Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

November 29, 1935

Visit with City Engineer Artiaga to the new “South Cemetery” originally initiated by him with my co-operation; it was formerly a large tract of the Zobel estate; is now filling up rapidly –then what?

Artiaga suggests that in the reorganization of the government, the office of Alcalde be made elective but with reduced powers, and a board combining a City Manager and commission form of government be appointive; adds that the inclusion of parts of the city now in Rizal Province is blocked by politicians. If done, it would give Manila another Assemblyman (and these are generally in opposition to the government) and take away one of the two members for Rizal Province.

Says Meralco want to take up most of their street railway tracks in Manila and to operate bus lines under the same franchise; he is in favor of this, but the present Alcalde and the Board oppose the plan, because Meralco insists they would then be relieved of the necessity of sharing in street repairing. Artiaga adds that the repair of streets would be cheaper anyway.

The Manila water front and Pasig River region is now rat proofed; no case of bubonic plague has occurred since 1914.

Workmen’s barrios are authorized but not yet started.

Storm drains are badly needed in the City; the filling of low-lying parts is unsatisfactory says Artiaga because of lack of drains.

Conference 9-10 a.m. with Paez over the proposed purchase of the Manila RR. Southern 4’s from the Southern Syndicate. He is much in favor of accepting the British offer, and says that if the plan is carried thru’ the RR. can meet its indebtedness for interest even in bad times.

Called on Don Elpidio Quirino, Secretary of Finance, who occupies my old office in the Ayuntamiento; did not find him. Director de la Rosa of the Art Museum conducted me around the Marble Hall where the House of Representatives used to sit in my time. Pretty bad collection of paintings, except those by Luna; troops of school children were going thru.

Hour with Maj. W.H. Anderson who says Quezon is not as friendly to him as formerly; Ehrman and the sugar men are too close to the President says Anderson. He thinks much else may be sacrificed to the sugar campaign. Says the hemp & cordage men have gone back to America disgruntled because no attention was paid them here. They now say they have secured the seed and will grow hemp in Panama thru’ the United Fruit Company. Anderson states that business and industrial morality has “gone to hell” in the United States since the war. He believes Japan has the most wonderful industrial organization in the world. Anderson wishes to sell his radio plant in Manila heights to the government.

Long talk with Colin Hoskins about the proposed reorganization of the government.

Arrival at 3:30 p.m. of the China Clipper –the first commercial airplane on the United States-China service. Like a great silver bird. Tremendous excitement –women rather hysterical. Perfect landing of the big plane in the harbor. Simultaneous arrival of the French Admiral on his ship. Everyone mistook the salutes for the Admiral as being a tribute to the plane!

Sinukuan Lodge social entertainment; speeches sandwiched between musical items. The masonic speakers referred to my reception in 1917 at Malacañan for the Masonic Bodies –in the palace where former Governors General in Spanish days had signed decrees of death for members of Masonic lodges. This entertainment was in my honor –Rafael Palma spoke.

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