Second Inaugural Address
His Excellency Manuel L. Quezon
President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines
[Delivered at Corregidor on December 30, 1941]
On November 15, 1935, I took my oath of office as first President of the Philippines under the most favorable auspices. The Philippines was at peace and the Filipino people were happy and contented. At the inaugural ceremonies held in the city of Manila, there were present high dignitaries of the Government of the United States, and a vast multitude of Filipinos deeply grateful to America and thrilled with the vision of a bright future.
Today, I am assuming for the second time the duties of the Presidency under entirely different conditions. We are in the grip of war, and the seat of the government has been temporarily transferred from the city of Manila to a place in close proximity to the headquarters of our armed forces, where I am in constant touch with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. All around us, enemy bombs are dropping and anti-aircraft guns are roaring. In defenseless cities and towns, air raids are killing women and children, and destroying century-old churches, monasteries, and schools.
Six years ago, there was every reason to believe that the Filipino people would be able to prepare themselves for independence in peace and without hindrance. In my first inaugural address, I outlined a program intended to lay the foundations for a government that will, in the language of our Constitution, promote the general welfare and secure to the Filipino people and their posterity “the blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty, and democracy.”
Our task of nation building was in progress when suddenly, on December 8, 1941, the Philippines became the victim of wanton aggression. We are resisting this aggression with everything that we have.
Our soldiers, American and Filipino, under the leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, one of the greatest soldiers of our time, are fighting on all fronts with gallantry and heroism that will go down in history. In the face of frequent air raids which are causing so much death, suffering, and destruction, our civilian population are maintaining their morale. Despite the enemy’s temporary superiority in the air, and on land and sea, we have been able to check the rapid advance of the invading armies. America and the Philippines may well be proud of the heroic struggle that our forces are putting up against the invader.
At the present time we have but one task—to fight with America for America and the Philippines. To this task, we shall devote all our resources in men and materials. Ours is a great cause. We are fighting for human liberty and justice, for those principles of individual freedom which we all cherish and without which life would not be worth living. Indeed, we are fighting for our own independence. It is to maintain this independence, these liberties and these freedoms, to banish fear and want among all peoples, and to establish a reign of justice for all the world, that we are sacrificing our lives and all that we possess. The war may be long drawn and hard fought, but with the determination of freedom-loving peoples everywhere to stamp out the rule of violence and terrorism from the face of the earth, I am absolutely convinced that final and complete victory will be ours.
Soon after the outbreak of the war, I received a message from President Roosevelt expressing admiration for the gallantry of our soldiers and the courageous stand of our civilian population. Yesterday, the President of the United States issued a proclamation which, I am sure, will hearten our fighting men and thrill the soul of every American and Filipino in this land. This is the proclamation:
“News of your gallant struggle against the Japanese aggressors has elicited the profound admiration of every American. As President of the United States, I know that I speak for all our people on this solemn occasion. The resources of the United States, of the British Empire, of the Netherlands East Indies, and the Chinese Republic have been dedicated by their people to the utter and complete defeat of the Japanese War Lords. In this struggle of the Pacific, the loyal Americans of the Philippine Islands are called upon to play a crucial role. They have played, and they are playing tonight, their part with the greatest gallantry. As President, I wish to express to them my feeling of sincere admiration for the fight they are now making. The people of the United States will never forget what the people of the Philippine Islands are doing these days and will do in the days to come. I give to the people of the Philippines my solemn pledge that their freedom will be redeemed and their independence established and protected. The entire resources in men and materials of the United States stand behind that pledge. It is not for me or for the people of this country to tell you where your duty lies. We are engaged in a great and common cause. I count on every Philippine man, woman, and child to do his duty. We will do ours. I give you this message from the Navy:
“The Navy Department tonight announces the Japanese Government is circulating rumors for the obvious purpose of persuading the United States to disclose the location and intentions of the American Pacific Fleets. It is obvious that these rumors are intended for, and directed at, the Philippine Islands. The Philippines may rest assured that while the United States Navy will not be tricked into disclosing vital information, the fleet is not idle. The United States Navy is following an intensive and well planned campaign against Japanese forces which will result in positive assistance to the defense of the Philippine Islands.”
My heart, and I know the hearts of all Americans and Filipinos in this country, are filled with gratitude for the reassuring words of the President of the United States. My answer, our answer, to him is that every man, woman, and child in the Philippines will do his duty. No matter what sufferings and sacrifices this war may impose upon us, we shall stand by America with undaunted spirit, for we know that upon the outcome of this war depend the happiness, liberty, and security not only of this generation but of the generations yet unborn.
Mr. High Commissioner, may I ask you to convey to the President of the United States our profound gratitude for the noble sentiments expressed in his proclamation. The Filipino people are particularly grateful for his abiding interest in our welfare and for his pledge to assure and protect our freedom and independence.
Gen. MacArthur, there are no words in my language that can express to you the deep gratitude of the Filipino people and my own for your devotion to our cause, the defense of our country, and the safety of our population. I trust that the time will come when we may express this sentiment to you in a more appropriate manner.
To all Americans in the Philippines, soldiers and civilians alike, I want to say that our common ordeal has fused our hearts in a single purpose and an everlasting affection.
My fellow countrymen, this is the most momentous period of our history. As we face the grim realities of war, let us rededicate ourselves to the great principles of freedom and democracy for which our forefathers fought and died. The present war is being fought for these same principles. It demands from us courage, determination, and unity of action, In taking my oath of office, I make the pledge for myself, my government, and my people, to stand by America and fight with her until victory is won. I am resolved, whatever the consequences to myself, faithfully to fulfill this pledge. I humbly invoke the help of Almighty God that I may have the wisdom and fortitude to carry out this solemn obligation.