Former President Manuel L. Quezon celebrates his 144th birthday today. Filipinos will remember him not only as the late head of state, but also as the Father of the Filipino Language. The question of who Manuel is and what he did for the Philippines lingers.
The face on the P20 banknote is well-known to everyone. Growing up, Quezon City and the Quezon Province were both places that we heard about. These are just a few tributes to honor the memory of the former president. And today, in honor of MLQ, let us travel back in time to catch a glimpse of his life.
Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina was born on August 19, 1878, in Baler, which is now part of the Aurora Province. He finished his secondary education at Colegio de San Juan de Letran, where he graduated with honors. He then went on to study at the University of Sto. Tomas with the intent to study law. However, he left in 1899 to join the revolution against the United States led by Emilio Aguinaldo. After Aguinaldo’s surrender in 1901, Quezon returned to university to finish his degree, then passed the bar exams, finishing fourth.
In 1906, Manuel became the governor of Tayabas, and the same year he founded the Nacionalista Party with Sergio Osmeña. The following year, he got elected in the Philippine Assembly (now House of Representatives) where he served as a majority leader. From 1909 to 1916, he worked as one of the two resident commissioners to the U.S House of Representatives where he advocated for the Philippine Autonomy Act.
When Quezon returned to the Philippines, he entered the Senate and was elected as the Senate President. He won the Philippine presidential election in 1935, defeating both Emilio Aguinaldo and Gregorio Aglipay. As the country’s new president, he instituted and implemented new policies. Here are some of Quezon’s notable accomplishments during his presidency:
1. Women’s Suffrage
Manuel Quezon initiated women’s suffrage rights under the Commonwealth, and after years of setbacks, he signed the law allowing females to vote and engage in national affairs on September 15, 1935.
2. Jewish Refugees in the Philippines
On August 21, 1937, President Quezon issued the Proclamation No. 173 or the immigration open-door policy for the Jewish refugees who escaped the Nazi persecutions.
3. Philippine Independence Act
It is also known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act, and it is a law that granted the Philippines full independence following the establishment of the Commonwealth.
4. Institute of National Language
During the very first National Assembly, the Commonwealth Act No. 184 of 1936 was passed, establishing the Institute of National Language. Subsequently, Quezon issued Executive Order No. 134 which approved the use of Tagalog as the basis for the country’s national language.
It is a good thing to look back at the lives of prominent figures in Philippine history such as the former President Manuel L. Quezon. It is not just about paying tribute to them but also learning certain things about the past.
Ivanna, a gawky and indecisive person, uses words to escape the world's BS. When she isn't writing, she can be found reading, snacking on bakery-bought crinkles, binge-watching Netflix with her beau, or simply dozing off somewhere.