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Carlos P. Garcia
Carlos P Garcia photo.jpg
8th President of the Philippines
In office
March 18, 1957 – December 30, 1961
Vice President None (March 18 – December 30, 1957)
Diosdado Macapagal (1957–1961)
Preceded by Ramon Magsaysay
Succeeded by Diosdado Macapagal
1st President of the 1971 Philippine Constitutional Convention
In office
June 1, 1971 – June 14, 1971
President Ferdinand Marcos
Succeeded by Diosdado Macapagal
4th Vice President of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1953 – March 18, 1957
President Ramon Magsaysay
Preceded by Fernando Lopez
Succeeded by Diosdado Macapagal
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
In office
December 30, 1953 – August 22, 1957
President Ramon Magsaysay (1953–1957)
Himself (1957)
Preceded by Joaquín Miguel Elizalde
Succeeded by Felixberto Serrano
Senator of the Philippines
In office
May 25, 1945 – December 30, 1953
Governor of Bohol
In office
December 30, 1933 – December 30, 1941
Preceded by Celestino B. Gallares
Succeeded by Agapito Y. Hontanosas Sr.
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Bohol's 3rd district
In office
Preceded by Teodoro Abueva
Succeeded by Filomeno Orbeta Caseñas
Personal details
Carlos Polestico Garcia

(1896-11-04)November 4, 1896
Talibon, Bohol, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died June 14, 1971(1971-06-14) (aged 74)
Quezon City, Philippines
Resting place Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Political party Nacionalista
Leonila Dimataga
(m. 1933)
Children Linda Garcia-Campos
Alma mater Silliman University
Philippine Law School (National University)
Profession Lawyer

Carlos Polestico Garcia KR (Tagalog: Script error: No such module "IPA".; November 4, 1896 – June 14, 1971) was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist, guerrilla and Commonwealth military leader who was the eighth president of the Philippines. A lawyer by profession, Garcia entered politics when he became representative of Bohol’s 3rd district in the House of Representatives. He then served as a senator from 1945 to 1953. In 1953 he was the running mate of Ramon Magsaysay in the 1953 presidential election. He then served as vice president from 1953 to 1957. After the death of Magsaysay in March 1957, he succeeded to the presidency. He won a full term in the 1957 presidential election. He ran for a second full term as president in the 1961 presidential election and was defeated by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal.

Early life and education

Garcia was born in Talibon, Bohol, Philippines on November 4, 1896, to Policronio Garcia and Ambrosia Polestico, who were both natives of Bangued, Abra.

Garcia grew up with politics, with his father serving as a municipal mayor for four terms. He acquired his primary education in his native town Talibon, then took his secondary education in Cebu Provincial High School, now Abellana National School, both at the top of his class. Initially, he pursued his college education at Silliman University in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, and later studied at the Philippine Law School, then the College of Law of National University, where he earned his law degree in 1923 and later, where he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa from the National University in 1961. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Tokyo University in Japan. He was among the top ten law students in the 1923 bar examination.

Rather than practicing law right away, he worked as a teacher for two years at Bohol Provincial High School. He became famous for his poetry in Bohol, where he earned the nickname "Prince of Visayan Poets" and the "Bard from Bohol."

Political career

Garcia entered politics in 1925, scoring an impressive victory to become representative of the third district of Bohol. He was elected for another term in 1928 and served until 1931. He was elected governor of Bohol in 1933, but served only until 1941 when he successfully ran for Senate, but he was unable to serve due to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. He assumed the office when Congress re-convened in 1945 after Allied liberation and the end of the war. When he resumed duties as senator after the war, he was chosen Senate majority floor leader. The press consistently voted him as one of the most outstanding senators. Simultaneously, he occupied a position in the Nacionalista Party.

World War II

Garcia refused to cooperate with the Japanese during the war. He did not surrender when he was placed on the wanted list with a price on his head. He instead and took part in the guerilla activities and served as adviser in the free government organized in Bohol.


Magsaysay and Garcia
Garcia (right) and Magsaysay (left)

Garcia was the running mate of Ramon Magsaysay in the 1953 presidential election in which both men won. He was appointed secretary of foreign affairs by President Magsaysay, and for four years served concurrently as vice-president.

As secretary of foreign affairs, he opened formal reparation negotiations in an effort to end the nine-year technical state of war between Japan and the Philippines, leading to an agreement in April 1954. During the Geneva Conference of 1954 on Korean unification and other Asian problems, Garcia, as chairman of the Philippine delegation, attacked communist promises in Asia and defended the U.S. policy in the Far East. In a speech on May 7, 1954–the day that the Viet Minh defeated French forces at the Battle of Diên Biên Phu in Vietnam– Garcia repeated the Philippine stand for nationalism and opposition to Communism.

Garcia acted as chairman of the eight-nation Southeast Asian Security Conference held in Manila in September 1954, which led to the development of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).


Presidential styles of
Carlos P. Garcia
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Mr. President
Economy of the Philippines under
President Carlos Garcia
1957 \approx 22.68 million
Gross Domestic Product (1985 constant prices)
1957 Increase Php 189,457 million ($ 94.7 billion)
1961 Increase Php 224,430 million ($85.0 billion)
Growth rate, 1957-61 4.6%
Per capita income (1985 constant prices)
1957 Increase Php 8,353
1961 Decrease Php 7,927
Total exports
1957 Increase Php 35,980 million
1961 Increase Php 39,845 million
Exchange rates
1 US US$ = Php 2.64
1 Php = US US$ 0.38
Sources: Philippine Presidency Project
Malaya, Jonathan; Eduardo Malaya. So Help Us God... The Inaugurals of the Presidents of the Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc..


Vice President Carlos P. Garcia (right) was sworn in as president upon Magsaysay's death at the Council of State Room in the Executive Building of the Malacañan Palace complex. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Ricardo Parás.

At the time of President Magsaysay's sudden death on March 17, 1957, Garcia was heading the Philippine delegation to the SEATO conference then being held at Canberra, Australia. Having been immediately notified of the tragedy, Vice President Garcia enplaned back for Manila. Upon his arrival, he directly reported to Malacañang Palace to assume the duties of president. Chief Justice Ricardo Paras of the Supreme Court administered the oath of office, which took place at 5:56 PM on March 18, 1957. President Garcia's first actions were to declare a period of national mourning and to preside over the burial ceremonies for Magsaysay.

1957 presidential election

President Garcia won a full term as president with a landslide win in the national elections of November 12, 1957. Garcia, the Nacionalista candidate, garnered around 2.07 million votes or 41% of the total votes counted, defeating his closest rival, Jose Y. Yulo of the Liberal Party. His running mate, House Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr., lost to Pampanga representative Diosdado P. Macapagal. This was the first time in Philippine electoral history where a president was elected by a plurality rather than a majority, and in which the winning presidential and vice-presidential candidates came from different parties.

Administration and cabinet


After much discussion, both official and public, the Congress of the Philippines, finally, approved a bill outlawing the Communist Party of the Philippines. Despite the pressure exerted against the congressional measure, Garcia signed the aforementioned bill into law as Republic Act No. 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act on June 19, 1957.

The act was superseded by Presidential Decree No. 885, entitled "Outlawing Subversive Organization, Penalizing Membership Therein and For Other Purposes", and was later amended by Presidential Decree No. 1736 and later superseded by Presidential Decree No. 1835, entitled, "Codifying The Various Laws on Anti-Subversion and Increasing the Penalties for Membership in Subversive Organization." This, in turn, was amended by Presidential Decree No. 1975. On May 5, 1987, Executive Order No. 167 repealed Presidential Decrees No. 1835 and No. 1975 as being unduly restrictive of the constitutional right to form associations.

On September 22, 1992, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended, was repealed by Republic Act No. 7636 during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, which legalized the Communist Party of the Philippines, other underground movements and subversion, though sedition remained a crime.

Filipino First Policy

Garcia exercised the Filipino First Policy, for which he was known. This policy heavily favored Filipino businessmen over foreign investors. He was also responsible for changes in retail trade which greatly affected the Chinese businessmen in the country.

Austerity Program

In the face of the trying conditions in the country, Garcia initiated what has been called "The Austerity Program". His administration was characterized by its austerity program and its insistence on a comprehensive nationalist policy. On March 3, 1960, he affirmed the need for complete economic freedom and added that the government no longer would tolerate the dominance of foreign interests (especially American) in the national economy. He promised to shake off "the yoke of alien domination in business, trade, commerce and industry". Garcia was also credited with his role in reviving Filipino cultural arts. The main points of the Austerity Program were:

  1. The government's tightening up of its controls to prevent abuses in the over shipment of exports under license and in under-pricing as well.
  2. A more rigid enforcement of the existing regulations on barter shipments.
  3. Restriction of government imports to essential items.
  4. Reduction of rice imports to minimum.
  5. An overhauling of the local transportation system to reduce the importation of gasoline and spare parts.
  6. The revision of the tax system to attain more equitable distribution of the payment-burden and achieve more effective collection from those with ability to pay.
  7. An intensification of food production.

The program was hailed by the people at large and confidence was expressed that the measures proposed would help solve the standing problems of the Republic.

Bohlen–Serrano Agreement

During his administration, he acted on the Bohlen–Serrano Agreement, which shortened the lease of the American military bases from 99 years to 25 years and made it renewable after every five years.

Creation of the International Rice Research Institute

President Garcia, with the strong advocacy of Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary Juan G. Rodriguez, invited the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation "to establish a rice research institute" in Los Baños, Laguna. This led to the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute in 1960.

Republic Cultural Award

In addition to his laws and programs, the Garcia administration also put emphasis on reviving the Filipino culture. In doing so, the Republic Cultural Award was created. To this day, the award is being given to Filipino artists, scientists, historians, and writers.

1961 presidential election

At the end of his second term, he ran for re–election in the presidential elections of November 14, 1961, but was defeated by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, who belonged to the rival Liberal Party.

Post-presidency and death

President Carlos P. Garcia
Garcia, circa 1960s
Carlos garcia grave
President Garcia's tomb at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

After his failed re-election bid, Garcia retired to Tagbilaran to resume life as a private citizen.

On June 1, 1971, Garcia was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, where delegates elected him as president of the convention. However, on June 14, 1971, Garcia died from a heart attack on 5:57 p.m. at his Manila residence along Bohol Avenue (now Sergeant Esguerra Avenue), Quezon City. He was succeeded as president of the convention by his former vice-president, Diosdado Macapagal.

Garcia was the first layman to lie in state in Manila Cathedral—a privilege once reserved for the Archbishops of Manila—and the first president to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.


On May 24, 1933, he married Leonila Dimataga. The couple had a daughter, Linda Garcia-Campos.


Carlos P. Garcia 1958 stamp of the Philippines
Garcia portrayed in a Philippine 1958 stamp

National Honors

  •  Philippines
    • Order of the Knights of Rizal Ribbon.png Knight of the Order of the Knights of Rizal.

Foreign Honors

  •  Malaya:
    • MY Darjah Utama Seri Mahkota Negara (Crown of the Realm) - DMN.svg Honorary Recipient of the Order of the Crown of the Realm (D.M.N.(K)) - (1959)
  • Francoist Spain Spain:
  •  South Vietnam:
    • Vietnam Kim Khanh Decoration ribbon-Exceptional Class.svg Exceptional Class of the Order of Kim Khanh - (March 19, 1956)

See also

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