ARLINGTON ULYSSES BETTS

One of the two early American provincial Governors that remained permanently in the Philippines (the other was James Ross of Camarines Sur). Only Betts never left his adopted province. He was also exceptional among the Governors both in education and experience, and his record of six years as Governor, four elected, is unique. Born in Ohio in 1867, he was one of the few native Americans among the volunteers to have studied in Europe. The second eldest son of a well-to-do family, he received a military education in Germany at the time Bismark was creating the formidable military machine which so decisively humbled France in the Franco-German war. On his return from Europe, Betts went off to Mexico and started a rubber plantation. When the Spanish-American war broke out, Betts sold his plantation to the Firestone Rubber Co. and organized the Buckeye regiment of Ohio volunteers. Col. Betts, at the head of his regiment, sailed directly from San Francisco to Legaspi, arriving in 1899 to find the beach fortified by Filipino troops. The Filipinos opposed the American landing courageously but ineffectively, at first using homemade cannon balls made of abaca and pieces of iron. Betts and his men, in contrast to many of the volunteer regiments, were well armed with Springfield rifles and trench mortars. After a few days of fighting, the Filipino forces were defeated, and Betts organized a military government. Moving on with his men to Barrio Bantayan in Tabaco, Betts met strong resistance from the remaining Filipino forces, who here were well armed and using captured Spanish cannon. Nonetheless, after suffering substantial losses, the volunteers took over the town, and Betts turned his attention to governing the province. The social and professional composition

of his regiment made this relatively easy. Many of the volunteers were professionals, with fine educational backgrounds in civil life: doctors, engineers, teachers, accountants and technicians of all kinds. Even so, the first months were an ordeal. With military governments in most towns and provinces concentrating on the establishment of public schools, most of the officers had, figuratively, to make bricks without straw. Betts, like some others, turned to his hometown for help. After several months, crates of textbooks for all grades and a generous quantity of school supplies arrived from his town mates. In the meantime, he improvised writing paper from banana and abaca leaves and utilized as ink a red juice made from a local fruit tree. Improvisation also solved the currency problem. Spanish paper money had been abolished, and there was almost no American currency, so Betts used paper and a homemade stamp, modeled on the ubiquitous local Chinese variety, to create his own fiat money which circulated in the province until the arrival of American currency. Civil Government was proclaimed in 1901, and after two years as military Governor, Betts found himself elected for four years to the office of Provincial Governor by the votes of the mayors and councilmen of the Province, in the process defeating nine Filipino candidates. During these years, he emphasized health and sanitation as well as education and the restoration of the abaca industry. Hemp buyers, deprived by the hostilities of their supplies for several years, were clamoring for abaca, and the provincial economy was heavily dependent on its production. Betts was capably assisted in his work of reconstruction by Lt. Governor Roman Santos, who succeeded him in office in 1905, and by an able secretary, Joaquin Tomas,

from a prominent propertied family of the province, whose daughter he married. Betts never left Albay. A man of means himself, an intelligent and capable businessman who married into a wealthy family, he acquired plantations, real estate, a coal mine and sawmills. Five children were born of his marriage, the eldest Joe, taking over management of the family business and property. Although Betts suffered severe property losses while with the guerrillas in the Albay hills during the Japanese occupation, the family resumed its prominent place in provincial life after the war. In 1957, aged 91, Arlington Betts died.

Source: Gleeck, Lewis E. Jr. Americans on the Philippine Frontiers. Manila: Carmelo & Bauermann, Inc., 1974.

GOVERNOR MANUEL CALLEJA Y MARONILLA Don Manuel is best remembered and written about as an illustrado. He distinguished himself as a lawyer, a Fiscal, a Judge of the Justice of Peace Court, a Governor, a Judge of the People’s Court and a Judge of the Court of First Instance. He was reared in the old school and belonged to it with great honor and distinction. In the discharge of his functions and responsibilities in the various public offices that he held, he was singularly known as an outstanding public servant and a man of the people. As a lawyer, he espoused the caused of the poor and rich, of the privileged and the less privileged. He had a golden heart and a keen mind, both of which he used to advance the cause of his clients in their quest for justice. Because he was an outstanding lawyer who possessed and displayed superior integrity and probity, he deservedly merited the various appointments as Provincial Fiscal

and Judge of the Justice of the Peace Court, the People’s Court and the Court of the First Instance. As Governor-elect of the Province of Albay before World War II and after the war, he served the people with untiring dedication and great sacrifice. He was loved and respected in the barrios and in the towns throughout the province. He is remembered to this day as a loving, caring, selfless public servant. The son of Don Ignacio Calleja and Doña Aguilina Maronilla, Don Manuel was married to Paz Aspillera by whom he had three sons and three daughters, who all measured up exceedingly well to his expectations. The eldest and the youngest of them dedicated their lives to the military service and died for their country in line of duty. The eldest Luis, was in the Death March from Bataan to Capas in World War II. The youngest Ignacio III was a Philippine Military graduate. The three daughters, Alice, Zaling and Nenita and the other son Peping have distinguished themselves in their own way in various occupations and professions in life. But very close to his heart was his son, Pascual, who adored him and had always tried to be that worthy “chip” off the old block. Don Manuel will long live in the memory as the most worthy son of the town of Libon and in the best traditions of the people of Albay.

GOVERNOR NICANOR MARONILLA-SEVA, JR. He belonged to the first batch of who graduated Bachelor of Laws from the Ateneo de Manila where he studied elementary and secondary (1922-1933) and Associate in Arts (Pre-law in 1935). On the year of his graduation, 1939, he passed the bar. Barely 24, he studied at Adamson University graduating Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in 1948. He was then in military service as Second Lieutenant in the Philippine Army in Camp Murphy since 1939. From 1941 to 1942, he joined the Philippine war campaign during the Second World War in Bataan Peninsula. He was among the war prisoners who joined the Death March and was incarcerated at Capas, Tarlac from 1942 to 1943. After the liberation, he became Judge Advocate assistant to Col. Fred Ruiz Castro in JAGO from 1945 to 1949. Later, he became a prosecutor of Philippine War Crimes Commission from 1949 to 1952. He held government positions first as member of the President’s Complaints and Action Commission (PCAC) in Malacañang

Palace from 1952 to 1954. In 1955, he was elected governor of Albay holding the term from 1955 to 1959. He was reelected governor by overwhelming majority votes from 1959 to the time of his death on November 4, 1962. Already early at the time of his demise, he had distinguished himself as member of the Executive Committee of the Nacionalista Party; spokesman for the Bikol Delegation to the Nacionalista Party Conventions; Member of the Philippine Governors’ League at age 39 as youngest governor elected. He had sponsored the construction and opening of the Libon-Pantao Magsaysay Feeder Road after a project dormancy of 25 years, officially inaugurated by President Carlos P. Garcia. he initiated and sponsored the construction of the municipal and barangay school buildings which were needed to enhance education specially at elementary level. He initiated and sponsored the construction of feeder roads from barangays to municipalities to foster economic efficiency of the people. To the people of Albay, he rendered and accounting of his first four-years terms of office as governor, according to him, “in fulfillment of our sworn responsibility of promoting your welfare and protecting your interests… your personal wellbeing has always been our constant guide and your confidence our encouragement.” Adhering strictly to facts and statistics, he avoided halftruths and exaggerations. Thus did he make a clear statement. He gave a report of the provincial finance by expenditures: a summary of roads built and improved from 1946 to June 30, 1959; a summary of public works- the constructions, improvement and maintenance of roads and bridges, public buildings, port works, river control, irrigation and other public works like lighthouses, the airport. Source: Libon Fiesta sa Maynila 1998-1999 Souvenir Program.

GOVERNOR JOEY SARTE SALCEDA Acknowledged by many as the chief architect of the Fiscal Roadmap to Recovery of the Arroyo administration and a senior policy adviser to the President, Governor Salceda was formerly a three-term lawmaker from the Third District of Albay (1998-2007). He was appointed as Presidential Chief of Staff last February 9, 2007 and has worked as a Congressional Fellow to former Speaker Ramon Mitra and Chief-of-Staff to then congressman, senator and Education Secretary Raul Roco. Voted by foreign fund managers in Asiamoney’s Annual Survey as “Best Analyst” in 1995 and “Best Economist” for four consecutive years from 1993 to 1996, Gov. Salceda has a wealth of insights on legislation, policy, research and market dynamics. During the 11th Congress, three of his substantial economic proposals became law – Republic Act No. 8751 or the Countervailing Duty Law, Republic Act No. 8752 or the Antidumping Law, and Republic Act No. 8800

or the Safeguard Measures Law. These measures are critical in allowing the country realize the full benefits of its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and at the same time protect domestic farmers. In the 12th Congress, he was the author of Republic Act No. 9243 – An Act Rationalizing the Provisions on the Documentary Stamp Tax on Financial transactions which supports the development of the domestic capital markets. Gov. Salceda is also fondly regarded as the “Founding Father of Ligao City” after his successful sponsorship of the measure converting the municipality of Ligao into a component city under Republic Act No. 9008.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful