Press Release
April 15, 2009

Country to Commemorate President Manuel Roxas'
61st Death Anniversary

The country will observe Wednesday the 61st death anniversary of the late President Manuel Roxas, the third and last president of the Commonwealth and the first of the Republic of the Philippines.

Memorial masses in memory of the late statesman would be held in selected churches all over the country while members of the Roxas clan would separately lead wreath laying activities at his resting place at the North Cemetery in Manila, at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, where he died on April 15, 1948, and at Roxas City where he was born in 1892.

Manuel Roxas - a patriot, statesman, parliamentarian, orator and the first President of the Philippine Republic - was born in Capiz, Capiz (now Roxas City) on January 1, 1892 to Gerardo Roxas Sr. and Rosario Acuña. His father died from bullet wounds from Spanish Guardia Sibils seven months before he was born.

Roxas received his basic education in public schools in Capiz and Manila, graduating in 1909 with highest honors at the Manila High School (now Araullo High School). In 1913, he graduated as class valedictorian from the University of the Philippines Law School, where he was also elected president of his class and the University Student Council. That same year, he topped the first ever Philippine Bar examinations in the country with a high grade of 92 per cent.

Roxas' brilliant career in public service began in 1917 when he was appointed as member of the municipal council of Capiz. In 1919, he was elected Provincial Governor, the country's youngest governor then at the age of 27. In 1922, he was elected as Congressman representing the first district of Capiz. He was Speaker of the House for 12 consecutive years.

Recognized as "the Master Strategist" in the movement designed to bring complete independence to the Philippines, one of Roxas' greatest achievements was the enactment of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law in 1932. This paved the way for the enactment of the Tydings McDuffie Act, otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act of 1934, which led to the granting of Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 after a transition period of ten years. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention from 1934 to 1935, and was one of the "Seven Wise Men" who drafted the Philippine Constitution.

When World War II broke out, Roxas enlisted in the military service and held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the USAFFE and served aide to General Douglas MacArthur. He was later promoted to Brigadier General. He was responsible for bringing food from his native province of Capiz to feed over 20,000 soldiers and civilians in Corregidor Island.

After the war, Roxas ran for President against incumbent Sergio Osmeña. He won the election and inherited a nation that was in ruins following the Second World War. President Roxas, also known as the "Nation Builder", was the brains behind the first Philippine Master Economic Plan, the first of its kind in developing Asia, which spurred the country's return to normalcy and growth.

To date, President Roxas holds the distinction of being the only Filipino leader who has ever served and exercised authority in the capacity of House Speaker, Senate President, and President of the Republic.

In his memory, works are under way for the construction of the President Manuel Roxas Memorial Center, a historical and educational institution designed to commemorate the critical evolution of Philippine democracy and the country's reconstruction from the ruins of World War II. The edifice would rise along the historic Roxas Boulevard and would be jointly pursued by the President Manuel A. Roxas Foundation (PMARF), the National Historical Institute (NHI) and the City Government of Manila.

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