Birthday: August 31, 1907
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay, Ramón
Born Country: Philippines
Born in: Iba, Zambales, Philippines
Famous as: 7th President of the Philippines
Spouse/Ex-: Luz Magsaysay
father: Exequiel Magsaysay
mother: Perfecta del Fierro y Quimson
children: Jr., Milagros, Ramon Magsaysay, Teresita Banzon-Magsaysay
Died on: March 17, 1957
place of death: Balamban
education: 1932 - José Rizal University, University of the Philippines
Who was Ramon Magsaysay?
Ramon Magsaysay was the seventh president of the Philippines. He is best known for defeating the communist-led Hukbalahap (HUK) movement and restoring law and order during his stint as the secretary of defense of the Philippines. In order to resist the HUK, he reformed the army by including honest farmers in the army units and dismissing corrupt and inactive officers. Magsaysay led, what is believed to be, the most successful antiguerrilla campaign in the modern history. As the president of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay maintained close ties with the United States and negotiated the Laurel-Langley Agreement, which was a trade agreement between the two countries to satisfy the diverse Filipino economic interests. He also brought about significant land reforms, including vast irrigation projects and enhancement of power plants. Trade and industry flourished during his time and the Philippines flourished in sports and culture. He remained an active spokesperson against communism during the Cold War. Magsaysay was well-known for his humility; he insisted on being called "Mr. President" and not "His Excellency". He was posthumously called the "Idol of the Masses".
Childhood & Early Life
Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay was born in Iba, Zambales, Philippine Islands, on August 31, 1907 to Exequiel Magsaysay y de los Santos, a blacksmith, and Perfecta del Fierro y Quimson, a schoolteacher.
He attended high school at Zambales Academy in San Narciso, Zambales and entered the University of the Philippines in 1927, to study a pre-medical course.
From 1928 to 1932, he studied at the Institute of Commerce at José Rizal College, where he received a baccalaureate in commerce.
Ramsaysay worked as an automobile mechanic in a bus company in Florida and shop superintendent to support himself.
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After the World War II broke out, he joined the motor pool of the 31st Infantry Division of the Philippines Army.
In 1942, he had to stay in hiding from the Japanese forces. During this time, he organized the Western Luzon Guerrilla Forces, and was elected captain on April 5, 1942.
He acted as a supply officer in Col. Merrill's famed guerrilla outfit and later as commander of a 10,000 strong force. Magsaysay was among those active in clearing the Zambales coast of the Japanese before the landing of American forces in 1945.
On April 22, 1946, Magsaysay was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives under the banner of the Liberal Party.
In 1948, he was chosen as chairman of the Committee on guerrilla affairs. He went to Washington to ensure that the Philippine veterans are granted rights in the Rogers Veterans Bill.
In the 1949 election, he was re-elected to a second term in the House of Representatives as the Chairman of the House National Defense Committee.
During the rise of communist guerrillas, Ramon Magsaysay offered President Elpidio Quirino a plan to fight against them so the former appointed him the Secretary of National Defence on August 31, 1950.
In June 1952, Magsaysay made a goodwill tour to Washington, D.C. , New York, and Mexico.
On February 28 1953, he resigned as defense secretary and decided to run for the seat of the president under the Nacionalista Party.
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On November 10, 1953 the elections were held and Magsaysay defeated opponent Elpidio Quirino to become the new president of the Philippines.
During his term as the president, Ramon Magsaysay laid the foundation of the Manila Pact of 1954, created to defeat communist-Marxist movements in South East Asia, South Asia and the Southwestern Pacific.
In early 1954, President Magsaysay appointed Benigno Aquino, Jr. as personal emissary to Luís Taruc, leader of the Hukbalahap, a communist guerrilla group.
From February to mid-September 1954, Magsaysay carried out the largest anti-Huk operation, "Operation Thunder-Lightning" that led to the capture of Luis Taruc on 17 May.
Awards & Achievements
During Magsaysay’s administration, Philippines became Asia’s second cleanest and well-governed country. His tenure is often referred to as the Philippines' Golden Years.
Magsaysay’s Presidential Complaints and Action Committee heard nearly 60,000 complaints in a year, and settled more than 30,000 through direct action and a little more than 25,000 through government agencies.
Magsaysay established the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) which granted about sixty-five thousand acres to three thousand poor families for settlement purposes.
He also established the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) to make available rural credits of almost ten million dollars.
Magsaysay initiated the formation of Liberty Wells Association that managed to raise a considerable sum for the construction of artesian wells for the development of agrarian sector.
March 17, 1958 Ramon Magsaysay was awarded the Golden Heart Presidential Award posthumously.
He received the Order of the White Elephant (April 1955) from the government of Thailand and the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia (January 1956) from the government of Cambodia.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Luz Magsaysay On June 16, 1933 and they had three children - Teresita Banzon-Magsaysay, Milagros Banzon-Magsaysay, and Ramon Banzon-Magsaysay, Jr.
On March 16, 1957, while coming back from Cebu City to Manila, Magsaysay died when the presidential plane crashed on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award, established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to continue Ramon Magsaysay's exemplary integrity in governance, brave service to the nation, and realistic idealism in a democratic society.
Magsaysay was the first Filipino President who regularly wore the national costume, Barong Tagalog.
When Magsaysay got the news that his political ally Moises Padilla was killed by the forces of provincial governor Lacson, he himself carried Padilla's dead body with his bare hands and delivered it to the morgue.