How the American Parity Rights Provision was inserted in the Philippine Constitution…and who opposed it

How the American Parity Rights

Provision was inserted in the Philippine Constitution

…and who opposed it

By Apolinario Villalobos

The Parity Rights of the Americans was inserted in the Philippine Constitution when Manuel Roxas became the first President of the Philippine Republic in 1946. The said provision gave equal rights to the Americans in the exploitation of the country’s natural resources as well as other business undertakings. In explaining to the Filipinos at Plaza Miranda on March 11, 1947, he said:

“We have today our one big chance to convert our native land into an ideal of democracy. Our one chance is to grow and industrialize to reach the first rank of the nations of the world. We have this chance because of the heroism we displayed in the war, we have this chance because we have demonstrated by deed our love for freedom. We have earned the gratitude of mankind. We can and will show tomorrow that we deserve that gratitude by plunging courageously ahead in the great tasks we face.”

Because of that provision in the Philippine Constitution, the first President of the Republic of the Philippines practically, bound the Filipinos AGAIN to emancipation, this time to Americans.

History teachers never enlightened their students as to who opposed the “emancipation” as only few lines about it were devoted to these “true stalwarts” of Philippine democracy. Among these were Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel who never budged from their commitment to defend the Philippine Constitution. They were joined by Luis Taruc and other elected congressmen who belonged to the Democratic Alliance, whose members were non-collaborators during the WWII, intellectuals and peasants.

The Democratic group posed as hindrance to the passage of the Parity Rights Law which shall alter the Philippine Constitution. With their number, the administration of Roxas feared that the needed three-fourths vote will not be achieved. With the prompting of President Roxas, Congress passed a resolution unseating Taruc and the other members of the Democratic Alliance. The move was based on their alleged electoral frauds and terrorism “committed by Hukbalahaps in Central Luzon which resulted in the election of the six candidates of the Democratic Alliance and one Nacionalista. With them out, the Parity Rights Law was successfully integrated in the Constitution.

The years that followed saw the Filipinos sinking deeper in the muck of poverty, contrary to what Roxas dreamed of prosperity for the whole nation. He was a “dreamy” President whose oratorical promises remained promises until his death.

Today, there is another Roxas who delivers the same kind of promises…although, this time, he “dreams” about the promises of the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) of his mentor, President Pnoy Aquino, son of the former Senator Ninoy Aquino. History, indeed, repeats itself!

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