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The Commonwealth of the Philippines ( es, Commonwealth de Filipinas or ''Mancomunidad de Filipinas''; tl, Kómonwélt ng Pilipinas or ''Malasariling Pámahalaán ng Pilipinas'') was the administrative body that governed the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
from 1935 to 1946, aside from a period of exile in the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
from 1942 to 1945 when Japan occupied the country. It was established following the
Tydings–McDuffie Act The Tydings–McDuffie Act, officially the Philippine Independence Act (), is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a gro ...
to replace the
Insular Government The Insular Government of the Philippine IslandsThis form of the name appeared in the titles of U.S. Supreme Court cases, but was otherwise rarely used. See Costas v. Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, 221 U.S. 623, 1911. The Admin ...
, a United States territorial government.. The Commonwealth was designed as a transitional administration in preparation for the country's full achievement of independence. Its foreign affairs remained managed by the United States. During its more than a decade of existence, the Commonwealth had a strong
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government) The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organiz ...
and a Supreme Court. Its legislature, dominated by the
Nacionalista Party The Nacionalista Party (Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), ...
, was at first unicameral, but later bicameral. In 1937, the government selected
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
– the language of
Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), officially the City of Manila ( fil, Lungsod ng Maynila, ), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are ...

Manila
and its surrounding provinces – as the basis of the
national language A national language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
, although it would be many years before its usage became general.
Women's suffrage Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the mid-19th century, aside from the work being done by women for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting law ...
was adopted and the
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
recovered to its pre-
Depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
level before the Japanese occupation in 1942. The Commonwealth government went into exile from 1942 to 1945, when the Philippines was under Japanese occupation. In 1946, the Commonwealth ended and the Philippines claimed full sovereignty as provided for in Article XVIII of the 1935 Constitution.


Names

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was also known as the "Philippine Commonwealth",. or simply as "the Commonwealth". Its official name in Spanish, the other of the Commonwealth's two official languages, was (). The 1935 Constitution uses "the Philippines" as the country's short-form name throughout its provisions and uses "the Philippine Islands" only to refer to pre-1935 status and institutions. Under the
Insular Government The Insular Government of the Philippine IslandsThis form of the name appeared in the titles of U.S. Supreme Court cases, but was otherwise rarely used. See Costas v. Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, 221 U.S. 623, 1911. The Admin ...
(1901–1935), both terms were used officially.See for example, the Jones Law of 1916, which uses "Philippines" and "Philippine Islands" interchangeably. In 1937, Tagalog was declared to be the basis of a national language, effective after two years. The country's official name translated into Tagalog would be ().


History


Creation

The pre-1935 U.S. territorial administration, or Insular Government, was headed by a governor general who was appointed by the president of the United States. In December 1932, the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...

U.S. Congress
passed the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act with the premise of granting
Filipinos Filipinos ( fil, Mga Pilipino) are the people who are citizens of or native to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Re ...
independence. Provisions of the law included reserving several military and naval bases for the United States, as well as imposing tariffs and quotas on Philippine exports. When it reached him for possible signature, President
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
vetoed the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act, but the American Congress overrode Hoover's veto in 1933 and passed the law over Hoover's objections. The bill, however, was opposed by the then- Philippine Senate President
Manuel L. Quezon Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina, (, ; 19 August 1878 – 1 August 1944), also referred to by his initials MLQ, was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''F ...
and was also rejected by the
Philippine Senate The Senate of the Philippines (Filipino language, Filipino: ''Senado ng Pilipinas'', also ''Mataas na Kapulungan ng Pilipinas'' or "upper chamber") is the upper house of Congress of the Philippines, Congress, the bicameral legislature of the Phi ...
. This led to the creation and passing of the
Tydings–McDuffie Act The Tydings–McDuffie Act, officially the Philippine Independence Act (), is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a gro ...
Officially, th
Philippine Independence Act
; ; approved on March 24, 1934.
or the Philippine Independence Act, which allowed the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a ten-year period of peaceful transition to full independence – the date of which was to be on the 4th of July following the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth. A Constitutional Convention was convened in
Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), officially the City of Manila ( fil, Lungsod ng Maynila, ), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are ...

Manila
on July 30, 1934. On February 8, 1935, the 1935 Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was approved by the convention by a vote of 177 to 1. The constitution was approved by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
on March 23, 1935, and ratified by popular vote on May 14, 1935. On September 16, 1935,
presidential elections President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese full- ...
were held. Candidates included former president
Emilio Aguinaldo Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (: March 22, 1869February 6, 1964) was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Phi ...

Emilio Aguinaldo
, the ''
Iglesia Filipina Independiente The Philippine Independent Church ( es, Iglesia Filipina Independiente; tl, Malayang Simbahan ng Pilipinas; la, Libera Ecclesia Philippina; colloquially called the Aglipayan Church, IFI and PIC) is an independent Christian denomination A Chr ...
'' leader
Gregorio Aglipay Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayán ( la, Gregorius Aglipay; Filipino: ''Gregorio Labayan Aglipay Cruz''; 5 May 1860 – 1 September 1940) was a former Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List ...

Gregorio Aglipay
, and others. Manuel L. Quezon and
Sergio Osmeña Sergio Osmeña Sr. (, ; 9 September 1878 – 19 October 1961) was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of t ...
of the
Nacionalista Party The Nacionalista Party (Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), ...
were proclaimed the winners, winning the seats of president and vice-president, respectively. The Commonwealth government was inaugurated on the morning of November 15, 1935, in ceremonies held on the steps of the Legislative Building in Manila. The event was attended by a crowd of around 300,000 people.


Pre-War

The new government embarked on ambitious nation-building policies in preparation for economic and political independence. These included national defense (such as the
National Defense Act of 1935 {{Infobox legislation , long_title = An Act to provide National Defense of the Philippines, penalizing certain violations thereof, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes , citation Commonwealth Act No. 1, territorial_extent = Philipp ...
, which organized a
conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Mili ...

conscription
for service in the country), greater control over the
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
, the perfection of democratic institutions, reforms in education, improvement of transport, the promotion of local capital, industrialization, and the colonization of
Mindanao Mindanao () is the List of islands of the Philippines, second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon and List of islands by population, seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the southern region of the archipelago, the ...
. However, uncertainties, especially in the diplomatic and military situation in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, in the level of U.S. commitment to the future
Republic of the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
, and in the economy due to the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, proved to be major problems. The situation was further complicated by the presence of agrarian unrest, and of power struggles between Osmeña and Quezon, especially after Quezon was permitted to be re-elected after one six-year term. A proper evaluation of the policies' effectiveness or failure is difficult due to Japanese invasion and
occupation Occupation commonly refers to: *Occupation or job, one's role in society, often a regular activity performed for payment *Occupation (protest), political demonstration by holding public or symbolic spaces *Military occupation, the martial control ...
during World War II.


World War II

Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
launched a surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941. The Commonwealth government drafted the
Philippine Army The Philippine Army (PA) (Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), ...
into the U.S. Army Forces Far East, which would resist Japanese occupation. Manila was declared an
open city In war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...
to prevent its destruction, and it was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. Meanwhile, battles against the Japanese continued on the
Bataan Peninsula Bataan ( ; tl, Lalawigan ng Bataan ; pam, Lalauígan ning Bataan) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, ...
,
Corregidor Corregidor Island ( tl, Pulo ng Corregidor ) is an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the southwestern part of Luzon in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor has historically been fortification, fortified with coastal ar ...
, and
Leyte Leyte ( ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), someti ...
until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces in May 1942. Quezon and Osmeña were escorted by troops from Manila to
Corregidor Corregidor Island ( tl, Pulo ng Corregidor ) is an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the southwestern part of Luzon in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor has historically been fortification, fortified with coastal ar ...

Corregidor
, and later left for Australia prior to going to the U.S., where they set up a government in exile, based at the
Shoreham Hotel The Omni Shoreham Hotel is a hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C., owned by Omni Hotels. It is located one block west of the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street. It is located across Calvert Street from another major hotel, the ...
, in Washington, D.C. This government participated in the
Pacific War Council The Pacific War Council was an inter-governmental body established in 1942 and intended to control the Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to a ...

Pacific War Council
as well as the
Declaration by United Nations The Declaration by United Nations was the main treaty that formalized the Allies of World War II and was signed by 47 national governments between 1942 and 1945. On New Year's Day 1942, during the Arcadia Conference, the Allied "Four Policemen, B ...
. Quezon became ill with tuberculosis and died from it, with Osmeña succeeding him as president. The main general headquarters of the
Philippine Commonwealth Army The Philippine Army was established on December 21, 1935 as the Army of the Philippines, with a general headquarters in Manila, and units and formations based throughout the provinces of the Philippines. The Philippine Army was initially orga ...
(PCA), located on the military station in
Ermita, Manila Ermita is a district in Manila, Philippines. Located at the central part of the city, the district is a significant center of finance, education, culture, and commerce. Ermita serves as the civic center of the city, bearing the seat of city gov ...
, was closed down on December 24, 1941. It was taken over by the Japanese Imperial forces when these occupied the city on January 2, 1942. Elsewhere in the country, other military posts of the PCA in
Luzon Luzon (; ) is the largest and most populous List of islands in the Philippines, island in the Philippines. It is ranked List of islands by area, 15th largest in the world by land area. Located in the northern portion of the archipelago, it is the ...
,
Visayas The Visayas ( ), or the Visayan Islands (Visayan Visayans ( Visayan: ''Mga Bisaya'', ) or Visayan people, are a Philippine ethnolinguistic group native to the whole Visayas The Visayas ( ), or the Visayan Islands (Bisayan languages, Visayan ...
and
Mindanao Mindanao () is the List of islands of the Philippines, second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon and List of islands by population, seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the southern region of the archipelago, the ...
engaged in military action against the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Japanese military organized a new government in the Philippines known as the
Second Philippine Republic The Second Philippine Republic, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines ( tl, Repúbliká ng Pilipinas; es, República de Filipinas; ja, フィリピン共和国, ''Firipin-kyōwakoku'') and also known as the Japanese-sponsored Phi ...
, headed by president José P. Laurel. This pro-Japanese government became very unpopular. Resistance to the Japanese occupation continued in the Philippines. This included the ''
Hukbalahap The Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (literally, "People's Army Against the Japanese"), better known by the acronym Hukbalahap (the Huks), was a communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the I ...
'' ("People's Army Against the Japanese"), which consisted of 30,000 armed men and controlled much of
Central Luzon Central Luzon ( pam, Kalibudtarang Luzon, pag, Pegley na Luzon, tgl, Gitnang Luzon, ilo, Tengnga ti Luzon), designated as Region III, is an Regions of the Philippines, administrative region in the Philippines, primarily serving to organize th ...
; they attacked both the Japanese and other non-Huk guerrillas. Remnants of the Philippine Army, as well as unsurrendered Americans, also successfully fought the Japanese through
guerrilla warfare Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare Irregular warfare (IW) is defined in United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States ...
. These efforts eventually liberated all but 12 of the 48
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

provinces
.
General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
Douglas MacArthur , birth_date = , birth_place = Little Rock, Arkansas (The Little Rock, The "Little Rock") , government_type = council-manager government, Council-manager , leader_title = List of mayors of Lit ...

Douglas MacArthur
's army landed on Leyte on October 20, 1944, as well as the Philippine Commonwealth troops who arrived in other
amphibious landing Amphibious warfare is a type of Offensive (military), offensive military operation that today uses naval ships to project ground and air power onto a hostile or potentially hostile shore at a designated landing beach. Through history the opera ...
s. The
Philippine Constabulary The Philippine Constabulary (PC; tl, Hukbóng Pamayapà ng Pilipinas, ''HPP''; es, Policía de Filipinas, ''PF'') was a gendarmerie Wrong info! --> A vedette of the French ''Gendarmerie Maritime'' in La Rochelle harbour A ...
was placed on active service with the
Philippine Commonwealth Army The Philippine Army was established on December 21, 1935 as the Army of the Philippines, with a general headquarters in Manila, and units and formations based throughout the provinces of the Philippines. The Philippine Army was initially orga ...
and re-established on October 28, 1944, to June 30, 1946, during the Allied liberation to Post-World War II era. Fighting continued in remote corners of the Philippines until Japan's surrender in August 1945, which was signed on September 2 in Tokyo Bay. Estimates of Filipino war dead reached one million, and Manila was extensively damaged when Japanese marines refused to vacate the city when ordered to do so by the Japanese High Command. After the war in the Philippines, the Commonwealth was restored and a one-year transitional period in preparation for independence began. Elections followed in April 1946 with
Manuel Roxas Manuel Acuña Roxas (; born Manuel Roxas y Acuña; January 1, 1892 – April 15, 1948) was the fifth President of the Philippines The president of the Philippines ( fil, Pangulo ng Pilipinas, sometimes referred to as ''Presidente ng Pil ...

Manuel Roxas
winning as the first president of the independent
Republic of the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
and
Elpidio Quirino Elpidio Rivera Quirino (born Elpidio Quirino y Rivera; November 16, 1890 – February 29, 1956) was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), ...
winning as vice-president.


Independence

The Commonwealth ended when the U.S. recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946, as scheduled. However, the economy remained dependent on the U.S. This was due to the
Bell Trade Act The Bell Trade Act of 1946, also known as the Philippine Trade Act, was an act passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, ...
, otherwise known as the Philippine Trade Act, which was a precondition for receiving war rehabilitation grants from the United States.


Policies


Uprisings and agrarian reform

During the Commonwealth period,
tenant farmer A tenant farmer is one who resides on land owned by a landlord A landlord is the owner of a house A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less perma ...

tenant farmer
s held grievances often rooted to debt caused by the
sharecropping Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range ...
system, as well as by the dramatic increase in population, which added economic pressure to the tenant farmers' families. As a result, an
agrarian reform Agrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land Agricultural land is typically land ''devoted to'' agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cult ...
program was initiated by the Commonwealth. However, success of the program was hampered by ongoing clashes between tenants and landowners. An example of these clashes includes one initiated by
Benigno Ramos :''See Pugad Baboy for the Filipino comic character Igno who shares this name.'' Benigno "Ben Ruben" Ramos y Pantaleón (February 10, 1892 – disappeared 1946) was a Filipino author, writer, organization founder, politician and was an advocate f ...
through his '' Sakdalista'' movement, which advocated tax reductions, land reforms, the breakup of the large estates or ''
hacienda A ''hacienda'' ( or ; or ), in the colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original count ...

hacienda
s'', and the severing of American ties. The uprising, which occurred in Central Luzon in May 1935, claimed about a hundred lives.


National language

As per the 1935 constitution, the commonwealth had two official languages: English and Spanish. Due to the diverse number of
Philippine languages The Philippine languages are a proposed group by R. David Paul Zorc (1986) and Robert Blust Robert A. Blust (born 1940, ) is a prominent linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system ...
, a provision calling for the "development and adoption of a common national language based on the existing native dialects" was drafted into the 1935 constitution. In 1936, the national assembly enacted Commonwealth Act No. 184, creating the '' Surián ng Wikang Pambansà'' (National Language Institute). This body was initially composed of President Quezon and six other members from various
ethnic groups An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ances ...
. Deliberations were made and in 1937,Executive Order No. 134, s. 1937 the body selected
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
, as the basis for the national language; this was made effective after two years. In 1940, the government authorized the creation of a
dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetical order, alphabetically (or by radical-and-stroke sorting, radical and stroke for ideographic languages), which may include in ...

dictionary
and grammar book for the language. In that same year, Commonwealth Act 570 was passed, allowing
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipin ...
to become an official language upon independence.


Economy

The cash economy of the Commonwealth was mostly agriculture-based. Products included abaca, coconuts and coconut oil, sugar, and timber. Numerous other crops and livestock were grown for local consumption by the Filipino people. Other sources for foreign income included the spin-off from money spent at American military bases on the Philippines such as the naval base at
Subic Bay Subic may refer to: * Šubić family The Šubić family was one of the Twelve noble tribes of Croatia and a great noble house which constituted Croatian statehood in the Middle Ages. They held the county of Bribir (Dalmatia), Bribir (''Varvaria'') ...
and
Clark Air Base Clark Air Base is a Philippine Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located west of Angeles City, about northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was previously a United States military facility, operated by the U.S. Air Force ...
(with U.S. Army airplanes there as early as 1919), both on the island of
Luzon Luzon (; ) is the largest and most populous List of islands in the Philippines, island in the Philippines. It is ranked List of islands by area, 15th largest in the world by land area. Located in the northern portion of the archipelago, it is the ...
. The performance of the economy was initially good despite challenges from various agrarian uprisings. Taxes collected from a robust coconut industry helped boost the economy by funding infrastructure and other development projects. However, growth was halted due to the outbreak of World War II.


Demographics

In 1939, a census of the Philippines was taken and determined that it had a population of 16,000,303; of these 15.7 million were counted as "
Brown Brown is a composite color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories called ''blue'', ''green'', ''red'', ...
", 141.8 thousand as "
Yellow Yellow is the color between green and Orange (colour), orange on the Visible spectrum, spectrum of visible light. It is evoked by light with a dominant wavelength of roughly 575585 Nanometre, nm. It is a primary color in subtractive color syst ...
", 19.3 thousand as "
White White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
", 29.1 thousand as "
Negro In the English language, negro is a term historically used to denote persons considered to be of Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light Light or visible light is electromagneti ...
", 50.5 thousand as " Mixed", and under 1 thousand "Other". In 1941, the estimated population of the Philippines reached 17,000,000; there were 117,000
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...
, 30,000
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
, and 9,000
Americans Americans are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recogn ...
.
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication use ...

English
was spoken by 26.3% of the population, according to the 1939 Census.
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, after English overtook it beginning in the 1920s, became a language for the elite and in government; it was later banned during the Japanese occupation. Estimated numbers of speakers of the dominant languages: * Cebuano: 4,620,685 *
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
: 3,068,565 * Ilocano: 2,353,518 * Hiligaynon: 1,951,005 *
WarayWaray may refer to: * Waray people of the Philippines * Waray language, the fifth most spoken native language of the Philippines, spoken by the Waray people * Waray literature * Warray language, an Australian language spoken in the Adelaide River ar ...
: 920,009 *
Kapampangan Kapampangan, Capampañgan or Pampangan may refer to: *Kapampangan people of the Philippines *Kapampangan language {{disambig Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
: 621,455 *
Pangasinan Pangasinan, officially the Province of Pangasinan ( pag, Luyag na Pangasinan, ; ilo, Probinsia ti Pangasinan; tl, Lalawigan ng Pangasinan) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative div ...
: 573,752


Government

The Commonwealth had its own constitution, which remained effective after independence until 1973, and was self-governing although foreign policy and military affairs would be under the responsibility of the United States, and Laws passed by the legislature affecting immigration, foreign trade, and the currency system had to be approved by the United States president. Despite maintaining ultimate sovereignty, in some ways the US Government treated the Commonwealth as a sovereign state, and the Philippines sometimes acted in a state capacity in international relations. During the 1935–41 period, the Commonwealth of the Philippines featured a very strong
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government) The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organiz ...
, a unicameral
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media L ...
, and a
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
, all composed entirely of Filipinos, as well as an elected
Resident Commissioner Resident commissioner was or is an official title of several different types of commissioner A commissioner is, in principle, a member of a commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remunerat ...
to the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the United S ...
(as
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
does today). An American High Commissioner and an American
Military Advisor Military advisors, or combat advisors advise on military matters. Some are soldiers sent to foreign countries to aid such countries with their military training, organization, and other various military tasks. The Foreign powers or organizations ma ...
, Douglas MacArthur headed the latter office from 1937 until the advent of World War II in 1941, holding the military rank of
Field Marshal of the Philippines Field Marshal of the Philippines was a rank created in 1936 to be held by Douglas MacArthur. Douglas MacArthur US Army General Douglas MacArthur was the first and only field marshal in the history of the Philippine Army, a position he held while ...
. After 1946, the rank of field marshal disappeared from the Philippine military. During 1939 and 1940, after an amendment in the Commonwealth's Constitution, a bicameral
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity ...
, consisting of a Senate, and of a
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...

House of Representatives
, was restored, replacing the National Assembly.


Politics


List of presidents

The colors indicate the political party or coalition of each president at Election Day.


Quezon administration (1935–1944)

In 1935 Quezon won the Philippines' first national presidential election under the banner of the Nacionalista Party. He obtained nearly 68% of the vote against his two main rivals, Emilio Aguinaldo and Bishop
Gregorio Aglipay Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayán ( la, Gregorius Aglipay; Filipino: ''Gregorio Labayan Aglipay Cruz''; 5 May 1860 – 1 September 1940) was a former Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List ...

Gregorio Aglipay
. Quezon was inaugurated on November 15, 1935. He is recognized as the second
President of the Philippines The president of the Philippines ( fil, Pangulo ng Pilipinas, sometimes referred to as ''Presidente ng Pilipinas'') is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or person ...
. When
Manuel L. Quezon Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina, (, ; 19 August 1878 – 1 August 1944), also referred to by his initials MLQ, was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''F ...
was inaugurated President of the Philippines in 1935, he became the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines since Emilio Aguinaldo and the
Malolos Republic The Philippine Republic ( es, República Filipina), more commonly known by historians as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic, was a polity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activi ...
in 1898. However, in January 2008, Congressman Rodolfo Valencia of
Oriental Mindoro Oriental Mindoro ( tl, Silangang Mindoro: ilo, Amianan nga Mindoro; Hiligaynon language, Hiligaynon: ''Sidlanganong Mindoro''; es, Mindoro Oriental) is a Provinces of the Philippines, province in the Philippines located on the island of Mindoro ...
filed a bill seeking instead to declare General
Miguel Malvar Miguel Malvar y Carpio (September 27, 1865 – October 13, 1911) was a Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the ...
as the second Philippine President, who took control over all Filipino forces after American soldiers captured President Emilio Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901. Quezon had originally been barred by the Philippine constitution from seeking re-election. However, in 1940, constitutional amendments were ratified allowing him to seek re-election for a fresh term ending in 1943. In the 1941 presidential elections, Quezon was re-elected over former Senator
Juan Sumulong Juan Marquez Sumulong Sr. (born Juan Sumulong y Marquez; December 27, 1875 – January 9, 1942) was a Filipino former Philippine revolution, revolutionary, journalist, lawyer, educator and politician from the province of Rizal. He was the preside ...
with nearly 82% of the vote. In a notable humanitarian act, Quezon, in cooperation with U.S. High Commissioner
Paul V. McNutt Paul Vories McNutt (July 19, 1891 – March 24, 1955) was an American diplomat and politician who served as the 34th governor of Indiana, high commissioner to the Philippines, administrator of the Federal Security Agency The Federal Sec ...
, facilitated the entry into the Philippines of
Jewish refugees This article lists expulsions, refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region In g ...
fleeing
fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particular ...

fascist
regimes in Europe. Quezon was also instrumental in promoting a project to resettle the refugees in Mindanao. The
Japanese invasion of the Philippines Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan, an archipelago country in East Asia * Japanese language, spoken mainly in Japan * Japanese people, the ethnic group that identifies with Japan through culture or ancestry ** Japanese di ...
began with an invasion of Batan Island on December 8, 1941. When advancing Japanese forces threatened Manila, President Quezon, other senior officials of the Commonwealth government, and senior American military commanders relocated to
Corregidor island Corregidor Island ( tl, Pulo ng Corregidor ) is an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the southwestern part of Luzon in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor has historically been fortification, fortified with coastal ar ...

Corregidor island
, and Manila was declared an
open city In war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...
. On February 20, Quezon, his family, and senior officials of the Commonwealth government were evacuated from the island by submarine on the first leg of what came to be a relocation of the Government in exile of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Commonwealth government in exile to the U.S. Quezon suffered from tuberculosis and spent his last years in a "Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake, cure cottage" in Saranac Lake, New York, Saranac Lake, NY, where he died on August 1, 1944. He was initially buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His body was later carried by the and re-interred in Manila at the Manila North Cemetery in 1979, his remains were moved to Quezon City within the monument at the Quezon Memorial Circle.


Osmeña administration (1944–1946)

Osmeña became president of the Commonwealth on Quezon's death in 1944. He returned to the Philippines the same year with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces. After the war Osmeña restored the Commonwealth government and the various executive departments. He continued the fight for Philippine independence. For the presidential election of 1946 Osmeña refused to campaign, saying that the Filipino people knew of his record of 40 years of honest and faithful service. Nevertheless, he was defeated by
Manuel Roxas Manuel Acuña Roxas (; born Manuel Roxas y Acuña; January 1, 1892 – April 15, 1948) was the fifth President of the Philippines The president of the Philippines ( fil, Pangulo ng Pilipinas, sometimes referred to as ''Presidente ng Pil ...

Manuel Roxas
, who won 54% of the vote and became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines.


Roxas Administration (May 28, 1946 – July 4, 1946)

Roxas served as the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in a brief period, from his subsequent election on May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946, the scheduled date of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. Roxas prepared the groundwork for the advent of a free and independent Philippines, assisted by the Congress (reorganized May 25, 1946), with Senator José Avelino as the Senate President and Congressman Eugenio Pérez as the House of Representatives Speaker. On June 3, 1946, Roxas appeared for the first time before the joint session of the Congress to deliver his first State of the Nation Address (Philippines), state of the nation address. Among other things, he told the members of the Congress the grave problems and difficulties the Philippines were set to face and reported on his special trip to the U.S. – the approval for independence. On June 21, he reappeared in another joint session of the Congress and urged the acceptance of two important laws passed by the U.S. Congress on April 30, 1946, regarding the Philippine lands. They are the Tydings–McDuffie Act, Philippine Rehabilitation Act and the Bell Trade Act, Philippine Trade Act. Both recommendations were accepted by the Congress.


See also

* Commonwealth (U.S. insular area) * Political history of the Philippines * History of the Philippines * Philippine Organic Act (1902) * Jones Law (Philippines) Philippines Organic Act (1916) * Treaty of Paris (1898) * Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 * Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act (1932)


Notes


References


Bibliography

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External links

* , detailing the functions of the different branches of the Philippine Commonwealth. * . * . * . {{DEFAULTSORT:Philippines, Commonwealth Of Commonwealth of the Philippines, States and territories disestablished in 1946 History of the Philippines (1898–1946) Former countries in Philippine history Former republics, Philippine Commonwealth Former regions and territories of the United States Governments in exile during World War II History of United States expansionism Military history of the Philippines during World War II Philippines–United States relations States and territories established in 1935 1935 establishments in the Philippines 1946 disestablishments in the Philippines Former polities of the Cold War