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Parade of the people’s “finest.” Editorial for April 14, 1907

April 14, 1907, Sunday

The parade of the people’s “Finest”

[“The most noticeable feature of the Philippines—the one that jars—is the absurdly numerous army of highly-paid officials. About every second American you meet is working for the government and he will tell you, candidly enough, that all he cares about the islands is to make enough in savings out of his salary to give him a stake back home. There are exceptions, but they are few. And this army of officials is maintained by taxation wrung from a people impoverished by a series of misfortunes in which almost every known destructive element has been combined—taxation that has throttled industrial enterprise, paralyzed the agriculturalist, and sent soaring the cost at the market stall of the food of the poorer classes. I have been forced to the conclusion that the Philippines are suffering from too much government; and it is not in the interest of American prestige that this state of things should continue”—An American Tourist in the Philippines.”]

Numerous complaints were uttered during last week by civil government employees granted leave of absence, but unable to secure transportation to the United States. Many of these men and women have been serving the government in out-of the-way places in the Philippines, and they have looked forward to their leave as an opportunity of joining for a brief space the old folks at home. Instead, they find themselves paying hotel rates they can ill afford in Manila, because the Pacific liners are all booked-up away ahead, and the civil government’s toy transports cannot make the distance.