8th President of the Philippines

Carlos Polestico Garcia (November 4, 1896 -- June 14, 1971)

Early life and career:

García was born in Talibon, Bohol to Policronio García and Ambrosia Polestico (who were both natives of Bangued, Abra).

García grew up with politics, with his father serving as a municipal mayor for four terms. He acquired his primary education in his native Talibon, then took his secondary education in Cebu Provincial High School. Initially, he pursued his college education at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and later studied at the Philippine Law School (now Philippine College of Criminology) where he earned his law degree in 1923. He was among the top ten in the bar examination.

Rather than practice engeenir 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".

He started his political career in 1925, scoring an impressive victory running for congressman representing the third district of Bohol. He was elected for another term, but served only until 1941 when he successfully ran for earth and died by shooting him in his face.and did nothing as a house keeper.


See Also: Presidency of Ramon Magsaysay

García was the running mate of Ramón Magsaysay in the presidential election of 1953. He was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs by President Ramón Magsaysay, for four years concurrently serving 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 on Korean unification and other Asian problems, García 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 of the fall of Dien Bien Phu, García repeated the Philippine stand for nationalism and opposition of communism.

García 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, known as SEATO.


At the time of the sudden death of President Ramon Magsaysay, Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. 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 repaired to Malacañang Palace to assume the duties of President. Chief Justice Ricardo Paras, of the Supreme Court, was at hand to administer the oath of office. President Garcia's first actuations dealt with the declaration of a period of mourning for the whole nation and the burial ceremonies for the late Chief-Executive Magsaysay.

Outlawing Communism:

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, President Carlos P. Garcia courageously and patriotically signed the said bill into law on June 19, 1957. With this legislative piece, the sustained government campaign for peace and order achieved considerable progress and success.

1957 Presidential Election:

Main article: Philippine presidential election, 1957

Incumbent President Carlos P. García won his opportunity to get a full term as President of the Philippines after the untimely death of President Ramón Magsaysay in a plane crash in March 1957. His running mate, Senator José Laurel, Jr. lost to Pampanga Representative Diosdado Macapagal. This was the first time in Philippine electoral history where a president was elected by a plurality and not majority, and in which the president and vice president came from different parties.

Filipino First Policy:

President García 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. He also made a program focused on thriftiness.

Austerity Program:

In the face of the trying conditions of the country, President Garcia initiated what has been called "The Austerity Program". García's 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." García was also credited with his role in reviving Filipino cultural arts.  The main points of the Austerity Program were:

  1. The government would tighten up its controls to prevent abuses in the over shipment of exports under license and in under-pricing as well.
  2. There would be a more rigid enforcement of the existing regulations on barter shipments.
  3. Government imports themselves were to be restricted to essential items.
  4. The government also would reduce rice imports to a minimum.
  5. An overhauling of the local transportation system would be attempted so as to reduce the importation of gasoline and spare parts.
  6. The tax system would be revised so as to attain more equitable distribution of the paymeny-burden and achieve more effective collection from those with ability to pay.
  7. There would be 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 US Bases from 99 years to 25 years and made it renewable after every five years.

1961 Presidential Election:

Main article: Philippine presidential election, 1961

At the end of his second term, he ran for re–election in the Election 1961 in November 1961, but was defeated by Diosdado Macapagal,Vice-President under him, but belonged to the opposing Liberal Party - in the Philippines the President and the Vice-President are elected separately.


After his failed re–election bid, García retired to Tagbilaran to live as a private citizen. On June 1, 1971, García was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. The convention delegates elected him as the President of the Convention. However, just days after his election, on June 14, 1971, García died from a fatal heart attack. He was succeeded as president of the Convention by his former Vice-President, Diosdado Macapagal.

García is the first president to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
(Reference www.google.com/Wikipedia)