Carlos Polestico García (November 4, 1896 – June 14, 1971) was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist, organized guerrilla and Commonwealth military leader, who was the eighth President of the Philippines.
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, the College of Law of National University, where he earned his law degree in 1923 and later, he received his honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa from National University in 1961. He was among the top ten in the bar examination.
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, and they had a daughter, Linda Garcia-Campos.
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. The press consistently voted him as one of the most outstanding senators. Simultaneously, he occupied a position in the Nacionalista Party.
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.
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 on 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– Garcia repeated the Philippine stand for nationalism and opposition to Communism.
|Presidential styles of|
Carlos P. García
|Reference style||His Excellency|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Alternative style||Mr. President|
|Gross Domestic Product (1985 constant prices)|
|1957||Php 189,457 million ($ 94.7 billion)|
|1961||Php 224,430 million ($85.0 billion)|
|Growth rate, 1957-61||4.6%|
|Per capita income (1985 constant prices)|
|1957||Php 35,980 million|
|1961||Php 39,845 million|
|1 US US$ = 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.
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. 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 Garcia's first actions dealt with the declaration of a period of mourning for the whole nation and the burial ceremonies for the late Chief-Executive Magsaysay.
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 on June 19, 1957.
Republic Act № 1700 was superseded by Presidential Decree № 885, entitled "Outlawing Subversive Organization, Penalizing Membership Therein and For Other Purposes." This was amended by Presidential Decree № 1736, and later superseded by Presidential Decree № 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 № 1975. On May 5, 1987, Executive Order № 167 repealed Presidential Decrees № 1835 and № 1975 as being unduly restrictive of the constitutional right to form associations.
On September 22, 1992, Republic Act № 1700, as amended, was repealed by Republic Act № 7636.
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.||”|
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." Garcia was also credited with his role in reviving Filipino cultural arts. The main points of the Austerity Program were:
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.
In addition to his laws and programs, the Garcia 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.
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 country).
After his failed re–election bid, García retired to Tagbilaran to resume as a private citizen.
On June 1, 1971, García was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. The convention delegates elected him as the President of the Convention. However, just days after his election, on June 14, 1971, Garcia died from a fatal heart attack on 5:57 p.m. at his residence in Bohol Avenue (now Sgt. Esguerra Avenue), Quezon City. He was succeeded as president of the Convention by his former Vice-President, Diosdado Macapagal.
García became the first layman to lie in state in Manila Cathedral—a privilege until then limited to a deceased Archbishop of Manila—and the first President to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
| Vice President of the Philippines
Title next held byDiosdado Macapagal
| President of the Philippines