Diosdado P. Macapagal, fifth president of the Philippine Republic and known as "Champion of the Common Man" .He is the President who introduced the first tentative land reform law in the Philippines. Macapagal first won election in 1949 to the House of Representatives from his home province, Pampanga, north of Manila. In 1957, he became vice president in the administration of Carlos P. Garcia, whom he defeated in 1961 for the presidency.As chief executive, Mr. Macapagal yielded to pressure from the International Monetary Fund and liberalized foreign exchange and import controls. He also devaluated the peso in an effort to stimulate the sagging economy by increasing sugar exports. But domestic manufacturers were hurt by the devaluation, and unemployment rose. Highlights of Macapagal's administration were:
(1) initial beautification of Rizal Park; (2) development in 1964 of "Miracle"(IR-8 variety) rice by the International Rice Research Institute, which Macapagal inaugurated on 7 February 1962; (3) commencement of construction of the North Diversion Highway and the South Expressway; (4) construction of four 7-storey tenement buildings for the poor;(5) sale of PHHC houses to AFP enlisted men and officers, and other government employees; (7) establishment of the Private Development Corporation , the NACIDA, the NACIDA Bank, the Philippine Veterans Bank, the National Commission of Culture, the Bataan Munitions Plant, and the Asian Development Bank in Manila; (8) enactment of Rep. Act 4155 prescribing realistic solutions to PVTA's financing, marketing, and stock disposal problems, thus preventing untimely collapse of the local flue-cured tobacco industry; (9) promotion of or assistance to the Iligan Steel Mills, the Manila Hilton, Hotel Savoy Philippines, Paper Industries Corporation, Esso Fertilizer Plant, Dole Pineapple Plant, Elizalde Tin Plate, Surigao ferro-nickle mines, and other income-generating private enterprises; and (10) the changing of the date of Philippine Independence from July 4 to June 12 (when General Emilio Aguinaldo, as president of the first Philippine Republic, proclaimed Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite, in 1898); and (11) the filing of claims to Sabah on June 22, 1962.
During most of his term, Macapagal encountered the opposition of economic interests sheltered by protectionism, import substitution and inward-looking policies representing the orthodox economic policy prescriptions for developing countries at the time. They ganged up on him and the political fratricidal wars over social policy exhausted his reformist energy, leading to his defeat at the hands of Ferdinand Marcos in 1965. But Macapagal cannot be denied his sobriquet as a visionary and social reformer.
Early Life and Education
Diosdado Macapagal was born on September 28, 1910 in Lubao, Pampanga, the second of four children in a poor family. His father, Urbano Macapagal, was a poet who wrote in the local Pampangan language, and his mother, Romana Pangan Macapagal, was a schoolteacher who taught catechism.He is a distant descendant of Don Juan Macapagal, a prince of Tondo, who was a great-grandson of the last reigning Rajah of Selurong, Rajah Lakandula.Due to his roots in poverty, Macapagal would later become affectionately known as the "Poor boy from Lubao". Macapagal excelled in his studies at local public schools, graduating valedictorian at Lubao Elementary School, and salutatorian at Pampanga High School.He finished his pre-law course at the University of the Philippines, then enrolled at Philippine Law School in 1932, studying on a scholarship and supporting himself with a part-time job as an accountant. While in law school, he gained prominence as an orator and debater. However, he was forced to quit schooling after two years due to poor health and a lack of money....
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