Official Week in Review: November 27 – December 3, 1970

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November 27—

PRESIDENT MARCOS and the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, led the nation in extending a warm welcome to His Holiness, Pope Paul VI.

In his welcome remarks, the President said that His Holiness came “at a time of trial, of deep sorrow and. deprivation as a result of a natural calamity which reminds us that all of us are in the hands of God,” and “at a time of national ordeal as we seek to change and alter the very basis of our fundamental law of our society.”

The President pointed out that faith and freedom,—faith in Christ and freedom in democracy—the two most priceless gifts of Western civilization,” are now under trial.”

For these reasons, he said, “because we cherish this faith and the freedom of true democracy, we greet you as a dedicated successor of your namesake, Paul, who said that he had an equal duty to everyone, Greek or Babarian, learned or simple, for ‘there are no human preferences with God. (See pp. 10852 to 10853-A for full text of the President’s speech)

In reply, His Holiness, the Pope said that “we come here in obedience to our spiritual mission: to take part in the deliberations of the conference of the bishops of the whole of Eastern Asia.”

Continuing, the Pope said, “We wish to seek together, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, how best to proclaim the Gospel to the men of this time and of this continent. We are seeking to make an eternal and universal message an answer to the questions asked by the man of today. The Gospel is, for all men, the message of salvation.”

The President and the First Lady arrived at the Manila International Airport at 8:40 a.m., or 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Upon arrival at the MIA, the Chief Executive was given military honors, including a 21-gun salute and review by a composite battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

After the airport ceremonies, the First Couple spearheaded a motorcade which proceeded to the Nayong Pilipino where the Pontiff made a whirlwind tour of the miniature replica of the Philippines.

From the Nayong Pilipino, the President and the First Lady took a helicopter to the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros where Liturgical Procession was held, and a Holy Mass celebrated by His Holiness.

After the Mass, the President and Mrs. Marcos returned to Malacañang while the Pope and his entourage proceeded to the Luneta, then to the Apostolic Nunciature.

Among those present at the welcome ceremonies were Vice President Fernando Lopez and Mrs. Lopez, former Presidents Carlos P. Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal and their ladies, former First Ladies Esperanza L. vda. de Osmeña, Trinidad Roxas and Luz B. Magsaysay, Senate President and Mrs. Gil J. Puyat, Speaker and Mrs. Jose B. Laurel, Jr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Mrs. Roberto Concepcion, Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Manuel Collantes, Rufino J. Cardinal Santos and Julio Cardinal Rosales; Msgr. Carmine Rocco, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; and the presidents of the Asian Episcopal Conferences.

In his remarks at the Malacañang reception for His Holiness Pope Paul VI, who came to call on him, the Chief Executive said the Philippines has embarked on. a peaceful but revolutionary reformation in its social and economic programs, but added such a reformation can only lead to lasting results if it is based on moral responsibility.

“I believe I can assure Your Holiness,” he said, “that the public authorities of this Republic are conscious of that responsibility.” (See pp. 10858-B to 1085’J-D for full test of the President’s remark.)

President Marcos pointed out that national leaders are and will continue to be actively engaged in seeking an equitable and humane solution to the urgent problem of inequality between those who have too much and those who have too little.

“The Pope’s timely visit,” he emphasized, “reminds Filipinos that in their solemn act of national re-examination the great encyclicals on social justice which have come from Rome since Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum down to the more recent pronouncements of Mater et Magistra and Pope Paul’s own Popularum Progressio are foundry relevant.

In his response, the Pontiff expressed his appreciation for the “remarkable welcome which we received on arriving on your soil,” and the hospitality that had been extended to them in Malacañang.

The Pope also informed the President that he was aware “of the lofty intentions which had inspired, and still inspire the policies of your government.”

“We are certain,” the Pope said, “that the cordial meeting between the Successor of Peter and the highest official among the clear Filipino people, the only people in the Far East that is Christian, in this greater part of the world, will likewise be an. effective endeavor for new and vigorous efforts in favor of man.”

November 28—

PRESIDENT MARCOS spent most of the day in his office at Malacañang working on state papers, with occasional consultations with his staff and ranking officials. He did not receive any private visitors.

In one of the orders that issued from his desk, the President ordered all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government to submit an annual program for the procurement of supplies, materials and equipment.

In his order, the President pointed out lie huge annual cost of purchasing supplies, materials and equipment, and that emergency procurements and piecemeal requisitions are wasteful and extravagant, and therefore must be avoided.

To achieve an economical, efficient, and effective procurement system, the President said, government agencies and the Bureau of Supply Coordination must project and plan ahead, so that a basis for a workable procurement program may be devised.

It is in this consideration that the President directed all heads of departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the national government to submit an annual procurement program projecting the needs of their offices during the year.

In the afternoon, he arid the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, left Malacañang to attend the Mass at the Rizal Park, officiated by Pope Paul VI. They both received Holy Communion.

Later, on his return to Malacañang, the President resumed his desk work. He lifted the ban on public school athletic meets below the regional level, which was instituted early this year.

Lifting of the ban was recommended by Director Liceria K. Soriano of Public Schools. Secretary of Education Onofre D. Corpuz and Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr. concurred with the decision.

November 29—

PRESIDENT MARCOS expressed the hope that the journey of Pope Paul VI will help achieve the universal dream of a lasting peace.

The President, accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and their children Imee and Irene, led a big crowd of well-wishers to bid good-bye to the Pontiff who left in the evening bound for Pago-Pago Islands in the Pacific, the nest itinerary in his Asian tour.

In brief remarks prior to the Pope’s departure, President Marcos quoted from the Pope’s appeal to the United Nations which he said men must realize the truth.

His Holiness said then: “Peace is the fruit of a moral transformation of mankind, there is no improvising a true peace: one cannot maintain a peace that is imposed by oppression or by fear or by juridical orders that are unjust and no longer admissible. Peace must be human, and therefore free, just, happy.”

In parting, the President asked the Holy Father “to pray for God’s peace, a free, just and happy peace, for our people, and God’s blessings on our Republic and its government, on the deliberations of those who chart bur course to economic well-being and social justice and progress, and above all on the dispossessed and heartbroken among us, who are so close to your own heart, and to whom you have given fresh hopes which we shall all endeavor to fulfill.” (See pp. 10853-E and 10853-F for full text of the President’s speech.)

In the morning, the President issued a proclamation declaring the period from February 15 to 21, 19T1 as real estate industry week.

He also signed an administrative order, amending Administrative Order No. 240 of September 18, 1970, which created a committee to study the financing scheme for nationwide river control and reforestation projects.

The amending order includes the Commissioner of Forest Products Research and Industries Development Commission as a member of the Payer Control and Reforestation Committee.

In proclaiming a real estate industry week, the President took note of the coming meeting in Manila, starting February 15 next year, of the Sixth. Pan Pacific Congress of Real Estate Appraisers, Counselors and Valuers.

November 30—

PRESIDENT MARCOS spent a quiet day working on government papers. In his message on the 107th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the president, said:

On the occasion of Bonifacio day this year, we pay tribute to a man who inscribed his name in history by committing commonest of his fellowmen to the highest principles of individual honor, freedom and national dignity.

To that extraordinary common man, more than to many others perhaps in the pantheon of our remembered heroes, the nation owes much of the dynamic spirit that moves it to this day. Especially at a time when the nation is about to embark in the historic act of rewriting its Constitution, we are called upon to reaffirm the fact that it was perhaps in Bonifacio’s, more than in any other’s time, that we first sought to lay the foundation of a just equitable and progressive Filipino society.

The strong nationalist spirit, which animates a growing number of our countrymen today, makes it doubly incumbent upon us to come up with a new Constitution that will ensure the growth of that society.

Among other business, he granted executive clemency to 68 convicts, and smarted the sweeping reform of the country’s penal system with proposals to decongest Muntinlupa prison.

The President granted the pardons and commutations of sentence as a gesture marking the Holy Father’s visit here. The penal reforms have been part of the program of change the President had long envisioned, which he means to implement at this time with vigor.

Through the day, the President worked at his desk, except for brief breaks. He received no visitors.

December 1—

PRESIDENT MARCOS proposed that Asia adopt an ideology of cooperation, to accelerate development and create for Asia an inner strength. He broached this idea, in a speech delivered at the opening ceremonies of the first Asian conference on agricultural credit and cooperatives, held at the Philamlife auditorium at about midmorning.

Earlier, the President as usual worked in his study. Then at about 10 a.m., he left Malacañang for the conference hall on United Nations avenue.

On his return to Malacañang, he received the Indian Minister on Power and Irrigation, Dr. K, L. Rao, who made a courtesy call following his arrival Monday for a weeklong visit at the invitation of the government. He will observe agricultural and hydroelectric projects in the country.

Before noon, the President conferred with Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos; and with former PAAF officials Philip Monserrat, Chito Feliciano and Enrique Quema.

During the meeting with the justice secretary, the Chief Executive directed the former to prepare an administrative order transferring all prisoners serving not more than three-year terms from Muntinlupa to provincial jails.

The President issued the order upon being informed by Secretary Abad Santos that prisoners may be transferred from the national penitentiary to provincial jails without legislative authority.

The President had earlier instructed Secretary Abad Santos to look into the legality of transferring prisoners with light sentences from Muntinlupa to provincial jails as a means of decongesting the overcrowded national penitentiary.

In the afternoon, the President received a delegation from Misamis Oriental led by Sen. Emmanuel Pelaez and Gov. Concordio Diel. The group took up local problems with the President, notably the procurement of waterworks facilities for the province.

Among those with the delegation were Provincial Board Members Alejandro and Francisco Abrogar; Provincial Treasurer Eleno Cabanlit, Gingoog City Mayor and Mrs. Romulo Rodriguez, Jr., Mayors Escolastico Laura of Lugait, Eugenio Alcid of Manticao, Salvador Legaspi of Naawan, Ismael Labis of Alubijid, Mariano Tan of El Salvador, Sergio Jocalan of Opol, Cesar Jamisalamin of Villanueva, Manuel Varquez of Balingasag, Jose Adar of Lagonglong, Jose Yatol of Sugbongcogon, Capistrano Legaspi of Kinoguitan, Vicente Santos of Balingcon, Victorino Serina of Talisayan, and Narcisa Pelaez of Medina.

Later in the afternoon, the President met once more with Monserrat, Feliciano and Quema, and the members of the National Olympic Committee, with whom the trio have had a falling out.

The President later issued an appeal to government officials and employees to contribute one-clay’s salary for the repair and. reconstruction of elementary schools and hospitals destroyed by recent typhoons.

He issued the appeal after receiving a report on the extent of damage wrought by the recent typhoons from the National Disaster Control Committee, during a conference which he held in Malacañang in the evening.

The President said that these contributions will be added to the funds that the government will provide for the purpose in order to restore public facilities to normalcy as quickly as possible.

December 2—

PRESIDENT MARCOS received a number of visitors and had several conferences with various officials, to make the day a particularly busy time.

Paying courtesy calls were:

1. Carlos Lleras Restrepo, former President of Colombia and the incumbent chairman of the United Nations FAQ special committee on agrarian reforms. He came with Land Authority Gov. Conrado Estrella and other local officials.

2. Gen. Jesus Vargas (AFP, retired), SSATO secretary-general, who consulted with the President on SEATO affairs, after a trip to Europe and the U. S. where he also talked with heads of states affiliated with the organization.

3. Kenneth MacLeish, senior assistant editor of the National Geographic Magazine, who has been here for a month looking into the conditions of Philippine cultural minorities. He was accompanied by PANAMIN Secretary Manuel Elizalde, Jr.

The President conferred with former RCA Chairman Alfredo Montelibano; and later in the day with Sen, Mamintal Tamano, Gov. Arsenio Quibranza of Lanao del Norte and Princess Potri Ali Pacasum on problems of the region.

Also conferring with the President in the morning were Rep. Jose Puyat, Jr. and Gov. Recaredo Castillo of Surigao del Sur, along with a number of municipal mayors, on local problems.

In the afternoon, the President was interviewed by Thomas Pepper of the Baltimore Sun.

For the rest of the his working day, he concentrated on official papers,

Among other things, the President:

1. Appointed four members of the board of directors of the Philippine-American Educational Foundation. Named directors were Chairman Gerardo Sicat of the National Economic Council, Dr. Juan Salcedo, Dr. Antonio Isidro, and Undersecretary Juan L. Manuel of the Department of Education.

2. Ordered that relief goods and seismograph and other detection instruments be sent immediately to Batanes, which recently suffered a series of earthquakes.

Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr., relaying the President’s order, wired Brig. Gen. Jesus Singson, chief of the Philippine Air Force, to assign a PAF plane to the relief mission for the province.

3. Asked Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos to give “such assistance as may be extended” to two newsmen in South Cotabato who are facing libel charges before the Court of First Instance of that province.

Reports reaching the President indicated that the two newspapermen. Victor C. Robin and Rene Peralta, editor-publisher and columnist, respectively, of the Southern Mail have been cited for libel by Mayor Restia de la Cruz of Norala, South Cotabato.

4. Ordered that henceforth, all those who will settle, on public lands must first of all organize themselves into agricultural cooperatives.

The formation of cooperatives among settlers, which follows the government policy of cooperative undertakings, will also help much in effecting rapid development of the new communities to be formed by the settlers, Jr. the spirit of “bayanihan,” which is a long cherished Filipino tradition.

December 3—

PRESIDENT MARCOS received at least three big groups at Malacañang including public officials, and private individual callers.

As usual, the President had a full day of activity during which he issued. an appeal for full support of the Red Cross fund drive, which starts early next year; and named the new members of the government reorganization committee, representing the executive department, which includes two from the private sector. Chosen to head the committee was Armand Fabella.

Other members named to the Commission were Cezar Zalamea and Roberto Ongpin. Along with Febella they will represent the Executive Department in the Commission. Members of the group “may come from within or without the government service, according to the reorganization law.

The other members are three senators appointed by the Senate President: Senators Salvador H. Laurel and Lorenzo Teves from the majority party, and Benigno Aquino, Jr. representing the minority party; and three Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House Reps, Rogaciano Mercado and Rafael Legaspi representing the majority party, and Justiniano S. Montano of the minority party.

The President also issued the official order transferring short-term prisoners in Muntinlupa to local jails, as one way of decongesting the national prison. The order was issued to Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos.

Notable among the President’s visitors were:

1. Ambassador Pablo Peña, Philippine envoy to Burma, who called for final instructions prior to his return to Rangoon. Peña accompanied General Ne Win and Mrs. Ne Win of Burma to Manila.

2. Former Supreme Court Justice Conrado Sanchez and former Solicitor General Arturo Alafriz, Jr., president of the Philippine chapter and member of the organizing committee for the Law Association of Asia and Western Pacific, and executive vice president of the Philippine Lawyers Association and chairman of the Manila Conference of the Law Association of Asia and Western Pacific, respectively, who called on the President, accompanied by Secretary Abad Santos, to invite the President to deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the said conference, to be held in Manila, from January 18 to 22, 1971, at the Philamlife auditorium.

Member countries include Ceylon, Fiji, Hongkong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

3. Judges Crispin and Augusto Sta. Maria, president and vice president, respectively, of the League of Municipal Judges, who took up with the President problems pertaining to the work of their colleagues.

4. A. delegation from Ifugao province, headed by Gov. Gualberto Lumauig and Rep. Romulo Lumauig, and which included Mayors Angelito Gianid of Lamut, Pugong Lopez of Hungduan and Carlos Cattiling of Potia, among others. The group took up local problems.

5. A delegation from Eastern Samar headed by Rep. Felipe Abrigo and Gov. Victor A. Amasa, and Mayors Cornelio Sison of Guiuan, Jesus Rediang of Mercedes, Francisco Cabogawan of Salcedo, Gregorio Anguren of Guinopandan, Filemon Gañas of Lawa-an, Guillermo Altar of MacArthur, Pedro Candido of Hernani, Rufilo Tan of Llorente, Gerundio Lira of Balancayan, Crispin Ambida of Maydolong, Luis Capito of Borongan, Felix Dolegon of San Julian, Aniceto Cabreros of Taft, Pedro Cesista of An-avid, Hospicio Rivera of Dolores, Felix Morallos of San Policarpio, Pio Penangay of Arteche and Lucas Lomuntad of Jipapad, and Board Member S. Sabate. With the group were vice mayors of the foregoing towns and Gov. Irene Balite of Northern Samar. The delegation also took up local problems with the President.

In the afternoon, the President issued a Memorandum Circular limiting the government’s appeal for voluntary contributions for the repairs of hospitals and schools to only those employees receiving salaries of ₱600 or more a month.

This limitation was embodied in a Memorandum Circular issued through Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr., which also proposed the adoption of the “One-Appeal-Plan” for generating a relief and rehabilitation fund. The new memorandum revoked Memorandum Circular No. 24, series of 1966, which instituted a “One-Appeal-Plan” for employee contributions for charitable purposes.

During the day, the President designated Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr, as Philippine alternate governor with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), commonly known as the World Bank.

Mr. Melchor fills the post vacated by former Director-General Placido Mapa, Jr. of the Presidential Economic Staff who was recently named IBRD executive director.

The Philippine government’s participation in the World Bank is provided for in the articles of agreement of the IBRD, as set forth in the final act of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference of July 22, 1944.

The Philippine IBRD governor is Secretary of Finance Cesar E. A. Virata who completes the Philippine participation in the World Bank with Secretary Melchor as his alternate, and Mapa as the executive director.

The term of each in the Bank is five years.

Source: University of the Philippines, College of Law Library

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1970). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 66(49), cdxxvii-cdxxxiv.