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ihirteen are journalists; eight have been Spanish or Chinese, but the ruling old university professors in such higher families have considerable foreign blood. departments as law or medicine.
According to parties, the Assembly Most of the members have already contains sixteen Progresistas, or avowed held public office. Nine have been Pro- supporters of the Government; thirty-two vincial Governors under the American Nacionalistas, whose organization, as Administration, and several others Pro- the name suggests, is founded upon the vincial Attorneys. About half have held idea that the Filipino people form a diseither civil or military positions in the tinct nation, that they are capable of Philippine revolutionary government. self-government, and should be granted Nearly all have taken work in some one independence at an early date; seven of the Manila colleges, while about two Inmediatistas, who wish independence thirds have completed more advanced instantly; four Independistas; one Cathostudy in law, medicine, or theology. Two lic; and twenty independent or no-party or three have studied in Spain. Six have members. The Nacionalistas, Inmediattraveled in the United States, one of istas, and Independistas are practically whom, Emiliano Gala, is a recent gradu- different groups of the same party. ate of the Law School of the University There is only one real political issue; of Michigan. All but ten or a dozen this relates to the time and the manner are men of property. A few of them, of obtaining independence. All agree like Mr. Singson, the leader of the that eventually the Philippines are to be Progresistas, are large estate owners and independent, at least as much so as are have devoted themselves to the scientific Canada and Australia. The Progresistas study of farming.
maintain, however, that the Filipinos are Of the eighty Assemblymen possibly not yet fully prepared for this step, and ten are not really first-class choices; must develop progressively,” under three have bad public records, one of American leadership, until the Governwhom is the famous Dominador Gomez; 'ment shall see fit to graduate them from but, in general, this first Philippine As- ther political schooling. Secretary Taft sembly is representative of the best ele- has said that “this process of political ments of Filipino life.
preparation "is likely to “take considerWhen an American first sees the mem- ably longer than a generation.” All other bers in session, he is impressed by their parties and groups, together with the youthful appearance, for their average majority of the no-party members, insist age is only about thirty-five, and most of that the Filipinos should be granted full the leaders are even younger than this. political freedom at a relatively early He notices the further fact that many date. have considerable Spanish or Chinese Party lines are not drawn as tightly blood. The Chinese, it should be added, as in the United States. Even in regard have been in the islands for hundreds of to the question of independence there years, and belong to the well-to-do, intel- are Progresistas who believe that the ligent merchant class. While about three- islands will be ready for self-government fifths of the Assemblymen are of practi- in considerably less than the length of cally pure Filipino stock, the two-fifths time suggested by Secretary Taft; on the who have a mixed ancestry include the other hand, several of the Nacionalistas great majority of the prominent members. are not anxious for instant independence, About twenty are partly Spanish, some while a very large proportion of them of them being fully half Spanish. (In would hesitate to accept it at present the photograph of the Assembly it is unless they foresaw a reasonable prospect easy to recognize the European appear- that the islands could obtain protection ance of such members as Paterno, Rey by the United States or a neutrality and Reyés.) There are seven who are guaranteed by the Powers. On all other in part Chinese. (Mr. Singson's portrait matters there are practically no party shows distinct Chinese characteristics.) divisions in the Assembly; questions are The Filipino race, as a whole, has been discussed simply on their merits, not as very little affected by intermarriage with party issues.
Of the prominent members of the the confidence of the Government, he is Assembly, the Speaker, Sergio Osmeña, the dominant influence in the Assembly. is by far the ablest and the most influ- The man of next greatest ability is, ential. He is but twenty-nine years of perhaps, Vicente Singson Encarnacion, age, yet has already been Governor of the Assembly leader of the Progresistas. Cebu, ere, under most difficult cir- He and Osmeña were classmates in the cumstances, he made an unusually suc- law school of Santo Tomás and friendly cessful administration. In the Assembly rivals for university honors.
Speaker of the Assembly and its ablest and most influential member he was elected Speaker by acclamation. son, besides managing his large estate, He has in a degree the same rare union has been a successful Provincial Attorney of qualities which marked Henry Clay, for several years. Of the defeat of the America's distinguished boy Speaker- Progresistas Mr. Singson recently said: a wonderful charm of personality and “The people followed their hearts rather grace of bearing tempering the dignity than their heads in the last election ; of the presiding officer and the force of they expressed what they wished rather the executive. He is a convincing than what was wise." The people, he speaker, is clear-sighted in judgment, and considers, are not now ready for indeby disposition strongly averse to rash or pendence, not so much because they do violent means or measures. His integ- not have enough able men to fill the rity is above suspicion, and while he has higher positions as because the mass of
them have not yet learned to know their régime, and played no small part in the political rights. They are afraid to com- subsequent revolutionary government. plain against official abuse and oppres. He is a well-to-do lawyer of integrity and sion. When the nation shall be ready excellent ability. Mr. Barretto wishes for independence, Mr. Singson believes for immediate, unconditioned independthat it will choose to remain a protectorate of the United States.
The best-known and most talked of Manuel Queson is the Chairman of man in the Assembly is Dr. Dominador the most important committee in the Gomez. He is of mixed Filipino, SpanAssembly, that of Ways and Means and ish, and Chinese blood. After receivAppropriations. He was a major in the ing his education in Spain, he entered revolutionary army, and after peace the medical corps of the Spanish army, was brought about was first Provincial and finally rose to the rank of captain. Attorney and later Provincial Governor. In 1901 he resigned his commission and 'He is one of the most successful. de- returned to the Philippines. In the baters in the Assembly. A friend and elections for the Assembly Gomez carpolitical associate of the Speaker, he ried one of the two Manila districts after advocates the same moderate policy, and an unusually exciting and spectacular very largely the same measures. Mr. campaign. He has a bad record, though Queson says that when independence the authorities have failed in every effort shall be granted, which he believes to convict him of crime. Besides being should be at an early date, the Filipinos by far the most eloquent speaker in the will have practically only a choice be- Philippines, he is one of the shrewdest tween an American protectorate and and ablest men in the Assembly, and neutralization by the Powers. Person- has further a great hold on the mass of ally he would favor a protectorate.
the people. Jaime C. de Veyra, who is also a close Notwithstanding Dr. Gomez's violent political friend of Mr. Osmeña, is an- campaigning, and the general impresother of the younger leaders of the sion that he will be a revolutionist in the Assembly. Up to the time of his elec- Assembly, and the fact that the Amerition as Governor of Leyte in 1905 he can community, as a whole, distrust and was considered by many of the Ameri- fear him, it is, without any manner of can authorities as a revolutionary fire- doubt, true that he is decidedly more brand, but he has since become a strong moderate than the group led by Barretto advocate of moderate measures. Gov- and Guerrero. ernor de Veyra says that the Filipinos Before the Assembly met it was a very realize that the Assembly is a political general feeling among the Americans training-school given them by the United in the islands that it would be a failure, States, and that they intend to demon- a mere plaything for demagogues like strate their capacity for self-government Gomez. Hardly one out of ten really by their success in passing actual legis- sympathized with it, while the great lation of benefit to the country.
majority spoke of it with distrust, disThe leaders of the small group of like, and contempt. But now that it Radicals among the Nacionalistas are has been in session for some time, it is Alberto Barretto and Fernando Ma. generally conceded that it has acted Guerrero. They stand for vigorous wisely and moderately. legislative action in regard to independ The first measure which was passed
Guerrero is a talented young was a resolution thanking the President journalist, to whose ability it is largely of the United States and the American due that El Renaciemento, the aggres- Congress for the grant of a national sively patriotic Manila daily of which Assembly to the Filipino people. The he is editor, has become the most popu- next measure—and it should be emphalar and most influential paper in the sized in judging the character of this Philippines. Mr. Barretto is largely of body—was one which placed the clerical European descent. He filled positions positions of the Assembly under the of some importance under the Spanish rules of the Civil Service. This self
denying ordinance, which prevents the era in the history of the Philippines. members from paying off political debts The peace which has existed throughout by petty appointments, was not passed these islands during the past couple of at the wish of the American Adminis- years has been due to the fact that the tration, but simply because the Assembly people were looking forward to the itself saw the wisdom of it.
meeting of this national legislative body, In regard to future legislation, the which had been promised them by the general aim of the Assemblymen is to United States. I believe that the period cut down the expenses of the Administra- of war and of insurrection in the Philiption, if possible, by reducing salaries pines is now over forever. The grant and eliminating or consolidating bureaus, of the Assembly has further had a great and to spend the money thus saved upon influence in overcoming the feeling of schools, public works, including roads, opposition to the American Government and the building up of agriculture. It is and suspicion of its motives, which were very probable that the first bill to be very general among the Filipinos a few passed will be one appropriating half a
Now we have come to trust million dollars for the erection of coun the Government. As an evidence of this try school-houses. In order to help the I may say that not a single bill predeplorable agricultural situation, the As- sented to me as Speaker shows any sembly will undoubtedly petition Con- unfriendliness towards the authorities. gress for the repeal or at least reduction There is simply a difference of opinion of the United States duties upon Philip between us and them in regard to the pine sugar and tobacco. It will, further, question of our ability to govern our do what is possible to bring about the selves. The general aim of the Assembly establishment of an agricuitural bank is to pass such legislation that the United which can loan money to the planters at States will be convinced that we do have reasonable interest on mortgages upon the necessary political capacity. We their land.
believe that when we shall have fully It is possible that a petition may be proven this, the American people will passed asking that the Moro country be grant us our independence." represented in the Assembly and placed What future Assemblies may do or under its jurisdiction, for there is a may be cannot, of course, be foretold. more or less popular fear that the United That they contain possibilities of failure States Government intends to separate and of danger is not to be denied; but the Moro islands, which form about one the convoking of this Assembly has been third of the archipelago, from those occu- decidedly successful. This has been due pied by the Christian Filipinos, and per to the public spirit, restraint, and political manently keep them
ability of the Filipino American
leaders, and is colony.
marked tribute to Just before leav
the fine optimism of ing Manila I asked
American statesmanSpeaker Osmeña if
ship, which dared to he would be willing
depart from the harsh to give some expres
rules of colonial govsion of opinion in
ernment prescribed regard to the Assem
by all other nations, bly which might be
and for the first quoted in the United
time in history trust States, and, after
a subject Oriental meditating a mo
people with a real ment, he replied in
share in legislation, substance : "It is no
and a part in the exaggeration to state
problem of self-govthat the present As
ernment. sembly marks a new Leader in the Assembly of the Progresistas
VINCENTE SINGSON ENCARNACION