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Republic of the Philippines, Changing Leadership: Magsaysay to Marcos
Diosdado Macapagal, domestic reforms, Magsaysay, tenant farmers, Quirino
Magsaysay was the clear winner in the 1953 presidential election, running as the Nationalist Party candidate against Quirino of the Liberal Party. Magsaysay, who came from humble origins rather than the elite, was a widely popular figure. His victory ushered in a period of enthusiasm and expectation. Magsaysay emphasized domestic reforms to improve conditions for tenant farmers and implemented small-scale public works projects in rural areas. The government purchased land on Mindanao and launched a program to encourage landless farm workers on Luzon to resettle on the southern island. The program, which was instituted in various forms in the ensuing years, led to resentment among the Muslim population on Mindanao. The influx of Christian homesteaders from the north ultimately made the Muslims a minority on Mindanao.
Magsaysay died in a plane crash in March 1957. He was succeeded by his vice president, Carlos Garcia, who was elected president in his own right in November 1957. Garcia imposed import controls on foreign manufactured goods, which led to a spurt of industrialization but also to a great deal of corruption. In 1961 Garcia lost the presidency to Diosdado Macapagal, the Liberal Party candidate who campaigned on the corruption issue. Macapagal lifted the import controls and began to implement economic reforms. A 1966 amendment to the agreement on the U.S. military bases extended the deadline for U.S. withdrawal to 1991.
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