Thursday, March 30, 2017

F. B. Harrison Avenue, Pasay City

   History is shaded by the ideology of the historian.  In elementary and high school I was taught that the Americans colonized the Philippines, out of the goodness of their heart, to teach the Filipinos how to govern themselves.  In college, I was taught that the Americans came to exploit the Philippine mines and enslave the Filipinos.  The truth is never in just one side of the story.  Usually it’s all over and in between.

Francis Burton Harrison
From: wikipedia.org
   Francis Burton Harrison was a relative of US founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.  He was the Private Secretary to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  The Confederacy was a breakaway 11 states fighting to keep their slaves.  Those states opposed the election of President Abraham Lincoln who ran on a platform of abolishing slavery.  Today's white supremacy racists wave the confederate flag as their own.

   Harrison served in the United States House of Representatives and was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to be Governor-General of the Philippines.  Despite his confederacy back ground, as Governor-General of the Philippines, he initiated Filipinization, the process of sharing authority to Filipinos in preparation for inevitable independence.  He went against conservative Americans who thought his role was to support U.S. interests.

   “The Filipinization policies of Harrison... increased not only the number of Filipinos working in government, but also the number of Filipinos holding responsible positions in government.  The legislature passed the Reorganization Act of 1916 which provided that all department secretaries should be Filipino citizens.  Harrison also allowed the creation of new departments all headed by Filipinos.” (https://www.coursehero.com)

   Manuel L. Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth asked Harrison to be his principal advisor.  “In 1936, Harrison expressed interest in acquiring Filipino citizenship but did not fulfill the required years of residency under the Naturalization Law.  Upon Manuel Quezon's initiative, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 79, making Harrison a naturalized Filipino citizen.”  While Filipinos struggled to attain US citizenship, Harrison cherished his Filipino citizenship.  

   From Governor-General of the Philippines beginning in 1913, Harrison served the Filipinos in different capacities.  After the Philippine independence in 1946, Harrison served as an advisor to the first four presidents of the new Philippine Republic.  

   Harrison died on November 21, 1957 as a Filipino citizen.  He willed that he be buried in the Philippines.  He was interred with the image of Philippine flag alongside the American flag in the Manila North Cemetery in La Loma, Manila.  A street was named after him, F.B. Harrison Avenue which starts in Baclaran, Parañaque through Pasay City and ends in Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz) in the City of Manila.

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