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The Commonwealth Army – Part I – Beginnings

Filipino Constabulary 1905by Sonny

with excerpts from the book “The Commonwealth Army” by Professor Ricardo Trota Jose

“… an army which like the eagle, exuded confidence and security while suffering, behind its proud mien, a multitude of perplexing problems. War reached the Philippines before all the problems could be identified and addressed …”

Antecedent Chronology

Independence missions to US from 1920s, 1930s culminated in Feb, 1930, when the First Independence Congress was formed in Manila; President Roosevelt on March 24, 1934 approved the Tydings-McDuffie Act which provided for the creation of a 10-year PH Commonwealth as precursor to granting of independence in 1946; this in turn was approved by the colonial Senate on May 1, 1934; In July 10, 1934 delegates were elected for a constitutional convention; March 23, 1935 Roosevelt approved Commonwealth Constitution; and then in Nov 1935, the Commonwealth was created/inaugurated, withQuezon as President;

Backtrack to the period before 1934

The First Philippine commission sent by President McKinley acknowledged the independence aspirations of the Filipinos but also added they were not ready to govern themselves. And so the First Philippine Commission recommended the establishment of a civilian govt as rapidly as possible. This meant the substitution of a civilian governor in place of the military governor. This also included the establishment of a bicameral legislature, autonomous govts in the provincial and municipal levels and system of free elementary public schools. The Second Philippine Commission (March, 1900) under William Howard Taft was also given limited executive powers. Between 1900 and 1902, the legislature created 499 laws.

At the end of The Philippine-American War, after July 4, 1901, it must be noted that the participants of the war in general reverted to civilian life and dispersed into the colonial life of the nation.

The colonial “military” community consisted of the Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Scouts, Philippine National Guard and various semi-military groups unconnected with conventional troops and finally ROTC groups sponsored privately.

In July 1901, the Philippine Constabulary was established as the police force over the entire islands. At first this consisted of American volunteers mustering out of the US troops. In addition there were auditors from other nationalities such as Belgians, Irish, Poles, French, German, Italian, Turks, Cuban. Most had foreign war experiences, the rest were recruited from the local provinces and towns.

The period from 1902 through 1934 witnessed the consolidation of civilian life and was marked by the pursuit of socio-economic concerns. Aside from these, the same period saw the movement towards independence.

The Philippine Scouts (Sep, 1899 – 1945), civilians initially recruited from Central Luzon to serve as guides, boatmen, occasionally fighters attached to American volunteers, then numbered by July, 1901, 34 companies (7 Macabebe, 11 Ilocano, 4 Cagayano, 1 Bohol, 1 Cebu, 2 Negros, 8 Panay). Many recruits served in the Spanish-Philippine conflict and the Philippine-American one.

Philippine National Guard (1917 – end of WW1), 15,800. The division was a federal body that was formed by Quezon to show loyalty and allegiance to the US. They were trained 3 months but disbanded right after WW1.

Semi-military groups (1912): These had no connection to conventional troops, but rather were privately sponsored – ROTC units from UP and Ateneo de Manila. Later on encouraged by Governor Leonard Wood, units from other colleges in Manila underwent training as long as officers were available. Similar groups were the First Semi-military Unit of Insular Employees (1923), National Volunteers of the Philippines (1932) composed of politicians, lawyers, landowners; the Phil Reserve Officers Associations (PROA, 1920s) composed of reserve officers, US Army.

When the first Philippine Independence Congress was formed in Manila in Feb, 1930 the matter of national defense was not foremost in the minds of the majority of politicians. Discussions instead were done at informal meetings of national defense groups and from these a pervasive attitude there was a trust that deferred to organizations such as the League of Nations and treaties like the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. Quezon listened to these discussions but quietly decided to seek counsel with Gen MacArthur (Chief of Staff, US Army, 1932-1937) on the subject of national defense. Before this assignment, MacArthur had three tours of duty in the Philippines and had a special affection for the islands.

On March 24, 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was approved. This legislation guaranteed the granting of Philippine independence. As provided by the Act, on 1934 July 30, the National Assembly elected delegates to the Constitutional Convention. The Committee of National Defense (CND) was created (Jose Alejandrino, chairman, Teodoro Sandiko, Antonio Montesa), all three were generals in the Revolutionary Army. On Aug 6, the Committee recommended to Constitutional Convention provisions on: compulsory military service, organization of a standing army and militia, compulsory civil service, nationalization and organization of industries, essential resources, transportation, communications related to defense, and created the Department of National Defense to oversee national defense and control a national police force. The Committee of National Defense recommended 2 general principles on policy of national defense: 1- renounce war as national policy, and follow International Law’s lead, 2- have the groundwork for mobilization in time of emergency and war. After discussion and debate, both were submitted to the Constitutional Convention.

With Quezon working with MacArthur, in November 1934 the Constitutional Convention put out Bill 735 authored by Claudio Sandoval: title “An Act Creating the Bureau of National Defense in the Government of the Phillippine Islands, Defining Its Powers and Duties;” the Bill covered:

  •  training of officers,
  •  creation of reserve corps of officers and enlisted men,
  •  compulsory military education in schools, colleges, universities,
  •  funding scholarships in military and naval schools in US and other countries

Governor General Frank Murphy vetoed the Bill and asked for more thorough study and consultation with experienced military professionals. In autumn 1934, Quezon went to Washington DC to request that legislation authorizing MacArthur to head a Military Mission to the Philippines, and Quezon formally requested for MacArthur’s services for the Philippines. On this trip Quezon also requested that Secretary of War George Dern include the Philippines in a 1926 Act that detailed the conduct of military missions. In November 1934, MacArthur assigned Lt Col Dwight Eisenhower and Lt Col James Ord to study the most effective and economical means to defend the Philippines. The following December, MacArthur met with Sec Dern and President Roosevelt regarding his Philippine assignment. At this time Governor General Murphy accepts the position of High Commissioner. In the islands, the Constitutional Convention laid the legal groundwork as the technicalities were worked out in the US. The Philippine Legislature authorized the creation of a PC aviation unit and allotted funds for aircraft procurement and pilot and mechanic training. This seemed to signal preparations for the PC to become the new Philippine Army.

National defense discussions continued into 1935. Major Vicente Lim of the Philippine Scouts, the first Filipino graduate of West Point, and Major Fidel Segundo, also of the Philippine Scouts and a West Point graduate, favored an army created from scratch that would create and train its officer corps and grow its own esprit d’corps. L. Siguion Reyna, technical adviser to the secretary of the Interior envisioned an army from the Belgian and Swiss models, operating at maximum effectiveness at minimum cost. A navy is out of the question because of the cost but a coast artillery corps and an air corps could be developed to insure protection from threats at sea. He also stated that a small regular force and large reserve force and militia would be best costwise and pointed out that the army must be useful in times of peace and war lest the country be at risk of overwhelming taxpayers.

Voluntary Service like the US system was least desirable due to slow readiness and was expensive in the long run. Another system from Prussia and Japan consisted of mandatory 2- or 3-year military service from all males. A third system from the Swiss and Australian model reconciling democratic and military strength received most attention.

Even as discussions were still going on, the plan as developed stateside by the US military mission was adopted. The Plan was drawn by then Major Eisenhower from MacArthur’s Army staff and Major James Ord from the Army War College. Their first version was rejected by MacArthur because of cost even though it came from the best parameters: minimization of cost was secondary to effectiveness under Philippine conditions. A second version was drawn requiring 1,500 officers and 19,000 men and the lowest annual cost of 22 million pesos. Because MacArthur’s commitment to Quezon was a 16 million-peso annual cost, The plan was redrawn to a reduction to 930 officers and 7,000 men, a force barely larger than the current Philippine Constabulary force. The resulting shortage of officers and men was to be recovered by an annual increase in recruitment. The standard training time was cut short; the acquisition of equipment and the full achievement of preparedness was spread out over 20 years rather than the 10 year period of the Commonwealth. The rest of the comprehensive details are presented here and virtually lifted from Prof Jose’s enumeration

  • The formation of the more expensive units, the coastal artillery for example, will be deferred. Expenses for the first few years would center on building barracks and and other camp buildings, but after this construction, the resulting savings could be allotted to weapons and equipment procurement, all spread out over the 10-year preindependence period. In order to save further the army’s reserve transportation was not to be organic: buses, cars and trucks for the reserve divisions were to be expropriated from civilian concerns upon threat of war.
  • Basically the plan was to have a small regular force, based on the PC, and a large reserve force. The regular force would provide overall leadership, instructors for reservists’ training , and overhead for the army, as well as maintain peace and order within the country.
  • The trainees themselves would be 20-year-old males, who would register for duty. From the registrants a total of 40,000 would be picked for training for the next year, in two groups of 20,000 men each. In the camps they will learn the basics of military discipline and training and upon completion of the training would pass into the reserve force, liable for call any time that the country needed them. For ten years after that, the reservists would have ten days of refresfer training annually; after that they pass into second reserve, where the period of refresher training was shorter.
  • The plan called for gradual buildup. The first group will consist of 3,000 trainees in order to gain experience in the process and to save money. As officers and trainees become familiar with training procedures and as weapons were procured, more barracks would be built and the trainee classes would be expanded to full quota.
  • Every populated island was to be defended. This would be facilitated by building training camps throughout the country, with the trainees observing their obligations near their homes. Apart from providing bodies of trained men throughout the archipelago, this system would also develop a sense of defending home and family.
  • Registration and training would be obligatory and part of the twenty year old’s duty to the state. The cut in cost of salary will be redirected to construction and the acquisition of weapons and equipment.
  • To avoid long tours of duty and cut costs further, preliminary military training will take place in schools. The basics of sanitation, hygiene, citizenship, military discipline will be taught in primary and secondary schools. The PC could not meet the needed number for officers. Thus these were taken from the Philippine Scouts and the regular US Army. The Philippine Constabulary Academy was now being modeled after West Point and was to become the Philippine Military Academy. Other short term schools for reserve officers were opened. Special training sessions of two months duration for officers to teach pre-military training were created.

Various service units were formed for both regular and reserve branches of the military. This included combat arms for the infantry, field artillery, coast artillery and air corps. Support services included the quartermaster, signal and engineering corps, medical services, other branches for management and maintenance. A new branch of service would be formed, the Offshore Patrol (OSP) the marine arm of the Plan.

On weapons, the cheapest and most effective would be the rule of the day since this was the expensive item of the budget. Obsolescence of weapons must be alerted to constantly.

Tactically the defense plan reflected the backgrounds of the authors, MacArthur, Eisenhower and Ord. The reserves would be organized into divisions, half the size of US regular division for mobility and cost. Divisions will not be saddled by complex supply organization nor expensive organic transportation or equipment.

Quick mobilization, expropriation or confiscation of equipment and transportation would allow the reserve divisions to be formed almost anywhere in the country.

The Philippines would be divided into military districts, based on population rather than area. Within each district, would be a set number of camps and one mobilization center where supplies and equipment would be stocked. Each district would be administratively responsible for the training and organization, as well as mobilization, when necessary, of the reserve divisions assigned to it. Through this method a force that would assure maximum protection in every Island, District and Province of the Philippines could be organized.

The key tactical concept of the plan was the denial of any part of the Philippines to any potential foreign intruder. A cordon system of defense was practically forced on the Philippines because of the impracticability of developing naval forces to preserve interisland communication against any attack by water. This defense plan was to ensure a defense of each portion of Philippine territory that the cost of subjugation would exceed potential for rewards to any aggressor. This meant defense at the beaches by infantry, supported by machine guns and artillery. The stress on smaller units and mobility would allow for divisions to be moved quickly in support of divisions under attack.

To provide for early warning and to attempt to break up landing forces would be the job of the air corps and offshore patrol. These were the idealistic part of the plan because the planners lacked air and naval backgrounds. Contact and control by air by defenders will be sufficient to keep hostile naval forces outside territorial waters. 150 fast bombers were proposed to accomplish this. 50 small but fast Offshore patrol boats would do the job of deterring enemy navy vessels from territorial waters.

This was the plan on paper of what a relatively poor nation can expect to accomplish and at the minimum gives to itself territorial integrity and the hope that it gains allies in the case of prolonged siege.

Note: This is a summary of the National Defense Plan as drawn up by Major Dwight Eisenhower, US Army and Major James Ord, US Army. Submitted to General Douglas MacArthur on the eve of the Philippine Commonwealth


Professor Jose covers extensively the rest of the history of the Philippine Commonwealth Army under the headings below

  • Build-up Chronology: 1934, The National Defense Act; 1935 Objections and Startup; 1936; 1937; 1938; 1939; 1940
  • From concept (the National Defense Plan) to fruition (the standing forces); The first & second year to implement the National Defense Act; Objections; Quezon waffles; The final forces
  • The Beginning of the End or Countdown to baptism of fire:   Dec 8, 1941, Contact: Into the maw of destruction; breakdown and escape

Thank you to Manong Sonny for this article.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 5. March 2016


57 comments to The Commonwealth Army – Part I – Beginnings

  • Diary of Ramon A. Alcaraz September 16, 1941

    The OSP seems to be much ahead of their Training Program than the other branches of the PA. While the Training Schools for Os of the different branches like the Inf. FA, CAC, SigC, CE, MC, QMS etc only started the first of the month, OSP extensive Training Program was completed the week-end of Sept. 14 after the Depth Charge firings.

    Today, the much anticipated announcement by C, OSP Capt. Andrada as to who will be the permanent Os and Crew of the Q-Boats is made as follows..


    Diary of Francis Burton Harrison August 18, 1936

    I read of a petition by part of the Native officials of the Dutch East Indies to the Volksrad for an autonomous government after ten years! This is one reason why, in my time, I always found the Dutch there (except for Governor General Limburg von Stirum himself) so worried about our plans for Philippine independence.


    Diary of Fidel Segundo Saturday, April 23, 1939

    I decide to quit the Philippine Army today. I will write Valdez my feelings about the selection of Laconico to the FA school. I will assert broadly that he could not pass the course, and will not be a credit to the PA or to the Filipino people.

    In my letter to the President requesting relief I will state — I am subjected to a severe strain amidst a surroundings where decisions are made not on sound military precepts but on expediencies, where reward is given not on the demonstrated result of effort but on how close you are to those who that make decisions, where honesty and convictions are not the basis of decisions but the desire to please. My character rebels under these surroundings and I can not give my best to my work. I lose faith in the future of the army unless more strict adherence to principles is made I work on only one principle — that principle of carrying out a military objective on the basis of righ and wrong. I have only one standard. I can not function in an atmosphere of varying standards.

    I will tell the President — In this my last act as an officer of the Philippine Army I want to thank the President for reposing in me his confidence as shown by my commission and in the several conferences on important matters in which he sought my opinions.

  • Mariano Renato Pacifico

    I cannot believe General Emilio Aguinaldo sold the Philippines twice! First was in Pact of Biak na Bato in exchange of amnesty and monetary indemnity of $800,000 in three installments and exile to Hong Kong. Second was after March 23, 1901 which culminated the end of Filipino-American war which he allied himself to the Americans.

    The $800,000 question is what he did with that money? According to the current myth which is not substantiated, as usual, by facts and evidences, he used the money to arm the Filipino rebels who he sold to Spain.

    General Emilio Aguinaldo was transported by US revenue cutter ssent by Admiral Dewey to fetch General Aguinaldo. Upon arrival of General Aguinaldo what happened next is up for grab because it was not properly documented by Admiral Dewey nor General Aguinaldo.

    Admiral Dewey have had different version when he was before US Senate. General Emilio Aguinaldo has had different version, too!

    Did Dewey asked for the support of Aguinaldo? Did Dewey allowed Aguinaldo to declare independence? Was June 12 an independence from Spain or from Spain and America?

    We cannot know because the US Senate Inquiry was like Philippine Senate Investigation who allowed the laundering of $81.0 Million and Binay Scandals mostly witness accounts no evidences.

    Since General Emilio Aguinaldo sold the Philippines twice, first to Spain and then to the Americans, I believe the US Senate Inquiry.

    • sonny

      For now I’ll revisit the reports of Leon Wolff on this matter and whatever other source the reports concatenate to. Hopefully Irineo and Karl can add more light on this.

      • karlgarcia

        The San Francisco Call, May 18, 1898

        Arriving in Manila with thirteen of his staff on May 19 aboard the American revenue cutter McCulloch, Aguinaldo reassumed command of Filipino rebel forces. Although he and Dewey spoke, no one knows the substance of the discussions– Dewey only spoke Spanish, Aguinaldo spoke it poorly and there was no intermediary.

        [Years later, Aguinaldo recalled a meeting with Dewey: “I asked whether it was true that he had sent all the telegrams to the Consul at Singapore, Mr. Pratt, which that gentleman had told me he received in regard to myself. The Admiral replied in the affirmative, adding that the United States had come to the Philippines to protect the natives and free them from the yoke of Spain. He said, moreover, that America is exceedingly well off as regards territory, revenue, and resources and therefore needs no colonies, assuring me finally that there was no occasion for me to entertain any doubts whatever about the recognition of the Independence of the Philippines by the United States.”]

        [Aguinaldo, in his book, “A Second Look At America,” admitted he naively believed that Dewey “acted in good faith” on behalf of the Filipinos.]

        In late May, Dewey was ordered by the U.S. Department of the Navy to distance himself from Aguinaldo lest he make untoward commitments to the Philippine forces.

        The official directive was not necessary; Dewey had already made up his mind beforehand: “From my observation of Aguinaldo and his advisers I decided that it would be unwise to co-operate with him or his adherents in an official manner… In short, my policy was to avoid any entangling alliance with the insurgents, while I appreciated that, pending the arrival of our troops, they might be of service.” [RIGHT, Aguinaldo’s headquarters inside the Cavite navy yard, May 1898].

        Dewey referred to the Filipinos as “the Indians” and promised Washington, D.C. that he would “enter the city [Manila] and keep the Indians out.”

      • karlgarcia

        In late May, Dewey was ordered by the U.S. Department of the Navy to distance himself from Aguinaldo lest he make untoward commitments to the Philippine forces.

        The official directive was not necessary; Dewey had already made up his mind beforehand: “From my observation of Aguinaldo and his advisers I decided that it would be unwise to co-operate with him or his adherents in an official manner… In short, my policy was to avoid any entangling alliance with the insurgents, while I appreciated that, pending the arrival of our troops, they might be of service.” [RIGHT, Aguinaldo’s headquarters inside the Cavite navy yard, May 1898].

        Dewey referred to the Filipinos as “the Indians” and promised Washington, D.C. that he would “enter the city [Manila] and keep the Indians out.”

        • karlgarcia

          Aguinaldo – a tarnished hero
          An inquiry into the meaning of the events of 1896 to 1906 as contemporary Filipinos should understand

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico

          Thank you, Karl. The United States Senate Inquiry boiled down to Dewey-said-Aguinaldo-said. I wanted to believe Aguinaldo because Americans massacred plenty of Filipinos standing older than 10-years-old which was documented. On the other hand, Aguinaldo is also tarnished.

          There were declaration of Independences prior to June 12. June 12 stood out because there were fanfare at Malolos attended by clump of respected Filipinos and one American.

          What I wanted to know, WAS GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO AN OPPORTUNIST like Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte and Meriam Santiago? Was there really a military strategic intent of General Aguinaldo to agree and sign off the principle of Pact of Biak na Bato to arm the Filipinos from the proceeds of the pact? Was General Emilio Aguinaldo went back to Philippines like Mar Roxas and Grace Poe for the fame and monetary pay back of it?

          We can never know. We cannot read the minds of General Aguinaldo nor were there written documents the intent of General Aguinaldo he had intent to arm the Filipino rebels from the proceeds of the pact.


          Because the pact specifically states that once the rebels has surrendered their arms The Spanish Government will release the last tranch of the pact.

          So, the myth and idea General Aguinaldo is to arm the Filipino rebels is phyrric and hollow.

          Why give up the arms to receive the last tranch and use the last tranch to arm the rebels does seem not a sound military strategy.

          Therefore, someone got to be lying or WE ARE LIED TO by, you know, PhD in History: Doctor of History. You know what I mean. They are the people that doctor the history.

          They twist the history to make General Aguinaldo legit ergo June 12 legit as well.

    • sonny

      For now I’ll revisit the reports of Leon Wolff on this matter and whatever other source the reports concatenate to. Hopefully Irineo and Karl can add more light on this.

  • – excerpts:

    President-elect Manuel L. Quezon convinced his friend, General Douglas MacArthur (Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army), to organize a national army with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s agreement in the summer of 1935.[2] MacArthur had unusually-broad authority to deal with the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff as military adviser to the commonwealth government to organize a Philippine national army.

    MacArthur had broad authority to deal with the United States Secretary of War, his successor as the Army Chief of Staff, and the United States Army Philippine Department and its commander Major General Lucius R. Holbrook (who had been told that his most important peacetime mission was to assist MacArthur in forming a Philippine force capable of defending the islands).[2] MacArthur selected Majors Dwight D. Eisenhower and James B. Ord as his assistants; they and a committee at the Army War College prepared plans for the defense of the Philippine Commonwealth, with a target of independence in 1946.[2] The plan called for a small regular army with divisions of about 7,500 men, conscription of all men between twenty-one and fifty years of age and a ten-year training program to build a reserve army, a small air force and a fleet of torpedo boats capable of repelling an enemy.

    The Philippine National Assembly’s first act was the passage of the National Defense Act on 21 December 1935, with initial plans for a 10,000-man regular force based on the incorporation of the Philippine Constabulary and a 400,000-man reserve force by 1946 and a West-Point-type military academy in Baguio on Luzon.[4] Quezon noted that there was inadequate funds and time to build an effective naval defense force; the act provided for no navy, but an Offshore Patrol within the army.[5] The offshore patrol would be based on British-designed fast torpedo boats, with an anticipated thirty-six boats under contract by 1946.[6] The Philippine Army Air Corps would, by that time, have about 100 bombers and additional tactical aircraft in support of the offshore patrol in coastal defense.

    Development was slow; 1936 was largely devoted to building camps and facilities, with the first conscripts called up on 1 January 1937.[8] A major problem was the formation of a military-officer corps, with constabulary officers trained in law enforcement and limited numbers of Philippine Scouts officers becoming senior officers in the new force.[8] By the end of 1939, the reserve force numbered 104,000 men and 4,800 officers.[8] The Philippine Army Air Corps had about forty planes and a hundred trained pilots by 1940.[9] The offshore patrol’s development was more problematic, with only two British boats delivered before the war in Europe cut off further deliveries and a struggle to build boats under license locally produced only one boat by October 1941.

    When the war with Japan began, the Philippine Army was six years from its founding in December 1935 and about five years from the 1946 date at which it was to be fully operational.[10] The naval force which was to protect it against a first-rate naval power was in ruins at Pearl Harbor;[10] the Japanese had pilots standing by fueled-and-loaded bombers in Formosa, prepared to strike the Philippines.

    • sonny

      Irineo, by the time of the Japanese attack of Dec 8,1941 the nascent Philippine Navy, named the OSP (off shore patrol), had 6 of these patrol boats. Six graduates of the PMA commanded them. My uncle, fresh from PMA was one of them. I and my cousins were so young at the time to ask them about these events. They did not volunteer to inform us. I had to find this fact through the internet.

  • karlgarcia

    yes hopefully,the AFP mod will continue.Hello Bill.Enioy your Bicol trip.Stay safe.

  • sonny

    Water-logged countries do present certain unique questions regarding their maintenance and destiny. Consider countries like Holland, the countries of the British Isles, or the city-states of Greece. The term thalassocracy does come to mind as do the terms maritime and naval. Just musing for now. (to be cont’d) 🙂

    • sonny

      (this was to continue Bill’s thread). Welcome back, Bill!

    • Bill in Oz

      Britain has traditionally given emphasis to it’s Royal navy and more recently the Royal Airforce. The Athenians did the same in ancient Greece. in recent years the USA has given prominance to it’s navy especially it’s Pacific fleet.

  • Hi everybody… lots of work starting from tomorrow.

    Expect some delays in my answering to comments.

    Thanks to all for your participation… CU.

  • Diary of Francis Burton Harrison March 7, 1936

    Photographed by Arellano for Malacañan. Quezon wishes to hang up photos of Taft, myself and Murphy as the three Americans most closely connected with significant chapters of the American occupation. Arellano told me that everywhere confidence in Quezon was growing–that he was a real leader.

    Papers contain notices about two matters showing the results of slowness in the administration. 1st, the rice regulation by the Government. The dealers claim that Quezon had acted too slowly to benefit them as intended. 2d, Quezon has suspended the Governor of Albay because he would not come to Manila to answer as to why the Provincial Board had reduced the cedula tax from two pesos to one. But it seems that the resolution of the Board had been before Quezon for so long without action that it became effective without approval!

    Long talk with Manuel Concepcion on the currency; we agree that Paredes had lost his fight in Washington against the repeal of the law authorizing the payment of $23,000,000 to the Philippines for the gold devaluation, because he argued on sentimental grounds instead of giving exchange and commodity prices, the best he can do now is to get action by Congress suspended until proper arguments can be presented later on.

    American republicans of the Philippines had their political convention to select delegates to their National Convention. Selph and Marguerite Wolfson were the spokesmen. They have learned very little in 36 years of progressive defeat on the Philippine question. They still hope to turn back the hands of the clock. They did not come out against “independence after ten years” but denounced the economic provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.

    Doria describes the hopelessness of trying to shop in establishments where Filipinos serve. They are obstinate, disobliging and arrogant. Always answer to any enquiry that “we haven’t any of that”–will never compete successfully in the retail trade with Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.

    Attended dinner of Yale graduates of Philippines in honor of Yale men promoted recently: Justice Jose Laurel, Judge Delgado, Secretary of Finance de las Alas, Assemblyman from Marinduque and Celeste, the Secretary of the National Economic Council. A lot of real fun and a very pleasant evening.

    Bridge earlier with Colonel Lim, Tan and Nazario at the Philippine Columbian Club–good game.

    Did not attend Tommy Wolff’s gigantic reunion of “Old Timers.”

  • karlgarcia


    At the time that the Philippines was in the course of developing her own army, countries in Europe were actively engaged in war and events in the Far East were moving fast towards an armed conflict between Japan and the United States.

    Both Quezon and MacArthur realized the possibility of the Philippines getting involved in the war. However, building up the defense system was slow. The Commonwealth, because of its financial status, was incapable of contributing materially to her own defense. In Washington, a feeling of pacifism and isolationism prevailed – making the US Congress lukewarm and undecided on appropriations needed by MacArthur in fortifying the United States’ own bastion in the Far East.

    In the National Assembly, Jose Yulo said the US Congress virtually declared “American isolationism” and urged that “the Philippines … prepare its own defense and do it quick.”

    The Philippine Army, like any new organization, had to undergo “birthpains.” One major problem it had was basic: its dual character. The Army had to undergo military training for the defense of the country against foreign aggression and simultaneously, maintain the PC Division, stationed throughout the country, for peace and order functions.

    To enable the PA to focus on its national defense functions, the law and order duties of the Army were eventually transferred to the newly created state police. The Constabulary Division continued in its peace-keeping functions.

    In a memorandum to President Quezon, the general staff noted that the successful defense of the Philippines required a combination of land and sea defenses, with the land defense set-up requiring 300,000 trained men ready for call by 1946 constituting 30 divisions nationwide or three divisions per military district. The state of the Army at that time indicated the frailty of the country’s defense system.

    Actual organization of the reserve divisions was not balanced. The organization and build-up had been based on the availability of weapons rather than the requirements of accomplishing the mission.
    There was acute shortage of weapons and no provision for procurement of armament for the reserve divisions. Arms being used for training were borrowed from the US Army. It was expected that most of these weapons would eventually be donated to the PA but by 1946, they shall be obsolete and insufficient.
    Quality of training was limited – there being no special service schools to develop proficiency in various fields of specialization.
    The naval aspect of the defense plan was “woefully inadequate.” The general staff noted “too much reliance … on the adoption of a foreign policy in the Far East by the United States consisting of a naval base in the Philippines.”
    There was no Regular Force to speak of. In the First Regular Division, the strength of officers and non-commissioned officers was below authorized levels.
    Under the training system then in force, reservists from the less educated groups forget what they have learned soon after their training ends.”
    In Quezon’s mind, given these conditions, the Philippines could not be defended against the emerging Asian military power that is Japan. He had realized inadequacies in the defense plan authored by General MacArthur – his doubts validated by the central general staff. He directed them to take the necessary steps. Radical changes have to be made in the army organization and the defense plan, albeit secretly – without MacArthur.”

    In a secret meeting with his Cabinet, Quezon said that developments in the European war had convinced him of the futility of spending more money to sustain the program of defending the country from foreign aggression. He felt it would be better to cut the army’s expenses and use the savings for public schools.

    • karlgarcia

      This is the start of Education must have the highest budget.
      And even before Clinton’s,”It’s the Economy,stupid”,That tune is already being sung.

      • sonny

        Camilo Osias (Secretary of Education before becoming assemblyman from first district of La Union), according to Prof Jose’s book, was one of strongest objectors to the national defense budget. He proposed that most of the money be used on education first. (Osias was also a member of the National Defense Committee).

        “… (Osias) favored developing education, and felt that the bill called for too much money: it was a ‘saturnalia of extravagance’ to him. One third of the amount called for defense was sufficient to accommodate all school children of elementary age for ten years, he claimed.”

    • akala ko ba Common Wealth, meaning very wealthy? 🙂

  • karlgarcia

    Eisenhower,the man who believes that cost is secondary to effectiveness , said a few years later,”Beware,the Military Industrial Complex”.

    • sonny

      Eisenhower’s takeaway from the 2nd World War resulted in the building of the Interstate Highway System of the United States. One need only look at any standard Rand-McNally map to get an idea how extensive this highway network is, at one time: the concrete network was 42,000 miles total. The highway system features at least one-mile stretches at strategic points, this was to insure the presence of take-off and landings capability for military aircraft at times of national mobilization.

      While writing the summary-article, the telling feature of the plan is that the objective of achieving full preparedness for Philippine Army V1.0 was 20 years, i.e 1956! I hope everyone today can do the math. 🙁

      • karlgarcia

        Where is route 66? There is a song about that.

        • sonny

          Route 66 is like our old MacArthur Highway a.k.a. Camino Real, that started from Sorsogon passing through virtually all towns of Luzon all the way to Laoag. Route 66 was the national highway that connected the US midwest to the west coast, i.e. California.

          “… It starts at downtown Chicago (Illinois) and passes through towns originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).[5] It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66″ and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s…”

          One can still use this route but will take more time to drive to either terminus of Chicago & Santa Monica. Using the Interstate highway system is shorter by approx 350 miles (4 hrs by car). The whole trip ordinarily can be done (non-stop) in 3 days, 2 nights.

          • formerly the Manila North Road, is a major highway on northwestern Luzon in the Philippines. This two- to six-lane national road stretches for 315.0 km (195.7 mi) from the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan to the northern province of La Union, passing through three cities in Metro Manila (Caloocan, Malabon, and Valenzuela), three provinces of Central Luzon (Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac) and three provinces of the Ilocos Region (Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur)

            MacArthur Highway was built in sections beginning in 1928 during the American colonial period.[2] It followed much of the route of the old Manila Railroad line from Manila to Dagupan. It was named Highway 3 and was also called Route 3 in early U.S. military records.[3] The highway eventually reached the Ilocos provinces in the north and became known as the Manila North Road spanning a distance of over 500 km (310 mi)

        • sonny

          I forgot to link, nephew. Route 66 is a good section of highway to use to see 2/3 of America. For first time drivers/adventurers, this is the first challenge to an individual’s road rally. Almost the same distance is the northern route using the interstate system: going through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, ending in San Francisco, California.

          Route 66:

          • karlgarcia

            I just remembered if I was in the states from 1974 to 1976 and we lived in Monterray California and used to visit my aunt ,uncle and cousin in Chicago.I must be too young to remember passing Route 66.

          • karlgarcia

            I meant I just remebered that……not remembered if.

          • sonny

            Nephew, my guess if you came to Chicago by car, you would’ve taken the Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois route, i.e. all Interstate highways. Greyhound would be different. Ask the Sec or Mom if they remember landmarks landmarks from the trip.

          • sonny

            From Monterrey, you would’ve gone northward to Reno, Nevada to Utah. From Los Angeles, you go to Needles, CA on to Flagstaff Arizona and one can pickup segments of Route 66 from Santa Monica all the way to Chicago.

          • karlgarcia

            yikes,My dad said we went by plane. ngyek.

          • sonny

            I was afraid of that, nephew. But not surprised – 72 hours driving versus 4 hrs by air. I recommend the drive, leisurely; lots of scenery from towns to cities, mountains, plains, rivers small and big; so much history, geography, infrastructure to soak visually. Ganda talaga, nephew! When you come stateside, try to do the drive.

  • karlgarcia

    Hmmm,MacArthur was cost cutting.
    Even now our military effectiveness suffers because we were cost conscious,.Only recently has our AFP modernization finally took off.With or without China,we should have a lean and mean but effective military
    Another factor affecting military effectiveness iof the present day military is the number of generals.

    • sonny

      Karl, hindi lang number of generals. Part I above shows two reductions from the original plans of Eisenhower and Ord to meet Quezon’s cost requirement. Ang lagay, even the third and final redaction/reduction was still too expensive for the non-military tastes of our countrymen of that time.

    • Bill in Oz

      A ( rhetorical) question to you Sonny, karl & Irineo

      What kind of defence forces are best for ‘preventing’ an enemy attack or invasion ? Everything I have read suggests that always money has been spent on creating military forces to engage battle with enemy forces ‘after’ the invasion has happened… But that subjects the Filipino people in your thousands islands to all the horror of war in their cities and homes….

      The best place to stop the enemy is in the seas & air ‘over the horizon’ before they get to Luzon or Mindanao or Palawan or Mindoro or the Batanes or all the rest…

      That is the basis of the Australian defence strategy…It is the basis of the USA’s own defence strategy…It is the basis now the Japanese defence strategy along with the alliance with America..

      If you follow through this logic the actual defence platforms needed are fairly obvious.

      • karlgarcia

        We need the Army. With all internal security problems like NPA,MILF,etc,the army is needed.Why because we just learned that police needs all the help it can get.Maybe after a thousand years,with no more rebels,no more need for the Army.

        If the Oz gun ban can work in the Philippines,maybe it will be reduced to 500 years.

        • Bill in Oz

          Hi karl
          I am not suggesting that the army is not needed..I know there are issues with NPA, MILF etc…Rather it seems that the focus is on these internal issues with little willingness to budget resources for the important external issues..I read the other day that Chinese military forces had denied Filipinos access to the Spratley islands in the West Philippines sea – even fishing boats.

          By the way the military weapons ban & strong restrictions on other weapons, have worked. They have reduced murders, especially mass murder incidents..There have been no mass murder incidents here since 1996..But these laws were not introduced for defence reasons…

          • karlgarcia

            Hi Bill.I actually want rebellion and crime to end yesterday,but we need not just political resolve,but a nationwide resolve.I would also like peace on earth so no more wars.

            Back to reality,if air and sea defences are breached,Army would next to defend.

          • Until the early 1990s the Philippines basically depended on Clark and Subic for Sea and Air defense. Those who made the bases leave did not create a viable alternative… in fact even before that there was not much is my impression most went into the Army which was mainly for internal stuff.

            EDCA and the pact with Vietnam plus the present AFP modernization is the correct way to go… because there is absolutely no way the Philippines can go it alone.

          • karlgarcia

            That is what I don’t like about MDS.She may not be a brenda,but her insistense that everybody would be cocerned aboit their own interest is not the issue,I think Poe is singing the same tune.
            True that there are no permanent allies,only interest(was that Donald Duck who said that?),but we should enjoy the alliance while it lasts.

          • sonny

            MDS, Sen Saguisag and Amb Romualdez standout as the anti-Base people. “… enjoy the alliance while it lasts …” is the better part of self- and allied- interest and nationalistic prudence! Kumpas and timing are parts of wisdom and valor. The strategic importance of Subic and Clark is the country’s God-given gift for our leverage.

  • karlgarcia

    The national defense acts amendments is still being studied.In the 90s my dad together with Gen. Danny Lim and the late Captain Jarque made a Whilte Paper for National Defense.

    Congress wants national security injected in the legislation, national security is another matter.
    They should be separate legislations.

    • sonny

      Can we read your dad’s white paper sometime?

    • Bill in Oz

      Hi karl, Irineo, Sonny I have been on the road, the air, and out of the loop as I had not laptop while travelling..Now I am here with my Agom and will spend time ith her & family in Bicol..And I will be able also to make comments again.

      I have just read the Enquirer and there is a report in A3 that states that the Philippines is leaing 5 patrol aircraft from Japan to patrol the ‘disputed South China sea”.

      It goes on to quote President Aquino as saying that ” The military for decades preoccupied with domestic insurgencies has been shifting it’s focus to territorila defence, allocating *3 billion pesos in 2017 to upgrade and modernize the Air force & navy.”
      Aquino also said he ” had done more to build the air force than the previous three governments increasing the number of planes and helicopters to move troops and supplies and guard maritime borders”.

      So it seems that the need for improved air force and navy is realised. I hope that this is continued after May 9th.

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