Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

May 8, 1936

Saw Dr. Sison who accompanied Mrs. Quezon over the mountains on horseback from Bongabong to Baler: two days of riding. Coming back down the coast in the Arayat it was very rough when they emerged from the shelter of Polillo–Mrs. Quezon was sea sick and Quezon ordered the steamer in to Mauban instead of carrying on to Hondagua. Sison says Quezon is talking of building a pier at Baler to exploit the big stand of timber there (too expensive!).

Saw General Sandiko at the office: he says the purchase of the remaining Friar Lands is the only solution of the agrarian troubles; says twenty per cent of the agitation is due to the activity of troublemakers. Also told me that in Pambusco men work eighteen hours a day thru a trickery in interpreting the eight hour law, which permits only twelve hours of service, and that only under certain agreements. He is strongly in favour of organizing the powerful labour unions, and so are Torres and Varona.

This morning, Quezon gave a press interview to both “foreign” and “local” reporters. Evidently, he had important things to give out. The newspapers published:

(a)  A statement that Davao land “leases” would go to the courts.

(b)  The President contemplates the construction of a 150 kilometer (300!) electric railway between Davao and Cagayan de Misamis, and also would complete the Aloneros-Pasacao gap in the southern lines of the Manila Railroad. The Maria Cristina Falls in Lanao are to be used for part of the power for the first project.

(c)  That the Philippines would sooner ask for immediate independence than wait for the end of the ten years period if there are no prospects of improving the provisions of the economic clauses of the Tydings-McDuffie law. The Philippines, as stated, “would prefer to break away from the American economic apron strings and blaze a new economic and political trail from itself.” “I am not exactly in favour of eliminating the export tax,” he said “if Congress would remove the tax I would ask for authority sufficiently elastic so that this power can be lodged in the hands of Philippine authorities to impose a tax on sugar exports from the Philippines.” “This would be a good test of the patriotism of the sugar barons” he declared, and: “If we cannot export our sugar duty free to the United States, that is, if we should lose our American market for sugar and tobacco, for example, I would ask for immediate independence. I would not wait for the expiration of the transition period. There would be no use marking time.”

Newspapers also quoted Judge Hausserman, head of the Benguet Mines and now in the United States (usually in recent years very tactfully) as saying that the withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines would be “tragic” because it would mark the end of American interest in the Orient. This remark was resented by seven or eight Assemblymen, who understood that Hausserman meant it would be tragic for the Philippines. They replied that the “tragedy” might be for Hausserman’s many mining millions.

Alcalde Posadas vetoes the “Hyde Park” (i.e., speeches) ordinance of the Municipal Board, stating that the Luneta should not be used for the propagation of subversive doctrines.

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