Third inauguration speech of President Manuel L. Quezon in 1943
Third Inaugural Address of His Excellency Manuel L. Quezon
President of the Philippines
Broadcast on November 15, 1943
Today is the eighth anniversary of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Eight years ago today I was inaugurated President. The achievements of our Commonwealth since its establishment I need not review for you know them well. Before the invasion of our country by the Japanese, we were living in peace, prosperity and contentment. Then the enemy struck, without provocation on our part. The shadow of death fell upon our towns and cities. Our people were maimed and killed, our homes wrecked or burned, our sacred shores trampled by the feet of the invader,
In Bataan we showed the world once more our heritage of heroism. By every nation’s first duty of self-defense and self-preservation, we took up arms and fought the invader. No self-respecting nation could have shirked the challenge of that treacherous attack that started in Baguio on December 8, 1941. To have avoided that challenge or to have cowered before it would have been to lose all pride and dignity, to have suffered a bottomless humiliation.
We Filipinos are not a people accustomed to crooking the knee to any power that may purpose to invade our country and to hold us in thrall. We have been overcome by superior forces, but we have never been outfought; our country has been conquered, but we have never been vanquished. Every power that has ever dared to overrun our country has known the avenging anger of Filipino arms.
I think of this as I lie on my bed today and recall every incident of our epic resistance from Vigan through Lingayen to Bataan. It showed that the defiant blood of Lapu-Lapu still courses in our veins, pulsating not one whit less proudly in the heart of such as Captain Jesus Villamor than in the hearts of Dagohoy, Diego Silang, Antonio Luna and Gregorio del Pilar.
Last year, on this same date, I addressed the people of the United States to tell them that after Bataan and Corregidor, our friendship is sealed in the blood of heroes, which makes it sacred and forever lasting. I want to tell my people today that during this one year that I have been in America, this country has been giving the Filipinos tangible evidences not only of friendship but of its gratitude for our uncompromising stand in the defense of liberty and freedom.
Not only has President Roosevelt recognized the Philippines as possessed of the attributes of full nationhood, as a result of which the Philippines is now a member of the United Nations, a virtual recognition of the Commonwealth as an independent nation, but the Philippines has been given a seat in the Pacific War Council, and President Roosevelt and I have agreed to set up a joint commission to study problems of Philippine economic reconstruction, financial rehabilitation and future security.
We have been overcome by superior forces, but we have never been outfought; our country has been conquered, but we have never been vanquished.
Crowning my efforts and negotiations in your behalf since undertaking the conduct of the affairs of our Commonwealth Government from the City of Washington more than a year ago, the President of the United States recommended in a message to the Congress of October 6, 1943, specific measures designed to effect the establishment of an independent Philippine Republic at the earliest time that the course of the war will safely permit, and to provide for our people full post-war rehabilitation, and future economic and national security.
President Roosevelt asked Congress that he be given the authority after consultation with the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands, to advance the date provided in the existing law and to proclaim the legal independence of the Philippines as a separate and self-governing nation as soon as feasible.
The President’s message goes beyond the commitments made in the Tydings-McDuffie Act, for it recommends not only the establishment of an independent Philippine Republic, but it gives the assurance that the political and territorial integrity of the Republic will be defended by the power of the United States in concert and cooperation with the Philippines.
The message recommends even more than that. It recommends legislation covering the trade relations between the United States and the Philippines after independence that will assist the Philippines as an independent nation to become economically secure. It urges that the Congress appropriate funds for the economic rehabilitation of the Philippines, and for the reconstruction of all government properties and public works and improvements that have been destroyed since the Japanese invasion. Damages caused to, and losses suffered by government as well as private corporations and private individuals will be covered. And more important still, the poor people who have lost their small properties, such as their little houses, carabaos, bogs, etc., will be fully indemnified.
As the President stated in his message, all of this is due to the Filipino people ‘in recognition of their heroic role in this war, the political ties which have bound us together, and the bonds of friendship which will join us together in the future.’
I know that Japan has granted a so-called independence to the Philippines. How unreal and meaningless that independence is, you and I know. The real purpose of this pseudo-independence is contained in the text of the military pact ratified by the National Assembly October 18, according to a Manila-datelined Domei report broadcast by Tokyo, which says that “the high contracting parties shall closely cooperate on matters political, economic and military for the successful prosecution of the war of Greater East Asia.”
The terms of the alliance, as announced by Tokyo, clearly show the real purpose behind the granting by Japan of a so-called independence, namely, to use the Philippines “politically, economically and militarily for the successful prosecution of the war of Greater East Asia.”
I want to give you my assurance that the Government of the Philippines will provide amply for those who fought in this war, for their orphans and their dependents.
“I also want to assure you that the time of your redemption is fast approaching. America is gathering her strength in the Pacific, and soon General MacArthur will be able to start the reconquest of our homeland. Indeed, he has already won important battles in the Southwest Pacific, in which he has decisively defeated the Japanese and driven then out of Gona, Buna, Munda, Villa, Salamaua, Finschafen, in New Guinea, and Kolobangara, in the central Solomons, all preparatory for that conquest.
I know that Japan has granted a so-called independence to the Philippines. How unreal and meaningless that independence is, you and I know.
I realize how sometimes you must have felt that you were being abandoned. But once again I want to assure you that the Government and people of the United States have never forgotten their obligations to you. General MacArthur has been constantly asking for more planes, supplies and materials in order that he can carry out his one dream, which is to oust the Japanese from our shores. That not more has been done so far is due to the fact that it was simply a matter of inability to do more up to the present time. The situation has now changed. I have it on good authority that General MacArthur will soon have the men and material he needs for the reconquest of our homeland.
I have felt your sufferings so deeply and have constantly shared them with you that I have been a sick man since I arrived in Washington, and for the last five months I have been actually unable to leave my bed. But sick as I was, I have not for a moment failed to do my duty. As a matter of fact the conference which resulted in the message of President Roosevelt was held practically in my bedroom.
Nobody knows and feels as intensely as I do your sufferings and your sacrifices, how fiercely the flame of hate and anger against the invader burns in your hearts, how bravely you have accepted the bitter fact of Japanese occupation. I know your hearts are full of sorrow, but I also know your faith is whole.
I ask you to keep that faith unimpaired. Freedom is worth all our trials, tears and bloodshed. We are suffering today for our future generations that they may be spared the anguish and the agony of a repetition of what we are now undergoing. We are also building for them from the ruins of today and thus guarantee their economic security. For the freedom, peace, and well-being of our generations yet unborn, we are now paying the price.
To our armed forces, who are fighting in the hills, mountains and jungles of the Philippines, my tribute of admiration for your courage and heroism. You are writing with your sacrifices another chapter in the history of the Philippines that, like the epic of Bataan, will live forever in the hearts of lovers of freedom everywhere.
Freedom is worth all our trials, tears and bloodshed.
My fellow countrymen, I am proud of you. I know that you have been wielding against the enemy two potent weapons: Filipino unity and faith. Stronger than any arm of destruction, your weapons are of untold and terrible power. Stronger than a thousand sheets of steel, with them you are invincible. Carry on, and today, I repeat to you with conviction what General MacArthur said when he arrived in Australia from Bataan: “I broke through and I will return.
People of the Philippines, I will return with General MacArthur. Our day of redemption is at hand.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.