Official Week in Review: July 16 – July 22, 1961

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July 16.—PRESIDENT Garcia spent a quiet Sunday at Malacañang. In the morning he heard mass at the Malacañang chapel. After mass the President had his breakfast alone, as the First Lady had to attend a wedding ceremony. Then he spent some time with his granddaughter, Maricar, before he read the Sunday newspapers, after which he studied state papers until noontime.

Partaking of a light lunch, the President then rested and read the Holy Bible, which had been given to him by Francis Cardinal Spellman.

In the evening he attended the asalto held at the Malacañang social hall by Cabinet and Congress ladies in honor of Mrs. Garcia, who is celebrating her 55th birth anniversary today.

The special Cabinet committee on the development of the Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan area submitted its five-year program proposal to President Garcia today.

The plan calls for a total expenditure of P1.23 billion, starting off with a P214 million initial outlay for 1962.

Private participation in the plan will constitute P530 million, or roughly 40 per cent of the total.

Chairman Jose C. Locsin of the National Economic Council, head of the special committee, said the program covers the development of agriculture, mining, and manufacturing on a precedent-setting scale; the development of transportation and communication, education and public health, community development; and the improvement of public administration skills and practices in the area.

The report said that the revenue would be taken from the Mindanao Development Authority, government revenue, reparations, foreign aid and loans, as well as particular allotments from the national government.

The lion’s share of the program has been allotted to construction with P478 million, with manufacturing projects rating second with P276 million.

In agriculture the program calls for expansion of crop, livestock, and fish production; forest conservation and use; new approaches to development of agricultural estates; and a reexamination of the land tax patterns and leases.

July 17.–EARLIER this morning the President assisted the First Lady in celebrating the hitter’s 55th birth anniversary. They heard mass at Malacañang and received well-wishers.

In the afternoon the Chief Executive reenacted his signing last June 17 of a bill converting Mrs. Garcia’s hometown, Opon, in Cebu, into a chartered city to be known as Lapu-Lapu City.

After the ceremony the President and the First Lady were entertained with a Happy Birthday program by the Garcia for Reelection Movement in Manila.

During the program the performance of Dominador, Alicia, and Domingo de Guzman 7, 5, and 3 years, respectively, who were accompanied on the guitar by their grandfather, Romulo San Jose, drew warm applauses.

However, Maricar, the President’s granddaughter stole the show when she shouted “again” at the end of an improvised piece called Reelect Garcia President.

Among the songs rendered by the De Guzman kids were “Happy Birthday To You,” “I Love You,” and “Abadabada,” which were rendered in their Tagalog versions.

The Malacañang Newsmen’ Association, led by its president, Mabini Rey Centeno, also greeted the First Lady in the afternoon and presented her with a gift.

This evening the President braced up for a scheduled meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow with the Council of Leaders at his Bohol Avenue residence in Quezon City.

Principal figures in the conference will be the President himself and Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr., who has been agitating for the Council’s meeting so that his demand for reforms may be satisfied.

Palace sources said the President plotted up to this evening the strategy he would follow tomorrow, and boned up on background materials to cope with any surprise move the Amang make tomorrow.

July 18.—PRESIDENT Garcia conducted a marathon session today with members of the Council of Leaders in a formal sealing of his rapprochement with Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr.

The Chief Executive sat down with the Council of Leaders at 10 a.m. at the presidential private study room and they immediately plunged into business scheduled for the conference. The meeting broke up at 8:05 p.m.

The unforseen extention of the Council of Leaders meeting prompted the President to cancel his afternoon engagements, including the scheduled presentation of the credentials of Korean Ambassador-designate Honko Lee.

The formal accreditation was re-scheduled for 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

Before meeting the members of the Council of Leaders, the President received Dr. Maurice Galante, and Luis and Gregorio Lacson. The three were accompanied by the Senate President Protempore.

Earlier President Garcia authorized the release of P100,000 for the waterworks system of Padada, Davao, and P50,000 for the construction of feeder roads in the same municipality.

The President released the money after administering the oath of affiliation with the, Nacionalista Party to Mayor Gregorio M. Matas of Padada. Matas was also the district chairman of the Liberal Party in southern Davao. Present at the affiliation ceremony were Juan C. Pajo, chairman of the board of the Philippine National Bank; Rep. Bartolome Cabangbang of Bohol; Davao City Councilor Dominador Zuño; Niño Ramirez; Malacañang Executive Assistants Jose Ma. Rocha and Edilberto Gallares; and Gaudioso Tiongco.

July 19–PRESIDENT Garcia today scored again when he raided Liberal ranks and came out with three Liberal mayors and one vice-mayor wrapped up in the Nacionalista fold.

The President administered the oath of affiliation at Malacañang to the following Liberals from Camarines Sur; Mayor Jaime Sibulo of San Fernando, Mayor Napoleon Pendor of Del Gallego, Mayor Hilarion Rodriguesza of Bombon, and Vice-Mayor Francisco Binondo of Magarao.

The latest incursion of the President in the LP ranks leaves only two LP mayors in the first district of Camarines Sur while the Nacionalista ranks have swelled to ten.

The defection of the three LP mayors swung the balance of power from the LPs to the NPs in the municipal level from 18-18 tie to 21-15 advantage in the whole province.

The new NP converts who pledged to support the Garcia-Puyat ticket informed the President that in the near future other Liberals in their province are going to defect.

Earlier the President received a group of financiers who represented Don Julio Muñoz and whose purpose is to invest capital to accelerate the industrialization program of the President.

Given the proper incentives, the foreign financiers are willing to invest up to $50 million in the Philippines, according to a spokesman of the group.

The financiers whose headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland, represent financiers from Great Britain, Switzerland, and Spain.

The group was composed of Dr. Jaime Ferrer, Justice Salvador Viado, and Prof. Antonio de Luna, who were accompanied to Malacañang by Santiago Abraham, president of the Ajax International (Philippines), and Jose Llamas.

The President also received Gov. Felipe Garduque of Cagayan with whom he discussed some pressing problems of the province.

This afternoon the President directed the Presidential Committee on Administration Performance Efficiency to look into the case of one, Antonio R. Pigar, temporary letter-carrier of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, who had allegedly been discriminated against in his bid for re-appointment to the same job he occupied for more than five years, until laid-off for lack of funds.

The Chief Executive issued the directive to Justice Buenaventura Ocampo, PCAPE chairman, after reading the letter of appeal sent him by Pigar.

The letter-carrier informed the President that when the position of letter-carrier was re-created, another person who is also a non-eligible like him was ellegedly given undue preference despite his “better qualifications” both in length of service and educational attainment.

The other candidate to the position is not even a high school graduate and, even though he had also worked as letter-carrier for the same municipality, his experience as such, is sorter, compared to his experience, Pigar said.

President Garcia today underscored his concern for the welfare of labor, not only because of its vital role in the country’s economic development but because labor is less fortunate and deserves more benefit than many other sectors of the populace.

The President added that labor is the counterpart of capital in building up the economy and that, without labor, capital is useless; so labor must receive its just due from the benefits of progress and prosperity brought about by economic development.

The President made those observations before some 50 labor leaders from Mountain Province who called on him to express their gratitude for his approval of the Gold Subsidy bill and to pledge their unconditional support to his re-election in November.

The delegation which was accompanied to Malacañang this afternoon by Rep. Ramon P. Mitra. Sr., and Gov. Bado Dangwa of Mountain Province, included Engrs. P. Quinto and J. S. Perfecto of Benguet Consolidated, Inc.; Abraham Brillantes and Marcos Danaguin, president and vice-president, respectively of Bohok Lumberjacks Association; Ernesto, Abraham and Ramon Lanag, president and vice-president, respectively, Baguio Gold Mining Laborers Union Crispin Ballang, president of Itogon Mining Labor Union; Mariano Dula arid Simplicio Hiquiana, president and secretary, respectively, Benguet Exploration Miners Union; and the following members of the board of Benguet-Balatoc Workers Union: Vicente Oximana, president; James Lucero, vice-president; Benjamin Dumo, secretary; Teodorico Calica, assitant to the president; Gregorio Adaci; Juan Calub and Fernando Aoanan.

Before proceeding to the Cabinet meeting, the President received Harry Welker, editor of the New York Herald-Tribune Syndicate, who came to £ay his’ respects to the Chief Executive Welker is leaving Monday for Hongkong and Tokyo after spending a week in the Philippines gathering materials on the local election campaign for a series of articles on the Far East.

President Garcia arid Korean Ambassador-designate Honkon Lee this afternoon reaffirmed their countries’ determination to continue the struggle against communism and the maintenance of their freedom and independence.

The Philippine Chief Executive and the new Korean ambassador exchanged pledges at the presentation of the latter’s letters of credence at the Malacañang ceremonial hall this afternoon at 5 p.m.

In reply to the ambassador’s cordial greetings and request for close cooperation between the two governments, the President recalled Philippine participation in Korea’s struggle for independence and in her fight for membership in the United Nations, and assured him of the full cooperation of the entire Philippine officialdom.

The new ambassador of Korea is a young general of 41 years, a professional soldier who rose to chief of staff of the ROK army before retiring in 1957 to become national commander of the Korean Veterans Association. He succeeds former Ambassador Lincoln Hoon Kim.

The Korean ambassador was accompanied to Malacañang by Minister Pedro Angara-Aragon; Col. Young Juhng Pak, Korean military attache; Consul Choong Whay Koo; and Third Secretary Sung Moo Park of the Korean embassy in Manila.

Among those present at the presentation ceremonies were Executive Secretary Natalio P. Castillo, Secretaries Florencio Moreno of Public Works, Alejo Santos of Defense, Elpidio Valencia of Health, Manuel Lim of Commerce. and Serafin Salvador of General Services, Chairman Jose C. Locsin of the National Economic Council, Paulino J. Garcia of the National Science Development Board, Buenaventura Ocampo of the Presidential Committee on Administration Performance Efficiency, Lugum Uka of National Integration, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Fructuoso Cabahug, Assistant Executive Secretary Enrique C. Quema, and Ministers Manuel G. Zamora and Manuel Collantes.

The importation of another 100,000 metric tons of rice to lower prices was approved by the Cabinet this evening.

The additional rice, estimated to cost $12 million, is expected to fill the expected shortage for the months of August and September.

President Garcia created a five-man committee to study the financing aspects of the transaction and to find out if the Philippines can take advantage of the farm surplus program of the United States government.

The Chief Executive pointed out as a possibility, the tapping of a group of European financiers who had indicated a willingness to invest up to $50 million to help ease the financial difficulties of the country. The financiers called on the President earner today.

Members of the committee chairmanned by Commerce Secretary Manuel Lim are NEC Chairman Jose Locsin, Finance Secretary Dominador Aytona, Economic Administrator Juan O. Chioco, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Fructuoso Cabahug.

The Cabinet decision was based on the certification of the NEC that there would be a total shortage of 1.127 million cavans of rice in July; 1.802 million cavans in August; and 1.323 million cavans in September.

July 20.—PRESIDENT Garcia today issued an administrative order prohibiting public officers and employees from entering into certain kinds of official transaction with spouses and relatives of the President, Vice-President, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Administrative Order No. 359, which was signed by the President this afternoon is in pursuance to Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Law.

The order prohibits public officers and employees from dealing directly or indirectly with relatives of the four high government officials either by affinity or consanguinity up to the third civil degree “in any business, transaction, contract, or application with the government or any other matter calling for action or decision by such officers or employees.”

The President in his order warned that any officer or employee of the government or of government-owned or controlled corporations found violating the prohibition shall be “dealt with accordingly.”

Under section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019, known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, it is unlawful for same relatives of these four high government officials to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the same type of transactions with the government.

This particular provision, however, does not apply to persons who, prior to the assumption of office of the officials to whom they are related, have already been dealing with the government along the same lines of transaction, nor to transaction already existing or pending at the time of assumption to office of the officials.

Neither does this provision of law apply to any application the approval of which is not discretionary on the part of the official concerned but depends upon compliance with requisites provided by law, or rules or regulations issued pursuant to law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an official capacity or in the exercise of a profession.

The President today directed the Department of Justice to give full legal assistance in the criminal prosecution of violators of the ceiling price law.

The presidential directive was issued after President Garcia ordered the immediate prosecution of a Quezon City NAMARCO retailer who was allegedly found selling NAMARCO rice at P1.20 in violation of a presidential directive to sell the imported cereal at P0.85.

The NAMARCO retailer whose identity was not disclosed was apprehended by Vicente Hechanova, team leader of the PCAPE-Department of Commerce agents engaged in “operation normal prices” campaign waged by the government to prevent the hoarding and overpricing of prime commodities.

The President again took occasion to renew his appeal to the people to report any irregularity or violation in the sale of the NAMARCO rice and urged them to make use of the “ten-centavo” telegram in filing their complaint directly with him or with the PCAPE.

He emphasized that all-out cooperation of consumers would insure successful distribution of the imported rice.

The case of the NAMARCO retailer was submitted to the legal panel of the Commerce Department preparatory to the formal filing of the charges before the Quezon City fiscal’s office.

Under Republic Act No. 4164, persons engaged in the retail business of prime commodities are required to price prime commodities in accordance with the ceiling price law. Any person or retailer found violating this requirement will be penalized with a fine ranging from P200 to not more than P2,000 or six months imprisonment or both.

July 21.—PRESIDENT Garcia today rejected outright all possible Russian moves to open diplomatic relations with the Philippines.

The President’s rejection was a strong reiteration of his policy that, as long as he is President of the Republic, he would not entertain any proposal towards opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

In a telephone conversation with Foreign Affairs Secretary Felixberto M. Serrano early this morning, the President consulted Serrano about the news reports from Filipino newsmen now on a tour of Russia that “the Soviet Union is ready anytime to establish diplomatic relations with the Philippines.” The newsmen’s report quoted as their source Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Nicolai Phirubin.

The President left at 7 o’clock this evening on board the yacht Lapu-Lapu for a seven-day barnstorming tour of five southern Tagalog island provinces. These are Romblon, Masbate, Marinduque, to Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.

The Chief Executive was accompanied by Mrs. Leonila D. Garcia, political leaders, and wives of Cabinet members senators, and congressmen.

President Garcia continued working on pending state papers in efforts to clear his desk before he pulled out for the island provinces in the evening.

July 22.—PRESIDENT Garcia was in a fighting mood today, obviously elated by the elimination of a thorny problem to the Nacionalista Party election drive: the formulation of a senatorial slate.

Rising early from a good night’s rest, the President wrested from newsmen, during an informal press conference aboard the RPS Lapu-Lapu the initiative in commenting on current political issues.

The Chief Executive did not need much prodding in answering his opposition rival’s criticism of his administrative order banning relatives of the President, the Vice-President, the Senate President, and the Speaker from certain government transactions.

Vice-President Diosdado Macapagal was quoted as having declared that President Garcia should have followed the late President Magsaysay’s example” by issuing the ban upon assuming the presidency four years ago.

“Obviously,” the President fumed, “Macapagal is ignorant of the fact that Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law) was enacted only last year and my administrative order is grounded on that status rather than an imitation of President Magsaysay.”

“I’m no carbon copy of Ramon Magsaysay,” President Garcia stressed as he explained that he could not have revived the Magsaysay ban before the passage of the anti-graft law because he considered it “untenable from the legal point of view.”

President Garcia observed that the Magsaysay ban was issued without benefit of a thorough legal study and had the effect of completely denying the President’s relatives access to their government.

“But with the passage of the anti-graft law,” he added, “the situation is entirely different since the statute now pinpoints specific transactions in the government which presidential kin may not engage in.”

President talked to newsmen shortly before he disembarked in Odiongan, Romblon, to address a morning rally at the local plaza.

In his stumping speech President Garcia accused Vice-President Macapagal of doing nothing concrete for the masses.

“Will hand-shaking solve the problems of the nation?” the President asked with sarcasm.

Odiongan is the first stop of the President’s seven-day stumping tour in Romblon, Masbate, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Catanduanes, and Marinduque.

President Garcia covered some 54 kilometers of territory, including Odiongan, Despujol, Calatrava, San Agustin, and Romblon towns with two major rallies and two whistle stops.

With the presidential party are Secretary of Public Works Florencio Moreno, Rep. Jose D. Moreno, Mrs. Garcia, Secretary Dominador Aytona, Press Secretary Jose C. Nable, Mrs. Daniel Z. Romualdez, Mrs. Elpidio Valencia, Mrs. Isagani V. Campo, and other high officials.

President Garcia, in his speech, warned that the return of the Liberals to power would restore a regime of terror.

The President administered the path of affiliation with the Nacionalista Party of 92 Liberal Party leaders in Romblon, among them ex-Mayor Federico Maaba, ex-Councilor Andres Pitalino, Celso Balqueza, and Policarpio and Antonio Mongari.

In San Agustin, Odiongan, and Romblon towns the President cited progress attained by the nation during the NP regime, including improved living conditions of the rural people and unprecedented advance in industry.

President Garcia today proclaimed Tuesday, July 25, 1961, as College Editors’ Day. The proclamation was issued in conjunction with the pearl anniversary of the College Editors’ Guild.

The President cited in his proclamation the College Editors’ Guild for having been “instrumental in fostering closer understanding among our student constituencies, insuring freedom of the college press, encouraging good literature, elevating the standards of collegiate journalism, and rendering service to the country through the dissemination of knowledge and information.”

Source: National Library of the Philippines

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1961). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 57(30), cclxix-cclxxiv.

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