Author: Wilmor Pacay III

What is an independent country? Also called a sovereign country, here are the three key components that make a country independent: territory, population, and government (Fowler & Bunck, 1996).  De Leon (2014) however added sovereignty to the elements under a “modern” state. 

  • Territory. An independent country has a defined territory, like a puzzle piece that makes up its physical space. Borders separate one country from another;
  • Population. A sovereign country has a permanent population living within its territory. These people follow the country’s laws and rules;
  • Government. An independent country has a government that makes and enforces laws, protects citizens’ rights, and maintains control over the territory and population.
  • Sovereignty.  This means that a country has the most power to make and enforce rules for its own people. It also means that the country is free from being controlled by other countries. The United Nations (2023), stated that the core principle of democracy is that the legitimacy of sovereign states comes from the collective will of the people and where elections are essential to sovereign governance (Teehankee, 2002).

These elements are interrelated. A country needs people and land to form a sovereign state, and a government ensures control and order with freedom to enforce laws that are independent from other countries. Elections according to Teehankee, 2002 are very important in a democracy. They help make sure that politicians are responsible for what they do, and that they make rules that match what the public wants. Ideally, elections help choose leaders, make and change rules, make sure everyone is represented, and influence government decisions a lot.

In 1907, a special event took place in the Philippines that gave a glimmer of hope for the future independence of the country, as it was the first time they were able to choose their own leaders through an elected assembly. Elections were held for the National Assembly, where Sergio Osmena Sr. was elected as the Speaker of the House, and Manuel Quezon was elected as the majority floor leader. Then, in 1916, another important act called the Jones Act came into play.

After the first national elections in 1935, Manuel L. Quezon became the second President of the Philippines and the first president of the Commonwealth. During World War II, a different government called the Second Republic was formed, with Jose P. Laurel as the third President. However, the Second Republic was abolished in 1944. In 1945, the Philippine Commonwealth was reestablished with Sergio Osmeña as the second President of the Commonwealth. Osmeña later lost the presidential election to Manuel Roxas in 1946, who became the third President of the Philippine Commonwealth and the first President of the independent Republic of the Philippines, marking the end of the Philippine Commonwealth and ushering in of the Third Republic

But fighting for the country’s independence was a relatively long process for the Philippines. The Spanish ruled the country from 1565 to 1898. Then, the Americans took over and governed the Philippines from 1898 to 1946. The Japanese also occupied the Philippines during World War 2, making life become even more challenging for the Filipino people. Gaining independence was a difficult journey for the Philippines, and it needed many sacrifices. In 1935, the Philippines became a nation under the commonwealth. This meant that the Filipino people had more control over the affairs of the country. In 1946, after facing numerous challenges and enduring hardships, the Philippines finally was granted independence by the American colonizers.

The Philippines went through a lot to gain their independence, and the Filipinos had to face a series of hardships. But the Filipino people never gave up and instead showed great determination and strength throughout their journey to become an independent nation. Today, the Philippines cherish independence as a result of enduring complex struggles as a nation.

In this module, learners will become familiar with the social events that happened to the Philippines upon becoming an independent country and the challenges of realizing its sovereignty. The module will specifically focus on introducing historical events that span from July 4, 1946, when the United States (US) officially recognized the Philippines as an independent nation through the Treaty of Manila to 1972 when the Philippines experienced Martial Law under then president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

 Most Essential Learning Competencies

  • Analyze and understand the primary problems and challenges encountered by Filipinos from 1946 to 1972;
  • Discuss and examine the programs implemented by different administrations in response to the problems and challenges encountered by Filipinos from 1946 to 1972; and 
  • Recognize and appreciate the significance of Filipinos defending the national interests.

| Content Standards

 By the end of this module, learners are expected to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • The Filipino people’s efforts in addressing the problems, issues, and challenges of independence;
  • The historical context and events that shaped the Filipino people’s struggle in addressing the issues and challenges of independence; and
  • The significance of the Filipino people’s resilience, determination, and collective action in responding to the problems, issues, and challenges of independence.

| Performance Standards

 By the end of this module, learners are expected to:

  • Express appreciation and admiration for the contributions of Filipino heroes and individuals who played important roles in achieving complete independence and addressing the challenges of sovereignty;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical context and significant events that influenced the Filipino people’s struggle for independence and their response to the challenges of sovereignty; and 
  • Clearly communicate the importance of the Filipino people’s efforts in attaining full freedom and their determination in overcoming the challenges of independence.

Lesson: The Independence of Republic of the Philippines

| Lesson Objectives

 At the end of the lesson, the student is able to:

  • Explain the events and impact of the end of World War II on the Philippine Independence led by General Douglas MacArthur, the resistance faced from the Japanese, the devastation caused by the Japanese retreat, and the transfer of powers to President Osmena;
  • Understand the transition from Commonwealth to Republic, including the challenges faced by the Philippines after the war, the economic dependence on the United States, the political disagreements between President Osmena and General MacArthur, the controversial Bell Trade Act, and the presidency of Manuel Roxas;
  • Examine the presidencies of Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia, and Diosdado Macapagal, and the challenges and achievements during their administrations, such as the rebellion in Batangas, the fight against the HUKs, economic reforms, land reform, the Filipino First policy, industrial growth, and the passage of important laws like the Agricultural Land Reform Code. They will also understand the rise of Ferdinand Marcos and the subsequent imposition of martial law, leading to an authoritarian regime in the Philippines.

| Key Concepts

  • Citizens- refer to individuals who have the legal right to participate in the electoral process by casting their votes to choose representatives or make decisions on public matters. They are typically individuals who meet the eligibility criteria established by the country’s laws, such as age, residency, and sometimes citizenship status.
  • Elections-  a process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold an official position. 
  • Independent Country- a country that has its own defined territory, permanent population, and a government that exercises control over its territory and population without being controlled by other countries.
  • Territory-  the physical space or land area that belongs to a country, with clear borders that separate it from other countries.
  • Population- the group of people who permanently live within the borders of a country and follow its laws and rules.
  • Government- the body or authority that has the power to make and enforce laws, maintain order, and provide services for the people within a country.
  • Sovereignty- the ultimate power and authority of a country to govern itself independently, make decisions, and be free from the control or influence of other countries.
  • People Power Revolution- a nonviolent mass movement that took place in the Philippines in 1986, leading to the peaceful overthrow of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of democracy.
  • Human Rights- fundamental rights and freedoms that every individual is entitled to, including the right to life, liberty, and security of person, freedom of expression and assembly, and protection against discrimination and abuse.
  • Opposition- groups and individuals who actively resist and challenge the policies and actions of a government or ruling authority, often advocating for alternative ideas and seeking to bring about change.

| Self-Evaluation Form (Part I)

1. What do you already know about key historical events in the Philippines, including World War II’s end and independence, the transition to a republic, and the administrations of Presidents Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia, Macapagal, and the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.?”


2. What do you want to know more about the lesson?


Sub-Lesson 1: The End of World War II and the Philippine Independence

In late 1944, General Douglas MacArthur led the American forces in the Pacific War against Japan. In October of that year, MacArthur and his troops landed on Leyte, an island in the Philippines. President Osmena, along with General Carlos Romulo and General Basilio Valdez, joined him in reestablishing the commonwealth government. They faced strong resistance from the Japanese, who sent reinforcements by sea and air (Nadeau, 2020).

The American troops had new weapons and equipment, like powerful rifles, flame-throwers, tanks, and fighter planes. They attacked the Japanese from all sides. The Japanese became desperate and used suicide bombers called kamikazes to crash into American  planes and warships. But the American navy intercepted and defeated several Japanese fleets, clearing the way for the liberation of the Philippines.

Philippine History Timeline from End of Spanish Occupation to 1946 Independence. Photo taken from

On October 20, 1944, President Osmeña and General MacArthur worked together to restore the civil government, while the military maintained order in the country during the few months of transition. According to Nadeau, (2020) there were disagreements between Osmena and MacArthur, especially regarding the prosecution of (Japanese) collaborators. One notable instance was MacArthur’s release of Manuel Roxas, a prewar friend who had served in Laurel’s cabinet and oversaw the rice procurement agency supplying the Japanese army in April 1945. Roxas later emerged as the political leader of the reestablished Philippine Congress. In the same year, President Osmena secured the presidential nomination from the Nationalista Party, but Roxas, unwilling to step aside, formed a new faction within the Liberal Party, eventually becoming its leader, allowing him to run for president. To counter this, President Osmena forged an alliance between the Nationalistas and the Democratic front, which included members of the middle class and various organized peasant movements in northern and central Luzon. While Osmena attended to his administrative responsibilities in Manila and allowed the electoral process to proceed, Roxas embarked on a nationwide campaign, investing substantial sums of money. He centered his campaign on three main issues: firstly, arguing that those who collaborated with the Japanese also resisted; secondly, promising to address the perceived Communist threat; and thirdly, pledging to implement new economic policies to usher the Philippines into a new era. Roxas secured victory with a margin of 200,000 votes and gained control of both houses of Congress.  

In December 1944, as the Japanese retreated, they caused destruction and harm to Filipino people. They pillaged homes, tortured civilians, and burned down towns and villages. In February 1945, MacArthur’s forces planned to trap the Japanese troops in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The Japanese reacted with extreme violence, causing great suffering to innocent civilians, and destroying historic buildings and other heritage structures.  Nadeu (2020) described Ermita Malate and Intramuros as a bloodied den of horror as the Japanese pillaged, raped, and murdered innocent civilians and religious clergy. They burned to the ground historic districts of homes, government buildings, universities, libraries, and churches.

After a month-long battle, the American troops recaptured Manila, but the cost was high. Many lives were lost, including American soldiers, Japanese soldiers, and Filipino people. Agoncillo & Mangahas (2010) narrated that the city of Manila was heavily damaged, becoming one of the most devastated cities of the war. The extensive bombing of Manila by the Americans, aimed at rooting out Japanese hideouts, resulted in the destruction of crucial infrastructures necessary for economic revival. This led to several months of halted production, widespread unemployment, scarcity of food, and the loss of thousands of lives due to various diseases. The overall situation in the Philippines was grim and dire. These challenges presented a formidable test for the Commonwealth.

On February 27, 1945,  General MacArthur, who had assumed control of the government as the Military Administrator, transferred the powers of the government back to President Sergio Osmeña. Although there was no official military government, the American military still had an influence on political affairs in the country. Then, on July 4, 1945, General MacArthur made a declaration that the entire Philippines had been liberated from Japanese control. 

Sub-Lesson 2: From Commonwealth to Republic

In 1945, the Philippines gained independence from the US. The country had suffered a lot during the war, with many buildings destroyed and people in need of housing, schools, food, and medicines. The cost of living had gone up dramatically. To help with these urgent needs, the United States sent money and provided loans to the Philippines.  

In the aftermath of World War II, the Philippines was in a fragile economic condition. The war had caused extensive damage to infrastructure, disrupted industries, and strained resources. Rebuilding and stabilizing the economy was a major challenge.

Roxas won the election and controlled both chambers of the legislature. This means that the president has secured the majority of seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The president controlling both chambers  is significant because it gives the President’s party significant influence over the legislative process.

One of the first acts he passed was the Bell Trade Act, which allowed free trade explorations between the US and the Philippines.  As the country faced issues like unemployment, inflation, and a lack of basic necessities during this time. The Bell Trade Act was passed in this context, with the hope that it would provide economic benefits and stability to the Philippines.

However, it also gave special privileges to US citizens in terms of land use and resources. The Act established preferential trade relations between the Philippines and the US. While it allowed for more open trade between the two nations, it also granted certain advantages to American citizens in terms of land ownership and resource utilization. This provision meant that large portions of Philippine land and resources could potentially be controlled by American interests.

This led to a form of economic dependence on the US. The Philippines became reliant on favorable trade terms with the United States, which could potentially be altered or revoked by the US government. This was controversial, and there was a heated debate in the halls of the Philippine legislature. Nevertheless, the act was approved and passed into a law.

By accepting aid and passing the Bell Trade Act, the Philippines according to Shalom (1980) became economically dependent on the US. Roxas focused on fighting against the communist rebel groups in the countryside. The Bell Trade Act’s controversial provisions and concerns about economic dependency on the US fueled opposition and discontent. These sentiments were instrumental in the rise of communist insurgency, particularly among groups like theHukbalahap (or Huk, Filipino acronym for Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, translated in English as “People’s Anti-Japanese Army”), a group of peasants and farmers who fought against the Japanese during World War II (Encyclopedia Britannica) which had previously resisted Japanese occupation during the war.  

The insurgency had its roots in a complex interplay of factors, including opposition to foreign presence, dissatisfaction with social and economic conditions, and aspirations for land reform. The Huk movement, for instance, gained traction among impoverished peasants who sought better economic opportunities and land distribution (Steinberg, 2009). However, Manuel Roxas’ term will be cut short, as he passed away in 1948 due to multiple heart attacks. Vice President Elpidio Quirino succeeded him in office to complete the remaining years of his term.

Sub-Lesson 3: The Administration of President Elpidio Quirino (1948-1953)

Elpidio Quirino succeeded Manuel Roxas as President of the Philippines in 1948. He ran for president against Jose Laurel, the former president of the Japanese-sponsored republic, and Senator Jose Avelino, who had been removed from office due to corruption charges.  The election during that time was marred by violence and fraudulent practices. The outcome seemed predetermined, with the Liberal Party having more resources and support, resulting in over half of the votes going to Quirino. A brief rebellion erupted in Batangas, Laurel’s home province, following the election. The Liberal Party, led by President Quirino, secured a majority in Congress, with control over about 60 out of 100 seats. The new officials were inaugurated in December 1949.| Self-Evaluation Form (Part I)


  1. What do you already know about key historical events in the Philippines, including World War II’s end and independence, the transition to a republic, and the administrations of Presidents Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia, Macapagal, and the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.?”


  1. What do you want to know more about the lesson?


The manipulation of the elections by the Liberal Party as narrated by Nadeu (2020) had a profound impact on how they governed, as corruption tends to breed further corruption. This occurred amid an ongoing military campaign against the HUKs, who had previously fought against the Japanese forces during World War II. Predominantly composed of rural peasants and farmers, the HUKs actually preferred peaceful means of struggle, aiming for land reform and greater social and economic justice. However, the Roxas administration earlier on rejected their inclusion in the political process, labeling them as seditious and illegal due to their Communist leanings in March 1948. Although Quirino initially pursued negotiations with the HUKs, the talks collapsed when HUK leaders insisted on retaining their weapons until reforms were implemented. The subsequent military actions against them only fueled public resentment against the government.  The HUKs wanted land reform and greater economic justice. Although Quirino initially tried to negotiate with the rebel group, the talks eventually fell apart, and military campaigns were launched against them. These campaigns only increased the resentment against the government (Crandall, 2014).

In 1950, Quirino invited the US President Harry Truman to send an economic survey mission to the Philippines to study the country’s problems. The mission recommended changes to raise incomes and increase the participation of laborers and farmers in the economy, along with the provision of $250 million in the form of US aid. This aid helped ease the struggling state of the Philippine economy.

At the same time, the US sent advisors to help with the counterinsurgency campaign against the HUKs. Ramon Magsaysay, a CIA-trained trusted ally and an appointed secretary of national defense by the Quirino administration , implemented changes in the armed forces to fight the HUKs more effectively. Magsaysay employed psychological warfare tactics while simultaneously introducing programs to regain the support of the people and relocate surrendered HUKs to different areas.

In 1951, senatorial elections were held, and measures were taken to ensure a fair and peaceful conduct of elections. The Liberal Party lost many seats to the Nacionalista Party. In 1953, according to Nadeu (2020), the Nationalista Party leadership nominated Magsaysay for the presidential campaign of 1953, backed by various groups, including and mainly by the US CIA and the Catholic Church, ran for president and won a significant majority of the votes despite Quirino’s tirades during the campaign against Magsaysay saying that the latter is an American puppet. 

Sub-Lesson 4: President Ramon Magsaysay Administration (1953-1957)

Ramon Magsaysay was a key national leader in the Philippines after World War II. During his time as president, he made several changes for the development of the nation.

While serving in his first term as a leader, he introduced a law called the “Republic Act”. The purpose of this law was to make the executive branch stronger and help manage the country’s budget better.  This law gave more power to the president and helped the government manage its funds better. Magsaysay also had a plan to create more jobs. He wanted to generate 1.7 million jobs within five years. To achieve this, he enlisted the expertise of business professionals to spearhead various economic initiatives, including investments and projects that would stimulate employment opportunities across different sectors of the economy. This approach involved strategies like attracting investments, fostering economic growth in key industries, and implementing job-training programs to equip individuals with the skills needed for available positions.

Magsaysay also prioritized helping the farmers. He convinced the Philippine Assembly to pass a law called the Agricultural Tenancy Act (Republic Act No. 1199, 1954). This law was aimed to improve the lives of farmers who were struggling with unfair agricultural practices. It sought to establish fair agreements between landholders and tenants, ensuring both parties’ rights were protected. This included dividing the produce and income from the land fairly. The Act also encouraged tenant-farmers to boost their agricultural productivity, ultimately strengthening their economic status and involvement in rural development. Additionally, it provided provisions for tenants to have their own space for dwelling, farming, and other activities, giving them more control over their livelihoods. He also created organizations to help farmers get credit and financing support.

Magsaysay believed in listening to the people. He traveled to different parts of the country to hear their concerns. According to Abueva (2012), he wanted to show them that the government could change things. He introduced many citizens to the government and showed them that change was possible within the system. However, his personalized approach and emphasis on himself hindered the full realization of his intended reforms. Despite the effectiveness of government agencies due to their personal ties with Magsaysay, their long-term significance as independent institutions with decision-making authority was undermined by their association with the president. For instance, Magsaysay’s reliance on the army superseded the authority of local police, who were aligned with landlords and influential politicians in Congress. The Land Reform Act of 1955, championed by Magsaysay, was diluted by lawmakers who introduced amendments that exempted large sugar estates, greatly impeding tenants’ ability to obtain land. Magsaysay’s approach mirrored that of a traditional politician from the pre-commonwealth era, leveraging his popularity to enact changes that would fortify the nation, all while aiming to bolster his own standing as a leader (Abinales & Amoroso, 2017).

In a tragic turn of events, Magsaysay died in a plane crash in 1957 leaving his term of office unfinished. The whole country was shocked but he was succeeded by his vice president Carlos Garcia.

Sub-Lesson 5: The Administration of President Carlos Garcia (1957-1961)

President Carlos Garcia was the fourth president of the Philippines after Ramon Magsaysay died.  After fulfilling his predecessor’s unfinished term, he ran for re-election but faced opposition from different parties.

One of President Garcia’s important policies was the Filipino First policy. He wanted to prioritize the Filipino people and their economy. He encouraged industrialization and gave incentives to Filipino investors. However, not everyone supported this policy, including American and Chinese business communities (Nadeau, 2020).

In 1957 according to Abinales & Amorsolo (2017), the wealthiest 20 percent of Filipino families received the majority of the total income, accounting for 55 percent, while the poorest 20 percent only received 4.5 percent. The middle class, however, remained largely unchanged. Revolutionary movements among peasants dwindled due to the absence of the radical Left, the moderating influence of reformist associations for both rural and urban workers, and the availability of land in Mindanao. The government and the Catholic Church hierarchy also actively promoted anti-Communist messages in schools and churches.

Essentially, Garcia’s Filipino First policy primarily benefited Filipino business elites, particularly those aligned with the Nationalista party. President Garcia likened his government’s corruption to barnacles on a ship, acknowledging the challenge of removing them. He referred to this time when it was so easy to make anybody a millionaire; just give them a license and it’s done (Gleeck, 1993). 

Warlord politicians, commanding personal armies, engaged in unlawful and profit-driven activities through their connections to the Nationalista political network. Even national entities like the National Development Corporation were plagued by corruption, including bribery, fraud, and favoritism. While there were individuals of professionalism and integrity, their reputation was marred by widespread corruption and inefficiency.

By the end of Garcia’s term, the Filipino populace grew disheartened. American, Chinese, and Chinese Filipino businesses, affected by the Filipino First policy, protested more fervently. This discontent was echoed by the middle class, angered by the resurgence of corruption. American interests viewed Garcia’s policy as leaning towards socialism. For the first time in history, senior officers within the armed forces of the Philippines contemplated a coup, while opponents in Congress initiated a movement for Garcia’s impeachment. These problems led to disillusionment among the Filipino masses and protests from American and Chinese business groups. In the end, Garcia lost the 1961 presidential election to Diosdado Macapagal.

Sub-Lesson 6: The Administration President Diosdado Macapagal (1961-1965)

Diosdado Macapagal became the fifth president of the Philippines in 1961. He was a leader who promised to bring prosperity to the country. He sought to eradicate corruption and stimulate the economy by allowing foreign investments and freeing up the currency exchange market. In his inaugural address, he pledged to usher in a new era of prosperity. Throughout his presidency, he actively worked to combat graft, corruption, and fraud and sought to invigorate the Philippine economy by welcoming foreign investment and adopting a free currency exchange system for the peso. His strong support for free enterprise garnered significant backing from the Chinese, Chinese Filipino, and American business communities. President Macapagal also enjoyed support from the middle class, who were eager for new consumer opportunities and felt hindered by Garcia’s Filipino First policy, which limited access to foreign goods, especially American products. 

President Macapagal established the Program Implementation Agency to create a new national development plan. As narrated by Nadeu (2020), He brought in skilled technocrats, particularly those trained in the United States, who shared his vision of an open economy. These professionals received positive feedback from international funding organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Program Implementation Agency played a pivotal role in this economic opening, leading to increased agricultural exports and a temporary surge in the peso’s value. However, the accompanying tariffs had the opposite effect, primarily benefiting the affluent Filipino oligarchy and wealthy family-owned conglomerates that diversified into new export sectors and industries. These influential political families used their influence in Congress to obstruct President Macapagal’s initiatives. They often either rejected his bills outright or diluted them with amendments to the point of rendering them ineffective. Out of the 26 bills President Macapagal submitted to Congress, only three were enacted into law.

One important achievement of President Macapagal was the passage of the Agricultural Land Reform Code in 1963. This law aimed to solve problems faced by peasant farmers by replacing share tenancy with the leasehold system. In a shared tenancy arrangement, both the landlord and tenant provide land and labor, and afterward, they distribute the harvested produce based on their respective contributions. In contrast, with leasehold tenancy, the tenant cultivates the landlord’s plot of land in exchange for a predetermined sum of money or a portion of the yield, or sometimes both (Ungos, 2020). This issue of land tenure stretches back to earlier times, even before Macapagal’s presidency. It was a complex and deeply rooted problem, intertwined with the socio-economic fabric of the Philippines. The Huk rebellion, for example, had its roots in part due to discontent with land tenure arrangements.

The Philippines during this time also relied heavily on support and help from the US for its economic development. This made the country dependent on American aid. Even though the Macapagal administration had a plan to improve the economy, it could not be put into action successfully as the economy was struggling because people were buying a lot of foreign products. The people also had mixed feelings about trying to develop the country in a more independent way (Tan, 2008).

President Macapagal faced significant challenges from affluent families who engaged in tax evasion and propagated negative narratives about his character and his administration. They managed to evade the administration’s reforms and used their connections to undermine the president’s efforts. He vowed to pursue tax evaders, particularly the wealthy families who were costing the treasury millions of taxpayers’ money annually. However, both his actual efforts and his perception of them seemed to only anger these families further. They leveraged their connections to undermine his government. Between 1962 and 1963, they orchestrated a campaign through the Philippine Free Press, consistently publishing articles aimed at defaming his character by labeling him a dictator and shedding light on government corruption. They also spotlighted the extravagant lifestyles of well-to-do government officials, in stark contrast to their fellow citizens struggling in poverty (Nadeu, 2020). In the 1965 election, he and his vice-presidential candidate, Senator Gerardo Roxas were defeated by Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and the latter’s running mate, Fernando Lopez.

Sub-Lesson 7: The Dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

In the 1965 election, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. won the election with a large majority by promising to fight corruption, maintain peace and order, and bring economic progress. Marcos presented himself as a charismatic leader who connected with ordinary people.

Marcos had plans to strengthen the Philippine economy and reduce foreign control. He wanted to develop local industries and establish new trade relationships with socialist countries. He also aimed to make the Philippine armed forces self-reliant to lessen dependence on the US. The First Lady, Imelda Marcos, promoted cultural programs to revive traditional Filipino cultures and reduce foreign influence (Tan, 2008)

However, Marcos faced challenges in implementing his plans, and criticisms eventually emerged. Anti-Marcos and anti-government groups used these uncertainties to gain support from the public. So, Marcos and his government faced the same problems influenced by other powerful countries, just like the leaders before him since 1946. Some dubbed his government “US-Marcos’s fascist dictatorship” (Tan,2008). At the same time, a radical movement of working-class and peasant groups emerged, seeking changes and opposing neocolonialism- this means that even after countries like the Philippines gained their independence, richer nations such as the United States found new ways to control them economically and take their resources. This happened because the old colonial system fell apart after World War II, and the more powerful countries rebuilt their influence in different ways (Watts, 2009). 

Protests and street demonstration pickets became common, especially from the youth and student sectors, and opposition to Marcos grew exponentially. There were also conflicts in the southern part of the country with Muslim separatist groups. In response to the growing political unrest, Marcos declared martial law in 1972, establishing an authoritarian regime that suspended democratic processes until it was officially lifted in 1981. Although the impact of his authoritarian rule continued to have its effects years after the lifting, specifically on the issue of human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and economic stability (X. Chua, personal communication (interview), July 12, 2023).

During this period, cultural expressions such as literature and music became important forms of protest and resistance against American imperialism and the Marcos authoritarian regime.  American imperialism is referred to by Immerman (2010) as the political, economic, and military influence exerted by the United States on other nations, often involving the acquisition of territories, economic dominance, and cultural influence. It is characterized by efforts to expand American power and interests beyond its borders.

The establishment of martial law marked a dark and undemocratic period in Philippine history but dictator Marcos justified the measure as a necessary step to address the serious crisis that threatened the government’s stability. The political unrest according to Tan, (2008) involved communist insurgents, opposition groups, and Muslim separatists. He was ousted in power through a collective uprising of roughly two and a half million Filipino people called the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, 1986, and was then exiled to Hawaii until his death overseas on September 28, 1989.   

List of Activities

Synchronous Activities

Activity 1: Visualizing Independence: Reflections and Discussions

Description: Students will be instructed to listen to an interview conducted by the author with renowned Philippine historian Xiao Chua. The interview focuses on the topic of the challenges of independence during the 3rd Republic in the Philippines. Afterward, students will engage in a 30-minute discussion to share their thoughts on the challenges of independence. They will then create visual representations reflecting their opinions and feelings, followed by a presentation and discussion of their artwork for five minutes each. This activity encourages critical thinking, empathy, and creative expression while exploring the historical and societal implications of the challenges of independence.


  • Listen to the author’s interview with renowned Philippine historian Xiao Chua on his thoughts regarding the topic of “What really was the challenge of Independence during that 3rd Philippine Republic?” Link:
  • After listening to the interview, students will have 30 minutes to discuss their thoughts on the topic of challenges of independence with their classmates.
  • Subsequently, students will present a picture or any visual representation reflecting their opinions or feelings about the challenges of independence, based on the audio interview with Xiao Chua.
  • Each student will be given 5 minutes to discuss in class their visual representation of their thoughts on the challenges of independence.


Activity 2: Voices of Independence: Role-Playing the President

Description: Students will step into the shoes of political leaders during the period of Philippine independence. Each student will be assigned a role and provided with background information, delving into their assigned character’s motivations, experiences, and challenges during that time. Students will research and prepare a script or dialogue that authentically reflects their character’s experiences and perspectives. A synchronous online session will be organized, where students will have the opportunity to perform their role-play scenarios. Each student will be given a designated time to present their role-play, ensuring they stay in character and maintain historical accuracy. Following each performance, students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussions. A debriefing session will be facilitated after all the role-plays, allowing students to reflect on the different perspectives presented and discuss the challenges faced by each character. This activity emphasizes the significance of understanding multiple viewpoints when studying historical events and nurtures empathy, critical thinking, and historical understanding among students.


  • Assign each student a role to portray – a political leader during the period of Philippine independence.
  • Provide the students with background information on their assigned role, including their motivations, experiences, and challenges during that time.
  • Ask the students to research and prepare a short script or dialogue that reflects their character’s experiences and perspectives.
  • Organize a synchronous online session where students can perform their role-play scenarios.
  • Give each student a designated time to present their role-play, ensuring that they stay in character and adhere to historical accuracy.
  • Encourage the students to ask questions and engage in discussions after each role-play performance.
  • Facilitate a debriefing session after all the role-plays, where students can reflect on the different perspectives presented and discuss the challenges faced by each character.
  • Summarize the key takeaways from the activity and emphasize the importance of understanding multiple viewpoints when studying historical events.

Asynchronous Activities

Activity 1: Independence Chronicles through Multimedia

Description: Students will immerse themselves in the period of Philippine independence by assuming the role of a political leader. Assigned by the teacher, students will delve into the assigned role’s background information, gaining insight into their motivations, experiences, and challenges during that time. Students will then research and prepare a script or dialogue that reflects their character’s experiences and perspectives. During a synchronous online session, students will perform their role-plays, aiming for historical accuracy and staying in character. Following each performance, students can engage in discussions and ask questions. The teacher will conduct a debriefing session to reflect on the different perspectives presented and discuss the challenges faced by each character. Through this activity, students will learn the importance of understanding multiple viewpoints when studying historical events, fostering empathy and critical thinking skills.


  • Students will be assigned a role to portray by the teacher – a political leader during the period of Philippine independence.
  • The students should learn about their assigned role by reading the background information provided, including their motivations, experiences, and challenges during that time.
  • Research and prepare a short script or dialogue that reflects the student character’s experiences and perspectives.
  • The teacher will organize a synchronous online session where students will have the opportunity to perform your role-play scenario.
  • The students will be given a designated time to present their role-play, ensure that they stay in character and strive for historical accuracy.
  • After each role-play performance, students are free to ask questions and engage in discussions with their peers.
  • The teacher will conduct a debriefing session after all the role-plays, where the class  can reflect on the different perspectives presented and discuss the challenges faced by each character.
  • Together, as a class the key takeaways shall be summarized from this activity and emphasize the importance of understanding multiple viewpoints when studying historical events.


Activity 2: Multimedia Explorers: Engaging with Independence Challenges

Description:  Students will embark on an exploration of specific challenges or events related to the topic of independence. Through the creation of a multimedia presentation, such as a PowerPoint or video, students will work into their assigned challenge or event, utilizing a variety of multimedia elements to effectively convey their messages. With the guidance of their teachers, students will access relevant resources and adhere to guidelines to ensure their presentations are engaging and visually appealing. Upon submission, the teacher will review the presentations, providing feedback on content, clarity, and creativity. Students are encouraged to engage with their peers’ presentations, leaving comments or questions for further discussion. To facilitate interaction and reflection, the teacher will organize a discussion forum or synchronous session where students can share their thoughts and insights on the challenges of independence based on the presentations viewed. This activity promotes research skills, creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative learning, allowing grade students to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding independence.


  • Each student  will be assigned a specific challenge or event related to the topic of independence.
  • Student’s  task is to create a multimedia presentation, such as a PowerPoint or video, that explores your assigned challenge or event.
  •  In the  presentation, make sure to include relevant information, visuals like images or graphs, and narration or text to explain the significance of the challenge or event.
  • Students shall be creative in  the presentation and use multimedia elements effectively to convey their messages.
  •  Teachers will provide resources and guidelines to help you create an engaging and visually appealing presentation.
  • Students will have a deadline to submit your presentations. You can share them through an online platform or by sharing a link or file.
  • The teacher will review your presentations and provide feedback on the content, clarity, and creativity demonstrated in each presentation.
  • Students are encouraged to take time to watch and engage with their peers’ presentations. Leave comments or questions for further discussion.
  • The teacher will facilitate a discussion forum or synchronous session where students can share your thoughts and insights on the challenges of independence based on the presentations viewed.

Self-Paced Learning (Optional Activities)

Activity 1: Exploring President Ramon Magsaysay: The People’s President?


Description:  Students will engage in a self-paced activity that will help them express their thoughts on President Ramon Magsaysay. They will listen to an interview conducted by the author with renowned Philippine historian Xiao Chua. This activity encourages critical thinking and exploration of historical facts to answer the question: Is President Ramon Magsaysay worthy of the title “The People’s President or the best President”?


  • Listen to the author’s interview with renowned Philippine historian Xiao Chua on his thoughts regarding the topic on Is “President Ramon Magsaysay worthy of the title “The People’s President ?”
  • Link:
  • After listening to the interview, take time to reflect on the question: Is President Ramon Magsaysay worthy of the title “The People’s President or the best President”?
  • Students are encouraged to discuss their thoughts on the topic of challenges of independence with their classmates.
  • Subsequently, students will write a short essay expressing their opinion on whether President Ramon Magsaysay is deserving of the title “The People’s President.


Activity 2: Create a Presidential Brochure 


Students will have the opportunity to design a brochure showcasing the unique features and historical significance of a specific past president of the Philippines discussed in the module. They will conduct research to gather information about the interesting facts about the presidential administration. Students will then use their creativity to design a visually appealing and informative brochure. They can include images, descriptions, maps, and other visuals to engage the audience. This activity promotes research skills, creativity, and effective communication through visual design.


  • Select any Philippine president from 1946 to 1972 
  • Research and gather information about interesting facts about the chosen Philippine president.  
  • Organize the information into different sections, such as “History,” “Campaign,” “Major Achievements,” etc.
  • Create a visually appealing brochure using paper or online tools like Microsoft Word or Google Slides.
  • Include pictures, captions, and interesting facts to engage the reader.
  • Pay attention to the layout, font, and color choices to make your brochure attractive.
  • Once finished, reflect on what you have learned about the country or location and share your brochure with others.

Self-Evaluation Form (Part 2)

Answer the following questions.

  1. Can you identify the key challenges faced by the Philippines during its transition to independence after World War II?



  1. What were some significant policies and decisions made by the different presidents mentioned in the content, and how did they influence the Philippines’ path to independence and economic development?


  1. How do you think the challenges of independence discussed in the content may still be relevant to nations around the world today, and can you provide any modern examples that relate to struggles for independence and economic stability?


| Rubric for Discussions


Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The central theme/idea/argument of the student’s output is focused and supported by evidence which indicates mastery of the content.


The flow of the discussion of the central theme/idea/theme is coherent.


The form and presentation of the central theme/idea is clear, persuasive, polite, and easy to understand.


| Rubric for Written Outputs


Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The central theme/idea of the paper is focused and supported by evidence which indicates mastery of the content.


The flow of the discussion of the central theme/idea is coherent.


The form and presentation of the central theme/idea is clear and easy to understand..


| Rubric for Creative Outputs


Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The artwork clearly presents information, ideas, and/or theme on topic which demonstrates understanding and mastery of the content.


The artwork is meaningful and elicits understanding on the subject.


| References

Abinales, P. N., & Amoroso, D. J. (2017). State and society in the Philippines. Rowman & Littlefield.

Abueva, J. V. (2012). Ramon Magsaysay: “servant leader” with a vision of hope. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and Center for Leadership, Citizenship, and Democracy, NCPAG-UP.

Crandall, R. (2014). Ramón Magsaysay and the Hukbalahap Rebellionin the Philippines, 1946–1956. In America’s Dirty Wars: Irregular Warfare from 1776 to the War on Terror (pp.199-208). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139051606.020

Chua,X. (2023, July 12.) Personal Interview 

De Leon, H. S. (2014). Textbook on the philippine constitution. Rex Book Store.

Encyclopedia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Hukbalahap rebellion. Encyclopædia Britannica.

Fowler, M. R., & Bunck, J. M. (1996). What constitutes the Sovereign State? Review of International Studies, 22(4), 381–404.

Gleeck, L. E. (1993). The third Philippine Republic, 1946-1972. New Day Publ.

McCoy, A. W. (2017). An anarchy of Families State and family in the Philippines. Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Immerman, R. H. (2012). Empire for liberty: A history of American imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz. Princeton University Press.

Nadeau, K. M. (2020). The history of the Philippines. Greenwood Press.

Schirmer, D. B., & Shalom, S. R. (1987). The Philippines reader: A history of colonialism, neocolonialism, dictatorship, and resistance. South End Press.

Shalom, S. R. (1980). Philippine acceptance of the bell trade act of 1946: A study of manipulatory democracy. Pacific Historical Review, 49(3), 499–517.

Steinberg, D. J. (2000). The Philippines: A singular and a plural place, fourth edition. Routledge.

Tan, S. K. (2008). A History of the Philippines. University of the Philippines Press.

Teehankee, J.C. (2002). Electoral Politics in the Philippines.

Ungos , P. I. (2020, January 15). History of agricultural tenancy laws in the Philippines. Paulino Ungos III.

Watts, M. (2009). Neocolonialism. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 360–364.