The Commonwealth of the Philippines (1933- )
The United States, with the aid of a Philippine commission, overwhelmingly
passed the Philippine Independence Act, otherwise known as the
Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act, over the veto of President Herbert Hoover. The Act was
opposed by Philippine Senate President Manuel L. Quezon partly because the
United States would still be in control of its military bases in the country. Under
Quezon's influence the Act was rejected by the Philippine legislature.
A revised Act, The Philippine Independence Act (also known as The Tydings-
McDuffie Act, named after its authors Millard Tydings and John McDuffie of the
U.S. Senate) was passed on March 24, 1934. It was signed into law by U.S.
President Theodore Roosevelt. It provided for Philippine self-government and
eventual independence after a ten-year transitional period. Manuel L. Quezon
headed a Philippine Independence mission in Washington to lobby the U.S.
Congress for its passage.
The Act called for the establishment of a government of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines before granting the country its independence. During the ten-year
transitional period, the Americans can maintain its military forces in the country,
and the U.S. President can call into military service all military forces of the
Philippine government. The act also reclassified all Filipinos then living in the
United States as aliens for immigration purposes.
The Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth with the establishment
of the Commonwealth Constitution in 1935. Manuel L. Quezon was elected
president and was tasked with preparing the country for full independence after a
ten-year transition period.
President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmeña took their oath of
office during the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth government in
November 15, 1935. President Quezon took this oath of office for his second term
as President of the Commonwealth Government at Malinta Tunnel, Corregidor in
December 30, 1941.
The Commonwealth Constitution, used to guide the Philippine Commonwealth
government, was suspended during the Japanese occupation and was restored
after the war until a new Constitution was ratified in 1973 during the
administration of President Marcos.
The Filipino Repatriation Act was passed in 1935 calling for the U.S. government
to entice Filipinos living in the U.S. to return to the Philippines by offering them free
transportation and passage back to their country. Those deciding to re-enter the
U.S. were subjected to the immigration quota of 50 immigrants per year under the
Tydings-McDuffie Act . The U.S. family reunification was stopped and Filipinos
waited for many years to be re-united with their family members abroad. The Act
was declared unconstitutional in 1940. About 2,190 Filipinos returned to their
country under the repatriation program.
The Sakdalista attempted an uprising with armed partisans seizing municipal
buildings in 14 towns, in May 2, 1935. The uprising was crushed the next day, with
the loss of about a hundred lives.
Filipino women acquired the right to vote during elections when the law on
women's suffrage was passed on December 14, 1937.
President Manuel L. Quezon, on December 30, 1937, proclaimed the selection of
the Tagalog language to be used as the basis for the evolution and adoption of
the national language of the Philippines