Don Luis Morales of Moncada was a lawyer at the age of 23. He started his political vocation as representative to the Philippine Legislative Assembly. He was a delegate to the 1935 constitutional convention that drafted the Commonwealth form of government.
Morales was the first representative to become Tarlac Governor. After two succeeding terms as a governor, he was voted as Senator representing Central Luzon.
One of his excellent achievements in the province is the erection of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital.
At present, the town plaza of Moncada bears his name.
Don Jose Urquico was a distinguished lawyer and agriculturist. His parents were both revolutionaries- Antonio Urquico and Justa D. Valeriano. He started as a municipal councilor of Tarlac, Tarlac. Afterwards, he was elected Tarlac Governor for two consecutive terms.
During his term, the athletic field we call Don Jose Urquico Memorial Athletic Field was constructed.
During his term, the influence of American colonialism extended to all aspects of life in Tarlac.
At the commencement of the commonwealth period 1935-37, Jose Urquico was again elected governor together with 2 provincial board members – Lino Ignacio and Carlos Kipping.
Alfonso Pablo, a lawyer by profession, was called by Tarlaquenos the “Man of the Masses”. During his term, the provincial government was transferred to Tarlac Capitol’s present site.
He headed the province a few months before the Philippine Revolution against Spain sparked.
Under Pablo’s term, Tarlac acquired large tracks of land including the Tarlac Provincial Hospital and the Camp Macabulos. Pablo’s term was cut short in 1939 when President Quezon assigned him to act as the governor of Cotobato.
The term he left behind was turned over to Don Protacio Santos, a former Camiling Mayor and a Senior Board Member. Records suggest that the name of General Santos City might be in his honor.
[Eduardo Cojuangco Sr., 1940-1941]
Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. was one of the most distinguished leaders in Tarlac Province. He was a prominent industrialist, agriculturist, businessman and philanthropist.
During his term, he assisted in the opening of the Tarlac-Burgos road in the western town of Tarlac. He introduced home industries to improve living conditions in the province.
However, his programs for the province were suddenly cut short with the outbreak of World War II. The Japanese Army absorbed Tarlac in the early months of 1941 and was liberated three years after, during the feast of San Sebastian, Tarlac‘s patron saint.
“As Governor of Tarlac, he rejected to pledge commitment to the Japanese to become their surrogate leader of the Province. With the rage of the Japanese Imperial Army, he faced an execution order. Eduardo Sr., with his family, hid in the mountains of northern Luzon throughout the war era. He died a sudden death in 1952. His remains lie on the “MITRA,” their family’s Mausoleum in Paniqui Tarlac.” (The Tarlac Book)
(GOV. SERGIO AQUINO)
(GOV. FELICIANO GARDINER)
(GOV. ALEJANDRO GALANG)
[TARLAC WARTIME GOVERNORS 1941-1945]
During the Japanese occupation of Tarlac, covering the years of 1942 to 1945, former Jose Urquico, Don Sergio Aquino, Don Ramon dela Merced, and Don Feliciano Gardiner were assigned, one after the other, as governors of the Japanese Puppet Government.
The first who served the Japanese regime is Sergio Aquino; brother of Don Benigno Sr.
During this period, Tarlac Provincial Capital was used as the Provincial Garrison of the Japanese forces. Records show that the Japanese period in Tarlac province started on Dec. 8, 1941, when the Japanese planes bombed the San Miguel air trip (now Camp Aquino). Accounts reveal that the Tarlac attack was nearly similar to Pearl Harbor bombing in Hawaii. Japanese invasion in the province in 1941 made the place a ghost town.
On the latter part of the Japanese occupation, Jose S. Urquico, Don Ramon dela Merced, Feliciano Gardiner, acted as governors.
Gardiner was the governor when the Japanese fled. Right after the war, Don Jose Espinosa Jr. of Tarlac, Tarlac served briefly as governor. He was then succeeded by Don Alejandro Galang on April of 1945 who served up to 1946 of Liberation time. Galang’s term was considered as a time of regaining and rehabilitation of livelihood and properties in Tarlac.
Tarlac Liberation was on January 20, 1945, Feast of St. Sebastian. The entire Philippines was liberated on July 5, 1945.
[Antonio Lopez, 1946-1952]
Lopez, a guerilla leader, was a former mayor of the town of Moncada. During the war, many Moncadeñeans were enslaved at Camp O’ Donnell concentration camp in Capas. Through exchanging sacks of camotes for every prisoner, Lopez was able to free imprisoned Moncadeñeans making him gain the name “camote”.
Under his term, Tarlac Capitol was reconstructed by the Philippine Rehabilitation Commission funded by the USA. The Camiling Rural High School (now Tarlac College of Agriculture TCA) and the Concepcion High School (now Benigno Aquino Memorial High School) were established. The General Francisco Macabulos Monument and the Ma. Cristina Park in front of the capitol were as well constructed in cooperation with civic organizations.
However, on Lopez’ second term in the election of 1951, an election protest was made by his closest opponent ex Mayor Arsenio Lugay. After a year of hearing by the election Commission, Lopez was unseated in 1953. Board Members Alfredo Cuchapin and Cresencio Arenas became acting governors.
[Arsenio Lugay, 1954-1963]
Right from the victory of his electoral complaint, Arsenio Lugay the “Grand Old Man” of Tarlac politics became governor. He was re-elected in 1955, 1959, and 1962. He was appointed Secretary of the General Services by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. “Apung Seniong” was the mayor who has served the longest, being in the position for 23 years.
During his term, significant projects were initiated and constructed provincewide including: the new municipal buildings of Gerona, Paniqui and Capas; Magsaysay Damn in Mayantoc; and the breeding stations of Tarlac, La Paz and Camiling.
He initiated the construction of Tarlac Red Cross building, Girl Scouts building and Tarlac Provincial Hospital building. He also gave attention to health center construction and artesian well installation.
The famous Bamban Park was renamed Governor Arsenio Lugay’s Park as a tribute to the governor.
[Benigno S. Aquino Jr. , 1963-1967]
Vice Governor Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr. took over the remaining years of Governor Lugay’s term. In 1963, he was duly elected as Tarlac governor thereby serving until 1967.
During his term, salary increase of Tarlac High School teachers was implemented. The boundary argument amid Tarlac and Pangasinan was as well settled.
Several areas were established like the Balog-balog dam project in Western Tarlac, the F. Tañedo Street in downtown Tarlac and the Getha Village or Government Employees of Tarlac Housing Association.
Ninoy, “the man in a hurry”, was elected mayor of Concepcion at an early age of 24. He was Vice Governor at age 30, Governor at age 33, and Senator at the age of 35.
[Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., 1967-1969]
Cojuangco constructed markets, schools, bridges, and health centers despite his short service. “Danding”, a graduate of Dela Salle College, was an agriculturist by profession. At age 22, he acted as vice mayor in his hometown Paniqui.
“Danding or Americano” is a businessman and farmer. As a governor-farmer, he initiated innovative methods in the propagation of new rice and sugarcane varieties with the assistance of technologists from Los Baños. With this, Tarlac became a pioneer in the famous Masagana Rice production program.
Infrastructure projects sprouted everywhere during his time. The extension of the Provincial Capitol back portion was put up, the drainage canal of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital was constructed, and the 4 span Balaoang Bridge in Paniqui was concreted. Danding was well remembered as the first Tarlac official to declare war against the HUK. Tarlac Provincial Hospital became a “hospital of the people” through his efforts too.
After his short term as governor, he ran for the 1st congressional district of Tarlac and won unopposed where he served up until the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.
(Info Source: http://tarlac.gov.ph/history-governors.php)
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