Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Bard from Bohol II

First | Second | Third | Last

During World War II, Garcia was active in the resistance movement in Bohol and was hunted by the Japanese military authority because of his refusal to surrender and cooperate with the occupation government. After the war, he received a citation from the late President Manuel L. Quezon. He also became part of several missions to Washington intended to secure the approval of the Philippine Rehabilitation and War Damage Claims.

Garcia came to the notice of both President Quezon and Vice-President OsmeƱa and was drafted to the Nacionalista Party’s senatorial ticket in 1941. He was elected Senator for three consecutive terms, from 1941 to 1953. When he was in the Senate, he was chairman and member of numerous key committees, among them government reorganization, foreign affairs, public works, army and navy, and justice. He was also a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. From 1946 to 1951 Garcia served as minority floor leader of the Senate.

From 1947 to 1953, Garcia was vice president of the Nacionalista Party directorate. In November 1953, he was elected Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines under the ticket of the Nacionalista Party. He served not only as vice-president to President Ramon Magsaysay but also as a member of his Cabinet and Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

In fact, Garcia's most important achievements before he became President involved his work as foreign policy expert for the government. He was a delegate to the World Conference at San Francisco in May 1945 which drafted the charter of the United Nations. 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 in April 1954.

During the Geneva Conference on Korean unification and other Asian problems, Garcia,as chairman of the Philippine delegation, attacked communist promises in Asia and defended the U.S. policy in the Far East. He acted as chairman and presiding officer of the eight-nation Southeast Asian Security Conference held in Manila in September 1954, which led to the development of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

When President Magsaysay was killed in an airplane accident in March 17, 1957, Garcia took his oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines and became the fourth President of the Republic after it gained independence in 1946. Garcia served the unexpired term of his predecessor. Then, in the Presidential elections held in the same year, he won over three other candidates and obtained a fresh four-year term mandate.

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