightened by the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government and the "frailocracy", the ilustrados originally clamored for adequate representation to the Cortes Generales|Spanish Cortes and later for independence. José Rizal, the most celebrated intellectual and radical illustrado of the era, wrote the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which greatly inspired the movement for independence. [6] The Katipunan, a secret society whose primary purpose was that of overthrowing Spanish rule in the Philippines, was founded by Andrés Bonifacio who became its Supremo (leader).

An early flag of the Filipino revolutionaries

The Philippine Revolution began in 1896. Rizal was implicated in the outbreak of the revolution and executed for treason in 1896. The Katipunan in Cavite split into two groups, Magdiwang, led by Mariano Alvarez (a relative of Bonifacio's by marriage), and Magdalo, led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Leadership conflicts between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo culminated in the execution or assassination of the former by the latter's soldiers. Aguinaldo agreed to a truce with the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were exiled to Hong Kong.

A session of congress of the short-lived First Philippine Republic

The Spanish-American war began in 1898 after the USS Maine (ACR-1)|USS Maine, sent to Cuba in connection with an attempt to arrange a peaceful resolution between Cuban independence ambitions and Spanish colonialism, exploded and sank in Havana harbor. After Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at Manila, the U.S. invited Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines, which he did on May 19 1898, in the hope he would rally Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken control of the entire island of Luzon, except for the walled city of Intramuros. On June 12 1898, Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines in Kawit, Cavite, establishing the First Philippine Republic under Asia's first democratic constitution. [6]

Simultaneously, a German squadron arrived in Manila and declared that if the United States did not seize the Philippines as a colonial possession, Germany would. In the Battle of Manila, the United States captured the city from the Spanish. This battle marked an end of Filipino-American collaboration, as Filipino forces were prevented from entering the captured city of Manila, an action deeply resented by the Filipinos. [10]Spain and the United States sent commissioners to Paris to draw up the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War. The Filipino representative, Felipe Agoncillo, was excluded from sessions as the revolutionary government was not recognized by the family of nations. [10] Although there was substantial domestic opposition, the United States decided neither to return the Philippines to Spain, nor to allow Germany to annex the Philippines. In addition to Guam and Puerto Rico, Spain was forced in the negotiations to hand over the Philippines to the U.S. in exchange for US$20,000,000.00, [11] which the U.S. later claimed to be a "gift" from Spain. The first Philippine Republic rebelled against the U.S. occupation, resulting in the Philippine-American War (1899–1913).

American colonial period (1898-1946)

Main article: History of the Philippines (1898-1946)
1898 political cartoon showing U.S. President McKinley with a child "savage". Here, returning the Philippines to Spain is compared to throwing the child off a cliff.

Filipinos initially saw their relationship with the United States as that of two nations joined in a common struggle against Spain. [12] As allies, Filipinos had provided the American forces with valuable intelligence and military support. [13] However, the United States later distanced itself from the interests of the Filipino insurgents. Aguinaldo was unhappy that the United States would not commit to paper a statement of support for Philippine independence. [13]Relations deteriorated and tensions heightened as it became clear that the Americans were in the islands to stay. [13]

Philippine-American War

Main article: Philippine-American War

Hostilities broke out on February 4, 1899, after two American privates on patrol killed three Filipino soldiers in San Juan, a Manila suburb. [14]This incident sparked the Philippine-American War, which would cost far more money and take far more lives than the Spanish-American War. [6] Some 126,000 American soldiers would be committed to the conflict; 4,234 Americans died, as did 16,000 Filipino soldiers who were part of a nationwide guerrilla movement of indeterminate numbers. [14] Estimates on civilian deaths during the war range between 250,000 and 1,000,000, largely because of famine and disease. Atrocities were committed by both sides. [14]

The poorly-equipped Filipino troops were handily overpowered by American troops in open combat, but they were formidable opponents in guerrilla warfare. [14]Malolos, the revolutionary capital, was captured on March 31, 1899. Aguinaldo and his government escaped, however, establishing a new capital at San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. Antonio Luna, Aguinaldo's most capable military commander, Gregorio del Pilar, was murdered in June at Tirad Pass. With his best commander dead and his troops suffering continued defeats as American forces pushed into northern Luzon, Aguinaldo dissolved the regular army in November 1899 and ordered the establishment of decentralized guerrilla commands in each of several military zones. The general population, caught between Americans and rebels, suffered significantly. [14]

Aguinaldo was captured at Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901 and was brought to Manila. Convinced of the futility of further resistance, he swore allegiance to the United States and issued a proclamation calling on his compatriots to lay down their arms, officially bringing an end to the war. [14] However, sporadic insurgent resistance continued in various parts of the Philippines, especially in the Muslim south, until 1913. [15]

United States colony

The United States defined its colonial mission as one of tutelage, preparing the Philippines for eventual independence. [16] Civil government was established by the United States in 1901, with William Howard Taft as the first American Governor-General of the Philippines, replacing the military governor, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. The governor-general acted as head of the Philippine Commission, a body appointed by the U.S. president with legislative and limited executive powers. The commission passed laws to set up the fundamentals of the new government, including a judicial system, civil service, and local government. A Philippine Constabulary was organized to deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement and gradually assume the responsibilities of the United States Army. The elected Philippine Assembly was inaugurated in 1907, becoming a lower house of a bicameral legislature, with the appointed Philippine Commission as upper house.

United States policies towards the Philippines shifted with changing administrations. [6] During the early years of colonial rule, the Americans were reluctant to delegate authority to the Filipinos. However, when Woodrow Wilson became President of the United States|U.S. President in 1913, a new policy was adopted to put into motion a process that would gradually lead to Philippine independence. The Jones Act (Philippines)|Jones Act, passed by the United States Congress|U.S. Congress in 1916 to serve as the new organic law in the Philippines, promised eventual independence and instituted an elected Philippine senate.

The 1920s saw alternating periods of cooperation and confrontation with American governors-general, depending on how intent the incumbent was on exercising his powers vis-à-vis the Philippine legislature. Members to the elected legislature lobbied for immediate and complete independence from the United States. Several independence missions were sent to Washington D.C. A civil service was formed and was gradually taken over by Filipinos, who had effectively gained control by 1918.

Philippine politics during the American colonial era was dominated by the Nacionalista Party, which was founded in 1907. Although the party's platform called for "immediate independence", their policy toward the Americans was highly accommodating. [17]Within the political establishment, the call for independence was spearheaded by Manuel L. Quezon, who served continuously as Senate president from 1916 until 1935.


Main article: Commonwealth of the Philippines
Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon with United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington D.C.

In 1933, the United States Congress passed the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act as a Philippine Independence Act over President Herbert Hoover's veto. [18] Though the bill had been drafted with the aid of a commission from the Philippines, it was opposed by Philippine Senate President Manuel L. Quezon, partially because of provisions leaving the United States in control of naval bases. Under his influence, the Philippine legislature rejected the bill. [19] The following year, a revised act known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act was finally passed. The act provided for the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a ten-year period of peaceful transition to full independence. The commonwealth would have its own constitution and be self-governing, though foreign policy would be the responsibility of the United States, and certain legislation required approval of the United States president. [19]

A constitution was framed in 1934 and overwhelmingly approved by plebiscite the following year. On May 14 1935, an election to fill the newly created office of President of the Commonwealth was won by Manuel L. Quezon of the Nacionalista Party, and a Filipino government was formed on the basis of principles similar to the United States Constitution|U.S. Constitution. The commonwealth was established in 1935, featuring a very strong executive (government)|executive, a unicameral National Assembly, and a Supreme Court composed entirely of Filipinos for the first time since 1901. During the commonwealth years, Philippines sent one elected Resident Commissioner to the United States House of Representatives (as Puerto Rico does today).

The new government embarked on an ambitious agenda of establishing the basis for national defense, greater control over the economy, reforms in education, improvement of transport, the colonization of the island of Mindanao, and the promotion of local capital and industrialization. The commonwealth, however, was also faced with agrarian unrest, an uncertain diplomatic and military situation in Southeast Asia, and uncertainty about the level of United States commitment to the future Republic of the Philippines. In 1939-40, the Philippine Constitution was amended to restore a bicameral congress, and permit the reelection of President Quezon, who was previously restricted to a single six-year term.

World War II and Japanese occupation

As many as 10,000 people died in the Bataan Death March.

Japan launched a surprise attack on the Clark Air Base in Pampanga,Philippines on December 8 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops on Luzon. The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Under the pressure of superior numbers, the defending forces withdrew to the Bataan and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction, [20] was occupied by the Japanese on January 2 1942. [21] The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and on Corregidor in May. Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous Bataan Death March to a prison camp 105 kilometers to the north. It is estimated that about 10,000 Filipinos and 1,200 Americans died before reaching their destination. [22]

Quezon and Osmeña had accompanied the troops to Corregidor and later left for the United States, where they set up a government in exile. [23] MacArthur was ordered to Australia, where he started to plan for a return to the Philippines.

The Japanese military authorities immediately began organizing a new government structure in the Philippines and established the Philippine Executive Commission. They initially organized a Philippine Council of State|Council of State through which they directed civil affairs until October 1943, when they declared the Philippines an independent republic. The Japanese-sponsored republic headed by President José P. Laurel proved to be unpopular. [24]

Manila was extensively damaged during the war.

Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by large-scale underground and guerrilla activity. The Philippine Army continued to fight the Japanese in a guerrilla war and was considered an auxiliary unit of the United States Army. Their effectiveness was such that by the end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces. [24] The major element of resistance in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Hukbalahap ("People's Army Against the Japanese"), which armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon. [24]

MacArthur's Allied forces landed on Leyte on October 20 1944. Landings in other parts of the country followed, and the Allies pushed toward Manila. Fighting continued until Japan's formal surrender on September 2 1945. The Philippines suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed, and Manila was extensively damaged as the Japanese did not declare it an open city as the Americans had done in 1942. [24]

Independent Philippines and the Third Republic (1946-1972)

Main article: History of the Philippines (1946-1965)

Elections were held in April 1946, with Manuel Roxas becoming the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. The United States receded its sovereignty over the Philippines on July 4 1946, as scheduled. [6] However, the Philippine economy remained highly dependent on Economy of the United States|United States markets– more dependent, according to United States high commissioner Paul McNutt, than any single U.S. state was dependent on the rest of the country. [25] The Philippine Trade Act, passed as a precondition for receiving war rehabilitation grants from the United States, [26] exacerbated the dependency with provisions further tying the economies of the two countries. A military assistance pact was signed in 1947 granting the United States a 99-year lease on designated military bases in the country (the lease was later reduced to 25 years beginning 1967).

The Roxas administration granted general amnesty to those who had collaborated with the Japanese in World War II, except for those who had committed violent crimes. Roxas died suddenly of a heart attack and because of tubercolosis in April 1948, and the vice president, Elpidio Quirino, was elevated to the presidency. He ran for president in his own right in 1949, defeating Jose P. Laurel and winning a four-year term.

World War II had left the Philippines demoralized and severely damaged. The task of reconstruction was complicated by the activities of the Communism|Communist-supported Hukbalahap guerrillas (known as "Huks"), who had evolved into a violent resistance force against the new Philippine government. Government policy towards the Huks alternated between gestures of negotiation and harsh suppression. Secretary of Defense Ramon Magsaysay initiated a campaign to defeat the insurgents militarily and at the same time win popular support for the government. The Huk movement had waned in the early 1950s, finally ending with the unconditional surrender of Huk leader Luis Taruc in May 1954.

Supported by the United States, Magsaysay was elected president in 1953 on a populism|populist platform. He promised sweeping economic reform, and made progress in land reform by promoting the resettlement of poor people in the Catholic north into traditionally Muslim areas. Though this relieved population pressure in the north, it heightened religious hostilities. [27] Nevertheless, he was extremely popular with the common people, and his death in an airplane crash in March 1957 dealt a serious blow to national morale.

Carlos P. Garcia succeeded to the presidency after Magsaysay's death, and was elected to a four-year term in the election of November that same year. His administration emphasized the nationalist theme of "Filipino first", arguing that the Filipino people should be given the chances to improve the country's economy. [28]Garcia successfully negotiated for the United States' relinquishment of large military land reservations. However, his administration lost popularity on issues of government corruption as his term advanced. [29]

Diosdado Macapagal was elected president in the 1961 election, defeating Garcia's re-election bid. Macapagal's foreign policy sought closer relations with neighboring Asian nations, particularly Malaya (later Malaysia) and Indonesia. [27]Negotiations with the United States over base rights led to anti-American sentiment. [27] Notably, the celebration of Independence Day was changed from July 4 to June 12, to honor the day that Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence from Spain in 1898.

Marcos era and martial law (1965-1986)

Main article: History of the Philippines (1965-1986)
Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986

Macapagal ran for re-election in 1965, but was defeated by his former party-mate, Senate President Ferdinand Marcos, who had switched to the Nacionalista Party. Early in his presidency, Marcos initiated ambitious public works projects and intensified tax collection which brought the country economic prosperity throughout the 1970s. Also due to massive loans and economic aid from the United States, his administration built more roads (including a substantial portion of the Pan-Philippine Highway) than all his predecessors combined, and more schools than any previous administration. [30]Marcos was re-elected president in 1969, becoming the first president of the independent Philippines to achieve a second term.

The Philippine Legislature was corrupt and impotent. Opponents of Marcos blocked the necessary legislation to implement his ambitious plans. Because of this, optimism faded early in his second term and economic growth slowed. [31] Crime and civil disobedience increased. The Communist Party of the Philippines formed the New People's Army. The Moro National Liberation Front continued to fight for an independent Muslim nation in Mindanao. An explosion during the proclamation rally of the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party on August 21, 1971 prompted Marcos to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which he restored on January 11, 1972 after public protests.

Martial law

Amidst the rising wave of lawlessness and the threat of a Communist insurgency, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081. Marcos, ruling by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, closed down Congress and media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including his staunchest critics Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., Senator Jovito Salonga and Senator Jose Diokno. [32] The declaration of martial law was initially well received, given the social turmoil the Philippines was experiencing. [33] Crime rates plunged dramatically after a curfew was implemented. [34] Many political opponents were forced to go into exile.

A constitutional convention, which had been called for in 1970 to replace the colonial 1935 Constitution of the Philippines|1935 Constitution, continued the work of framing a new constitution after the declaration of martial law. The new constitution went into effect in early 1973, changing the form of government from presidential to parliamentary system|parliamentary and allowing Marcos to stay in power beyond 1973.

Marcos claimed that martial law was the prelude to creating a "New Society" based on new social and political values. [35]The economy during the 1970s was robust, with budgetary and trade surpluses. The Gross National Product rose from P55 billion in 1972 to P193 billion in 1980. Tourism rose, contributing to the economy's growth. However, Marcos, his cronies and his wife, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, wilfully engaged in rampant corruption. [36]

Fourth Republic

Benigno Aquino, Jr., Marcos' political nemesis, was shot dead at the Manila International Airport.

Appeasing the Roman Catholic Church before the visit of Pope John Paul II, [37] Marcos officially lifted martial law on January 17, 1981. However, he retained much of the government's power for arrest and detention. Corruption and nepotism as well as civil unrest contributed to a serious decline in economic growth and development under Marcos, whose health declined due to Lupus erythematosus|lupus.

The political opposition boycotted the 1981 presidential elections, which pitted Marcos against retired general Alejo Santos. [32]Marcos won by a margin of over 16 million votes, which constitutionally allowed him to have another six-year term. Finance Minister Cesar Virata was elected as Prime Minister by the Batasang Pambansa.

In 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon his return to the Philippines after a long period of exile. This coalesced popular dissatisfaction with Marcos and began a succession of events, including pressure from the United States, that culminated in a snap presidential election in February 1986. [38] The opposition united under Aquino's widow, Corazon Aquino.

The official election canvasser, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), declared Marcos the winner of the election. However, there was a large discrepancy between the Comelec results and that of Namfrel, an accredited poll watcher. The allegedly fraudulent result was rejected by Corazon Aquino and her supporters. International observers, including a U.S. delegation, denounced the official results. [38]Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile withdrew their support for Marcos. A peaceful civilian-military uprising, now popularly called the 1986 EDSA Revolution, forced Marcos into exile and installed Corazon Aquino as president on February 25 1986.

Fifth Republic (1986-present)

Main article: History of the Philippines (1986-present)
Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991.

Corazon Aquino immediately formed a revolutionary government to normalize the situation, and provided for a transitional "Freedom Constitution" [39] The constitution crippled presidential power to declare martial law, proposed the creation of autonomous regions in the Cordilleras and Muslim Mindanao, and restored the presidential form of government and the bicameral Congress. [41] Progress was made in revitalizing democratic institutions and respect for civil liberties, but Aquino's administration was also viewed as weak and fractious, and a return to full political stability and economic development was hampered by several attempted coups staged by disaffected members of the Philippine military. [42]Economic growth was additionally hampered by a series of natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo that left 700 dead and 200,000 homeless. [43]

In 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected a treaty that would have allowed a 10-year extension of the U.S. military bases in the country. The United States turned over Clark Air Base in Pampanga to the government in November, and Subic Bay Naval Base in Zambales in December 1992, ending almost a century of U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

In the 1992 elections, Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos, endorsed by Aquino, won the presidency with just 23.6% of the vote in a field of seven candidates. Early in his administration, Ramos declared "national reconciliation" his highest priority and worked at building a coalition to overcome the divisiveness of the Aquino years. [41] He legalized the Communist Party and laid the groundwork for talks with communist insurgents, Muslim separatists, and military rebels, attempting to convince them to cease their armed activities against the government. In June 1994, Ramos signed into law a general conditional amnesty covering all rebel groups, and Philippine military and police personnel accused of crimes committed while fighting the insurgents. In October 1995, the government signed an agreement bringing the military insurgency to an end. A peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a major separatist group fighting for an independent homeland in Mindanao, was signed in 1996, ending the 24-year old struggle. However, an MNLF splinter group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front continued the armed struggle for an Islamic state. Efforts by Ramos supporters to gain passage of an amendment that would allow him to run for a second term were met with large-scale protests, leading Ramos to declare he would not seek re-election. [44]

Joseph Estrada, a former movie actor who had served as Ramos' vice president, was elected president by a landslide victory in 1998. His election campaign pledged to help the poor and develop the country's agricultural sector. He enjoyed widespread popularity, particularly among the poor. [45] Under the cloud of the Asian financial crisis which began in 1997, Estrada's wayward governance took a heavy toll on the economy. Unemployment worsened, the budget deficit grew, the currency plunged. Eventually, the country's economy recovered but at a much slower pace than that of its Asian neighbors.

Within a year of his election, Estrada's popularity declined sharply amid allegations of cronyism and corruption, and failure to remedy the problems of poverty. [36] In October 2000, Estrada was accused of having accepted millions of pesos in payoffs from illegal gambling businesses. He was impeached by the House of Representatives, but his impeachment trial in the Senate broke down when the senate voted to block examination of the president's bank records. In response, massive street protests erupted demanding Estrada's resignation. Faced with street protests, cabinet resignations, and a withdrawal of support from the armed forces, Estrada was forced from office on January 20 2001.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as president at the 2001 EDSA Revolution.

Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (the daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal) was sworn in as Estrada's successor on the day of his departure. Her accession to power was further legitimated by the mid-term congressional and local elections held four months later, when her coalition won an overwhelming victory. [36] Arroyo's initial term in office was marked by fractious coalition politics as well as a military mutiny in Manila in July 2003 that led her to declare a month-long nationwide state of rebellion. [36]

Arroyo had declared in December 2002 that she would not run in the May 2004 presidential election, but she reversed herself in October 2003 and decided to join the race. [36] She was re-elected and sworn in for her own six-year term as president on June 30 2004. In 2005, a tape of a wiretapped conversation surfaced bearing the voice of Arroyo apparently asking an election official if her margin of victory could be maintained. [46] The tape sparked protests calling for Arroyo's resignation. [46] Arroyo admitted to inappropriately speaking to an election official, but denied allegations of fraud and refused to step down. [46] Attempts to impeach the president failed later that year.

Arroyo currently spearheads a controversial plan for an overhaul of the constitution to transform the present presidential-bicameral republic into a federal parliamentary-unicameral form of government. [47]

See also


  1. ^a b c d e f gPhilippines - Early History. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  2. ^ A Brief History of the Philippines from a Filipino Perspective. Health Action Information Network. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  3. ^ Agoncillo, Teodoro C. [1960] (1990). History of the Filipino People, 8th edition, Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, p. 22. ISBN 971-8711-06-6.
  4. ^a b Lacsamana, Leodivico Cruz (1990). Philippine History and Government, Second Edition. Phoenix Publishing House, Inc., p. 47.
  5. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 52
  6. ^a b c d e f Philippine History. DLSU-Manila. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  7. ^a b c d e f g hPhilippines - The Early Spanish Period. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  8. ^ Philippines History. Encyclopedia of Nations. Retrieved on 2006-08-23.
  9. ^ Philippines - The Decline of Spanish Rule. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  10. ^a b Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 126
  11. ^ Philippines - The Malolos Constitution and the Treaty of Paris. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  12. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 135
  13. ^a b c Philippines - Spanish American War. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  14. ^a b c d e fPhilippines - Spanish American War. U.S. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  15. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 247-260, 294-297
  16. ^ Philippines - United States Rule. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  17. ^ Philippines - A Collaborative Philippine Leadership. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  18. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 345-346
  19. ^a bPhilippines - Commonwealth Politics. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-23.
  20. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 390
  21. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 392
  22. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 168
  23. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 415
  24. ^a b c dPhilippines - World War II. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  25. ^ Philippines - Economic Relations with the United States]. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  26. ^ Balitang Beterano: Facts about Philippine Independence. Philippine Headline News Online. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  27. ^a b cPhilippines - The Magsaysay, Garcia, and Macapagal Administrations. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  28. ^ Carlos Garcia: Unheralded nationalist. Philippine News Online. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  29. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 184
  30. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 187
  31. ^ Philippines - Marcos and the Road to Martial Law. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-24.
  32. ^a bPhilippines - Proclamation 1081 and Martial Law. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-24.
  33. ^ Lacsamana, Philippine History and Government, p. 189
  34. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 576-577
  35. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 574-575
  36. ^a b c d eCountry Profile: Philippines, March 2006. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  37. ^ In many tongues, pope championed religious freedoms. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  38. ^a bPhilippines - From Aquino's Assassination to People Power. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-08-22.
  39. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 585
  40. ^ Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, p. 586
  41. ^a bBackground Notes: Philippines, November 1996. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  42. ^ Then & Now: Corazon Aquino. CNN. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  43. ^ Pinatubo - Eruption Features. National Geophysical Data Center. Retrieved on 2006-08-23.
  44. ^ Showdown in Manila. Asiaweek. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  45. ^ Profile:Joseph Estrada. BBC News. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  46. ^a bGloria Macapagal Arroyo Talkasia Transcript. CNN. Retrieved on 2006-07-29.
  47. ^ Dalangin-Fernandez, Lira. "People's support for Charter change 'nowhere to go but up'", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2006-07-27. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.

External links

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