The Philippine Legislature created the Commission of Independence in November 1918 “for the purpose of studying all matters related to the negotiation and organization of Philippine Independence.” This Commission was composed of eleven senators, and forty congressmen, majority coming from the Nacionalista Party.
One of the most important undertaking of the Commission was the dispatch of the Independence Missions to the United States and alongside this, conducted a publicity campaign through the Philippine Press Bureau.
Creation of these Independence Missions was just a first step. These Independence Missions was sent to the United States to appeal to the U.S Congressmen for a law enacted to give the Philippines its independence. Then, they would bring the law to the Philippines for its ratification by the Philippine Congress.
THE IDEPENDENCE MISSIONS
The Independence Missions were sent largely through the initiative of the Nacionalista leaders with occasional Democrata participation to give a sense of national unity. Those who were prominently involved were: Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Manue A. Roxas, Jose Abad Santos, Benigno Aquino Sr., Camilo Osias, Elpidio Quirino, All Nacionalistas, and Claro M. Recto, Emilio Tria Tirona, Juan Sumulong, Pedro Gil, Ruperto Montinola and all Democratas.
The first Independence Mission was sent to the United States in 1919, which was the only one during the Democratic Administration of Woodrow Wilson. This was led by Senate President Quezon and Senator Rafel Palma and consisted of some forty Filipinos representing both the Nacionalista and Democrata parties. But the Mission came at a bad time. For the United States are suffering the time of the Great Depression after the first World War therefore, the mission’s petition for independence was the farthest from their mind. They were received by Secretary Newton D. Baker, Secretary of war and assured them that President Wilson was in support of their petition. But they did not promise a final decision as to Philippine Policy. Congressional Committees concerned with Philippine affairs heard their petition but some of the Republican leaders in Congress thought that the Philippines is still not ready for Independence. The President’s last step was a recommendation to Congress in favor of Philippine Independence. But when the Republicans came to power with Warren G. Harding as president, the Filipinos didn’t expect that the Republicans would propose to reverse the degree of self- government they received from Harrison. Plans of sending a second mission came about. But instead, Manuel L. Quezon came to Washington to know the President’s policy. There, President Harding assured Quezon that nothing would be altered and changed.
The Second Mission was sent in April 1922 led by Quezon and Osmeña. The mission was hoping to justify the political autonomy they received from Governor Harrison and they wanted to know whether or not their aspirations might be fulfilled. Again, President Harding assured that “no backward step is contemplated” but he also said that independence was out of the question. This response disappointed the Mission but they had already expected it. Besides, in a private talk with General Frank Mclyntre, Chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department, Quezon and Osmeña said that people of the Philippines who had been fed up with Independence talks would set aside the discussion of Independence for sometime if they would get ‘independence’ at least in name. With this, Mclyntre mad a draft of such legislation. But then they returned in August 1922 with no more than vague assurances that there would be no dimunition of Filipino control of their government, yet, still no promise of Independence. Successive missions after the Second mission were sent to Washington in 1923, 1924 and 1925. In November 1923, Speaker of the house Manuel A. Roxas led a special Mission who presented a memorial listing of Filipino...
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