Courtesy Reuters

Quezon of the Philippines

MANUEL LUIS QUEZON, President of the Philippine Islands, was a soldier of the Revolution of 1898 against Spain. As a youth he joined the ranks of the Philippine Revolutionary Army, serving under the immediate command of General Mascardo. It is an irony of history that 44 years ago he engaged in military operations in the same jungle-clad Bataan where last spring the Philippine-American Army fought its desperate battle with the Japanese invaders. He rose from the ranks to become a major. He knew how to suffer and he did suffer. In the front line he fought with reckless abandon. He learned about military discipline and its importance. These qualities, so evident in Quezon the revolutionist of 1898, are no less apparent in Quezon the statesman of today.

In the spring of 1941, when the clouds of war gathered over the Pacific, President Quezon, like a sentry in his watchtower, sounded this warning:

In these tragic days when the very future of civilization is in the balance, the defense of our nation should be uppermost in our mind. We have been spared so far the horrors of war, but no one can foretell if and when we shall be involved in this armed conflict. We should be prepared for any eventuality, and every man and woman should be ready to answer the call when the bugle is sounded.

When the situation became even more serious, he saw that it required a categorical definition of the Filipino stand and showed his people the path of duty in the following words:

In this grave national emergency, the stand of the Filipino people is clear and unmistakable. We owe loyalty to America and are bound to her by bonds of everlasting gratitude. Should the United States enter the war, the Philippines would follow her and fight by her side, placing at her disposal all our man power and all our natural resources, however limited these might be. We stand with the United States in life and in death.

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