Carlos P. Garcia

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Carlos P. García
Carlos P Garcia photo.jpg
8th President of the Philippines
In office
March 18, 1957 – December 30, 1961
Vice President None (March 18 – December 30, 1957)
Diosdado Macapagal (1957–1961)
Preceded byRamón Magsaysay
Succeeded byDiosdado Macapagal
1st President of the 1971 Philippine Constitutional Convention
In office
June 1, 1971 – June 14, 1971
PresidentFerdinand Marcos
Succeeded byDiosdado Macapagal
4th Vice President of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1953 – March 18, 1957
PresidentRamón Magsaysay
Preceded byFernando López
Succeeded byDiosdado Macapagal
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
In office
December 30, 1953 – August 22, 1957
PresidentRamón Magsaysay (1953–1957)
Himself (1957)
Preceded byJoaquín Miguel Elizalde
Succeeded byFelixberto Serrano
Senator of the Philippines
In office
May 25, 1946 – December 30, 1953
Governor of Bohol
In office
December 30, 1933 – December 30, 1941
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Bohol's 3rd district
In office
Preceded byTeodoro Abueva
Succeeded byFilomeno Orbeta Caseñas
Personal details
Carlos García y Polístico

(1896-11-04)November 4, 1896
Talibon, Bohol
Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedJune 14, 1971(1971-06-14) (aged 74)
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Resting placeLibingan ng mga Bayani, Metro Manila, Philippines
Political partyNacionalista Party
(m. 1933; his death 1971)
ChildrenLinda García-Campos
Alma materSilliman University[1]
Philippine Law School (National University)
Coat of Arms of Carlos García y Polístico (Spanish Order of the Civil Merit).svg
Coat of arms of Carlos P. García

Carlos Polistico García (November 4, 1896 – June 14, 1971) was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist, guerrilla, and Commonwealth military leader who was the eighth President of the Philippines.

Early life[edit]

García was born in Talibon, Bohol, Philippines on November 4, 1896, to Policronio García and Ambrosia Polístico, who were both natives of Bangued, Abra.

García grew up with politics, with his father serving as a municipal mayor for four terms. He acquired his primary education in his native town Talibon, then took his secondary education in Cebu Provincial High School, now Abellana National School, both at the top of his class. Initially, he pursued his college education at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and later studied at the Philippine Law School, then the College of Law of National University, where he earned his law degree in 1923 and later, where he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa from the National University in 1961. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Toyo University in Japan.[2] He was among the top ten law students in the 1923 bar examination.[1][3]

Rather than practice law right away, he worked as a teacher for two years at Bohol Provincial High School. He became famous for his poetry in Bohol, where he earned the nickname "Prince of Visayan Poets" and the "Bard from Bohol."


On May 24, 1933, he married Leonila Dimataga. The couple had a daughter, Linda García-Campos.

Political career[edit]

García entered politics in 1925, scoring an impressive victory to become Representative of the Third District of Bohol. He was elected for another term in 1928 and served until 1931. He was elected Governor of Bohol in 1933, but served only until 1941 when he successfully ran for Senate, but he was unable to serve due to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during the World War II. He assumed the office when Congress re-convened in 1945 after Allied liberation and the end of the war. When he resumed duties as senator after the war, he was chosen Senate majority floor leader.[4] The press consistently voted him as one of the most outstanding senators. Simultaneously, he occupied a position in the Nacionalista Party.

World War II[edit]

García refused to cooperate with the Japanese during the war. He did not surrender when he was placed on the wanted list with a price on his head. He instead and took part in the guerilla activities and served as adviser in the free government organized in Bohol.[citation needed]


García (right) and Magsaysay (left)

García was the running mate of Ramón Magsaysay in the 1953 presidential election in which both men won. He was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs by President Magsaysay, and for four years served concurrently as Vice-President.

As Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he opened formal reparation negotiations in an effort to end the nine-year technical state of war between Japan and the Philippines, leading to an agreement in April 1954. During the Geneva Conference of 1954 on Korean unification and other Asian problems, García, as chairman of the Philippine delegation, attacked communist promises in Asia and defended the U.S. policy in the Far East. In a speech on May 7, 1954–the day that the Viet Minh defeated French forces at the Battle of Diên Biên Phu in Vietnam– García repeated the Philippine stand for nationalism and opposition to Communism.[citation needed]

García acted as chairman of the eight-nation Southeast Asian Security Conference held in Manila in September 1954, which led to the development of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).[5]


Presidential styles of
Carlos P. García
Reference styleHis Excellency
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Alternative styleMr. President
Economy of the Philippines under
President Carlos García
1957 22.68 million
Gross Domestic Product (1985 constant prices)
1957Increase Php 189,457 million ($ 94.7 billion)
1961Increase Php 224,430 million ($85.0 billion)
Growth rate, 1957-614.6%
Per capita income (1985 constant prices)
1957Increase Php 8,353
1961Decrease Php 7,927
Total exports
1957Increase Php 35,980 million
1961Increase Php 39,845 million
Exchange rates
1 US US$ = Php 2.64
1 Php = US US$ 0.38
Sources: Philippine Presidency Project
Malaya, Jonathan; Eduardo Malaya. So Help Us God... The Inaugurals of the Presidents of the Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc.


Vice-President Carlos P. García (right) was sworn in as president upon Magsaysay's death at the Council of State Room in the Executive Building of the Malacañan Palace complex. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Ricardo Parás.

At the time of President Magsaysay's sudden death on March 17, 1957, García was heading the Philippine delegation to the SEATO conference then being held at Canberra, Australia.[6] Having been immediately notified of the tragedy, Vice President García enplaned back for Manila. Upon his arrival, he directly repaired to Malacañang Palace to assume the duties of President. Chief Justice Ricardo Paras of the Supreme Court, was at hand to administer the oath of office. President García's first actions were to declare a period of national mourning and to preside over the burial ceremonies for Magsaysay.[6]


After much discussion, both official and public, the Congress of the Philippines, finally, approved a bill outlawing the Communist Party of the Philippines. Despite the pressure exerted against the congressional measure, García signed the said bill into law as Republic Act No. 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act on June 19, 1957.[6][7]

Republic Act No. 1700 was superseded by Presidential Decree No. 885, entitled "Outlawing Subversive Organization, Penalizing Membership Therein and For Other Purposes." This was amended by Presidential Decree No. 1736, and later superseded by Presidential Decree No. 1835, entitled, "Codifying The Various Laws on Anti-Subversion and Increasing the Penalties for Membership in Subversive Organization." This, in turn, was amended by Presidential Decree No. 1975. On May 5, 1987, Executive Order No. 167 repealed Presidential Decrees No. 1835 and No. 1975 as being unduly restrictive of the constitutional right to form associations.[8]

On September 22, 1992, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended, was repealed by Republic Act No. 7636 during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos.[9]

Filipino First Policy[edit]

García exercised the Filipino First Policy, for which he was known. This policy heavily favored Filipino businessmen over foreign investors. He was also responsible for changes in retail trade which greatly affected the Chinese businessmen in the country. In a speech during a joint session of Congress on September 18, 1946, García said the following:

We are called upon to decide on this momentous debate whether or not this land of ours will remain the cradle and grave, the womb and tomb of our race – the only place where we can build our homes, our temples, and our altars and where we erect the castles of our racial hopes, dreams and traditions and where we establish the warehouse of our happiness and prosperity, of our joys and sorrows.[10]

Austerity Program[edit]

In the face of the trying conditions in the country, García initiated what has been called "The Austerity Program". His administration was characterized by its austerity program and its insistence on a comprehensive nationalist policy. On March 3, 1960, he affirmed the need for complete economic freedom and added that the government no longer would tolerate the dominance of foreign interests (especially American) in the national economy. He promised to shake off "the yoke of alien domination in business, trade, commerce and industry." García was also credited with his role in reviving Filipino cultural arts.[5] The main points of the Austerity Program were:[6]

  1. The government would tighten up its controls to prevent abuses in the over shipment of exports under license and in under-pricing as well.
  2. There would be a more rigid enforcement of the existing regulations on barter shipments.
  3. Government imports themselves were to be restricted to essential items.
  4. The government also would reduce rice imports to a minimum.
  5. An overhauling of the local transportation system would be attempted so as to reduce the importation of gasoline and spare parts.
  6. The tax system would be revised so as to attain more equitable distribution of the payment-burden and achieve more effective collection from those with ability to pay.
  7. There would be an intensification of food production.

The program was hailed[6] by the people at large and confidence was expressed that the measures proposed would help solve the standing problems of the Republic.[6]

Bohlen–Serrano Agreement[edit]

During his administration, he acted on the Bohlen–Serrano Agreement, which shortened the lease of the American military bases from 99 years to 25 years and made it renewable after every five years.[11]

Republic Cultural Award[edit]

In addition to his laws and programs, the García administration also put emphasis on reviving the Filipino culture. In doing so, the Republic Cultural Award was created. To this day, the award is being given to Filipino artists, scientists, historians, and writers.[12]

1961 Presidential Election[edit]

At the end of his second term, he ran for re–election in the Presidential elections in November 1961, but was defeated by his Vice-President Diosdado Macapagal, who belonged to the opposing Liberal Party (the President and the Vice-President are elected separately in the Philippines).


Post-presidency and death[edit]

García, circa 1960s
President García's tomb at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

After his failed re-election bid, García retired to Tagbilaran to resume life as a private citizen.

On June 1, 1971, García was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, where delegates elected him as President of the convention. However, on June 14, 1971, García died from a heart attack on 5:57 p.m. at his Manila residence along Bohol Avenue (now Sergeant Esguerra Avenue), Quezon City.[14] He was succeeded as President of the convention by his former vice-president, Diosdado Macapagal.[citation needed]

García was the first layman to lie in state in Manila Cathedral—a privilege once reserved for the Archbishops of Manila—and the first President to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.[citation needed]


Foreign Honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Remembering Carlos P. García on his 115th Birth Anniversary" Archived January 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  2. ^ "Honorary Doctors | Toyo University". (in Japanese). Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "Carlos P. Garcia". Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  4. ^ "List of Previous Senators". Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Eufronio Alip, ed., The Philippine Presidents from Aguinaldo to Garcia (1958); Jesús V. Merritt, Our Presidents: Profiles in History (1962); and Pedro A. Gagelonia, Presidents All (1967). See also Hernando J. Abaya, The Untold Philippine Story (1967). Further information can be found in Ester G. Maring and Joel M. Maring, eds., Historical and Cultural Dictionary of the Philippines (1973).
  6. ^ a b c d e f Molina, Antonio. The Philippines: Through the centuries. Manila: University of Sto. Tomas Cooperative, 1961. Print.
  7. ^ "Republic Act No. 1700". Chan Robles Law Library. June 19, 1957.
  8. ^ "Executive Order No. 167, Series of 1987". Chan Robles Law Library. May 5, 1987.
  9. ^ "Republic Act No. 7636". Chan Robles Law Library. September 22, 1992.
  10. ^ "Our Vision and Mission". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  11. ^ Gregor, A. James (1989). In the Shadow of Giants: The Major Powers and the Security of Southeast Asia. Hoover Institution Press. pp. 119. ISBN 9780817988210.
  12. ^ "Carlos P. Garcia (1957-1961) | Philippine Presidents". Philippine Presidents. 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "CPG IS DEAD!". The Bohol Chronicle. June 15, 1971. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  15. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1959" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Filipino recipients of Spanish Decorations". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.
  17. ^ "President's Month in Review: March 16 – March 31, 1958". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press.

External links[edit]

Wikisource logo Works written by or about Carlos P. Garcia at Wikisource

House of Representatives of the Philippines
Preceded by
Teodoro Abueva
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Bohol's 3rd district
Succeeded by
Filomeno Orbeta Caseñas
Political offices
Preceded by
Fernando Lopez
Vice President of the Philippines
Title next held by
Diosdado Macapagal
Preceded by
Joaquin Miguel Elizalde
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Felixberto M. Serrano
Preceded by
Ramon Magsaysay
President of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Diosdado Macapagal
New office President of the 1971 Philippine Constitutional Convention
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ramon Magsaysay
Nacionalista Party nominee for President of the Philippines
1957, 1961
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Marcos