Elpidio R. Quirino (1948-1953)


When President Manuel Roxas died on April 15, 1948, Quirino succeeded him as president of the republic. For his weakness in tolerating rampant graft and corruption in his party, permitting immorality in the armed forces, and neglecting the impoverished plight of the majority of Filipinos, he was very unpopular, and in 1953 he was defeated by Ramon Magsaysay.

After the war, Quirino was elected vice-president in 1946 election, consequently the second and last for the Commonwealth and first for the third republic. After the death of the incumbent president Manuel Roxas in 1948, he succeeded the presidency. In what was claimed to be a dishonest and fraudulent 1949 presidential election, he won the president’s office under Liberal Party ticket, defeating Nacionalista vie and former president José P. Laurel as well as fellow Liberalista and former senate president José Avelino.


Poverty was present specifically by the starvation problems of the people in the Mountain Province. Wages of people cannot compensate with the expenses of th people and the prices of the products due to inflation. Famrlands were also disturbed by locusts and plagues of rats which render crops and was useless for the farmers. Housing was a huge problem since the war destroyed several sites in the rural areas which cannot be renovated for future use. Unemployment was also evident because the Americans were gradually decreasing their business in the Philippines.


Quirino promised that he will help in rebuilding, repairing and replacing the existing system in the country since it was after the war and everything was back to step one. He promised to solve the unemployment problems that were eminent then. He also intends to increase the wages of the people so as people can purchase and not just produce so as to decrease the inflation rate. Quirino would see to it that prices will be controlled in the market and there will be no overpricing on products. His administration will prioritize on the industrializing the country and using the talents and abilities of the citizens for the development of the Philippines.


Because the Philippines was still undergoing postwar reconstruction, Quirino focused on two main objectives. His first objective was to fix the economy of his administration. To achieve this goal, he established PACSA (President’s Action Committee on Social Amelioration), ACCFA (Agricultural Credit Cooperatives Financing Administration), Labor Management Advisory Board, and the Rural Banks of the Philippines. These were made to alleviate the sufferings of poor families, help the farmers market their products, advice him on matters concerning labor, and facilitate utilities in rural areas respectively. His second objective was to restore the faith and confidence of the people in the government body of the Philippines. To do this, he revived former president Quezon’s “fireside chats” which updated the people about the government via live radio broadcast from the Malacanang palace.

Contrasting to the treatment towards HUKBALAHAP members during Roxas’ administration, he vindicated them during his term. He granted amnesty to them on June 21, 1948.
Besides concluding peace with Japan, Quirino did many achievements during his term. Industrial ventures heightened, irrigation improved, and the road system developed. He also set up the Central Bank and Rural banking.


Many people were benefited by his programs and policies. PACSA was beneficial for financially challenged families; ACCFA aided farmers in selling what they harvested; Labor Management Advisory Board guided him on matters regarding labor; Rural Banks helped countrymen in the rural areas manage their finances; “Fireside chats” updated Filipinos about operations in the government; and Amnesty granting to the HUKBALAHAP members was beneficial for them because they were finally liberated from consequences resulting from their actions against the government.


Problems were still faced in the implementation in some of his programs or policies. One of which is the granting of amnesty to HUKBALAHAP members. Despite the liberation of the HUKS, terrorism was still soaring. The disparity between the military and the HUKS was still not settled. Besides his lack of skill in settling major disputes in the country, his failure to recognize poverty problems was also critiqued. Although he tapped the need to increase loan appeal from the Americans and established controls to protect local industries, he was not able to implement agrarian reforms.


Quirino’s administration was bombarded with controversies. The major controversy surrounding his governance was his bid for a second term in office in 1949. Next to the elections in 1969 (wherein Ferdinand Marcos won as president), the elections wherein Quirino won was believed to be the most corrupt. He was also the first president to undergo an impeachment trial because he allegedly purchased a very expensive Golden Orinola using government money. Along with these controversies, Quirino was also critiqued for permitting immorality in the armed forces, neglecting the problems of the masses, and involving himself to the American government which made him compliant to international economies. Because of these flaws, Ramon Magsaysay reigned in the next national elections.


When Quirino’s administration started, postwar reconstruction was still undergoing and the HUKS were still creating riot in the country. The economy was fluctuating because of the rise in the unemployment rate and inflation; and problems regarding housing, education, poverty and farmland intensified. To solve the problems in the country, he promised to repair the existing system. He also plans to control the prices and make producers consumers too. PACSA, ACCFA, Labor Management Advisory Board, Rural Banks, “Fireside chats”, and HUKBALAHAP amnesty were the programs/policies he established during his administration. Unfortunate families, farmers, his administration, HUKBALAHAP members, and the general public were benefited from this. Problems like the uprising of the HUKS still resumed during his time despite the amnesty. He was also not able to remedy the problems of the masses. Controversies like cheating in the elections and using government money to purchase a Golden Orinola made the people despise his administration.


Quirino’s grade will be 1 because although he implemented many programs and policies to recover the Philippines from its post-war condition, it was not enough to cover his flaws. He was a corrupt president and he was also closely tied with the American government. He tarnished the presidential history because he was the first president to undergo an impeachment trial.

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