History of the Philippines (1946-1965)

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This article covers the history of the Philippines from the granting of independence in 1946 to the end of the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal.

Independent Philippines and the Third Republic (1946-1972)

In April 1946, elections were held but despite the fact that the Democratic Alliance won the election they were not allowed to take their seats under the pretext that force had been used to manipulate the elections. The United States withdrew its sovereignty over the Philippines on July 4, 1946, as scheduled.

Manuel Roxas (Liberal Party), having been inaugurated as President before the granting of independence, strengthened political and economic ties with the United States in the controversial Philippine-US Trade Act, which allowed the US to partake equally in the exploitation of the country's natural resources—and rented sites for 23 military bases to the US for 99 years. These bases would later be used to launch operations in the areas of Korea, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

During the Roxas administration, a general amnesty was granted for those who had collaborated with the Japanese while at the same time the Huks were declared illegal. His administration ended prematurely when he died of heart attack April 15, 1948 while at the US Air Force Base in Pampanga.

Vice President Elpidio Quirino (Liberal Party, henceforth referred to as LP) was sworn in as President after the death of Roxas. He ran for election in 1949 against Jose P. Laurel (Nacionalista Party, henceforth referred to as NP) and won.

During this time, the CIA under the leadership of Lt. Col. Edward G. Lansdale was engaged in paramilitary and psychological warfare operations with the goal to suppress the Huk Movement. Among the measures which were undertaken were psyops-campaigns which exploited the superstition of many Filipinos and acts of violence by government soldiers which were disguised as Huks. By 1950, the US had provided the Philippine military with supplies and equipment worth $200 million dollars.

Ramon Magsaysay was elected President in 1953. His campaign was massively supported by the CIA, both financially and through practical help in discrediting his political enemies.

The succeeding administrations of presidents Carlos P. Garcia (NP, 1957-61) and Diosdado Macapagal (LP, 1961-65) sought to expand Philippine ties to its Asian neighbors, implement domestic reform programs, and develop and diversify the economy.

Macapagal ran for reelection in 1965, but was defeated by former party-mate, Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who had switched to the Nacionalista Party.