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For better or for worse. Editorial for April 28, 1934

April 28, 1934

For better or for worse

ANOTHER momentous event in Philippine history will occur when the legislature meets in special session to accept the Tydings-McDuffie independence law. Exactly thirty-six years after Dewey’s thundering guns sounded the prelude to American occupation of the Philippines, the Philippine legislature will meet to take the decisive step toward the final withdrawal of the United States from the islands.

Once the independence law has been accepted, the die will have been cast, the Rubicon crossed. There can then be no turning back from the high adventure upon which the Philippines will have embarked, no seeking of shelter from the buffets and blows of a selfish and remorseless world. For better or for worse, for weal or for woe, the game must be played out to the end.

The Philippines stand at the threshold of a new world, a new experience. This country will need courage and daring and a will to work and a capacity to suffer. Above all it will need a mighty and transcendental patriotism in the period ahead of it. God forbid that this glorious venture shall be wrecked upon the shoals of disillusionment, or despair or cynical, self-seeking, disregard of the public welfare.

House passes McDuffie Bill; Tydings measure before senate, March 24, 1934

House passes McDuffie Bill;  Tydings measure before senate


By James Wingo

Free Press Washington correspondent

March 24, 1934–HISTORY repeated itself in the congress of the United States this week when, under suspension of rules, the house of representatives passed a Philippine independence bill with debate limited to 40 minutes.

Almost two years ago, on April 4, 1932, to be exact, the house passed the Hare bill. On March 19, 1934, it passed the McDuffie bill, in most respects a duplicate of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill which was finally substituted for the original Hare bill.

On both occasions that grizzled veteran of many a congressional battle, Resident Commissioner Pedro Guevara, rose to praise the measure being enacted. On both occasions one or two opponents of the bill spoke against it, although well recognizing the futility of doing so. Two years ago a vote was taken, and 306 members votes yea while only 42 answered nay. This week, so certain was the outcome, no vote was recorded; the bill was simply passed by acclamation.

Guevara praises bill

Rising to the opportunity presented him, Commissioner Guevara delivered a brilliant oration, until he was cut short by the presiding officer when his time was up.

Of the Filipinos in Washington only Isauro Gabaldon rose to oppose the measure. “This is the worst possible bill that could be passed for the Philippines,” he shouted, and refused to avail himself of his privilege, as a former member of congress, of sitting on the floor of the house when the bill was passed.

Real liberty measure

Senate President Quezon, also a former resident commissioner, did appear on the floor of the house and issued a formal statement declaring “This is a real independence measure.” He also had the pleasure of hearing his work praised by Rep. John McDuffie.

Congressmen who opposed the measure were scarcely heard in the rush to pass the McDuffie bill. But Rep. Robert L. Bacon, who once wanted to sever Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines, did cry out that “This bill was backed by the sugar and coconut oil lobbyists.” And Rep. Charles J. Colden, a newcomer in Philippine discussions, declared, “I am of the opinion that this whole so-called independence movement is financed by the sugar trust.”

Congressmen favoring the measure, sure of its passage, did not waste their time in supporting it. They were content with the house committee’s recommendation, which declared the bill would be accepted by the Filipino people, and added that changes deemed advisable would be made in the future.

When Representative McDuffie declared, in the course of the brief debate on the floor of the house, that the United States had agreed to give up its military bases in the Philippines, Republican members wanted to know what would happen to the naval bases. “They will be retained by the United States,” declared the author of the independence bill, “pending a conference between the president and the representatives of the independent Philippines.”

While the house thus rushed the McDuffie bill through in a hurry, the senate, ever jealous of its deliberative prerogatives, preferred to act somewhat more leisurely. So when the Tydings bill was called up, no gag rule was adopted, and everyone who wanted to speak was allowed to do so.

That perennial advocate of immediate independence, Sen. William King of beet-growing Utah, cried, “It’s an immoral outrage that we haven’t freed the Philippines long ago.”

Addressing the senate Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan insisted, “Let us make no mistake; this is the same bill that the Filipinos rejected. It is the same old bill that had been vetoed by President Hoover, pilloried by the American press and attacked by American agriculture.”

Senator Vandenberg recommended the King bill for senators who felt no responsibility toward the Philippines; his own bill, of immediate independence with 10 years of reciprocal trade relations, for those who felt a responsibility toward the Philippines.

But passage on the Tydings bill, described by the senate committee as “sound, feasible and orderly process granting independence under conditions which will be just and fair to American and Filipino interests,” was a foregone conclusion.

Gearing for elections

So sure of this were members of the Quezon mission that they began to pack up preparatory to leaving Washington. A mission spokesman said they would depart the end of the month, returning to Manila via Europe.

In the Philippines, with the enactment of the new legislation a certainty, interest was focused largely on the coming elections. In Cebu Sen. Sergio Osmeña was laying the groundwork for what he hoped would be a sweeping victory for his ticket.

In Bacon, Sorsogon, occurred the first serious fight of the current campaign, when Juan Diaz, pro member of the provincial board, pulled a revolver and seriously wounded Justo Dilloza, former municipal president. The shooting was preceded by a  heated discussion about the H-H-C Act.

A new deal? Editorial for February 3, 1934

A new deal?

February 3, 1934–STILL tempest-tost is the bark of Philippine independence.

Buffeted by fierce winds and under lowering skies, steering no sure and certain course, it plunges onward, whither no one knows.

Never has the Philippine question been subject to such variable influences and so much the sport of apparently blind fate and changing circumstance. Scarcely a day but ushers in some new aspect, some unexpected transformation.

When the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill was passed it seemed for a time that something like finality had been reached, that at last the long struggle was at an end. But it was only a short period till that illusion was shattered and the whole question again thrown into the arena of controversy and dubiety.

More recently has come the conflict waged in Washington. There again the issue has been precipitated anew. President, cabinet, senate, and house have become involved; the press has taken up the cudgels pro and con; and different societies and organizations and interests and partisans have ranged themselves on one side or the other.

For a time it looked as if Quezon and his cause might prosper; then came the Osias coup and victory had apparently perched on the banners of the Osrox faction; now at this writing the Quezon auspices appear a little more favorable.

Meanwhile, however, into the political melee has been injected the economic factor in the form of the action of the house committee on ways and means with its levy of an excise tax on coconut oil.

Important in itself for the effect it would have on one of the chief industries of these islands, yet even more important is the influence this measure may exert on the whole question of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill and independence. Should the negotiations now pending result in a solution satisfactory to the large farm or dairy interests of the United States, and, on top of that, should a quota agreement be reached with regard to sugar, as now seems possible, the entire aspects of the situation at Washington as concerns the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill and independence will have been changed. For essentially the main driving power behind that measure has been that of the sugar and dairy interests.

With those interests removed from the scene and indifferent as to what happens the Philippines, the independence question would take on an absolutely different complexion. The economic factor eliminated, there would be left only the political and international features, and those would depend largely on the policies of the United States with regard to the Far East and be handled chiefly administratively.

The issue is still doubtful, but the Philippines may see a new deal.

End

Looking back on the year of hare-splitting, Man of the Year, 1933

January 6, 1934

Looking back on the year of hare-splitting

By James G. Wingo

 

ON THE Philippine scene 1933 was fated to be nothing but a political year with much wrangling, squabbling, bickering and hairsplitting among the acknowledged leaders of the land over a piece of legislation passed by the last lame duck congress of the United States in its final convulsions and willed to the Philippine people as a left-handed bequest. This measure was fathered by a mediocre lame duck from the backward Carolinas, who was chairman of the lower house’s committee on insular affairs. His name was Hare, Butler B. Hare. After him must be named the year through which we have passed. Without a grain of salt your historian christens 1933 the year of Hare-splitting.

In the events of 1933, a little, thin, wizened, sharp-faced light-complexioned, graying man in his fifties played the leading dramatic role. He was the man of destiny. Upon him depended the fate of 13,000,000 people. Any gesture or remark he made was destined to go down in history. No Filipino can present better claims to be the Man of the Year than Manuel Luis Quezon, president of the Philippine senate. He outshone Sergio Osmeña in almost every political skirmish in the year of Hare-splitting.