Philippine Commission

The Philippine Commission was the name of two bodies, both appointed by the President of the United States, to assist with governing the Philippines.

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

The first Philippine Commission was appointed by President William McKinley on January 20, 1899 to make recommendations.

The second Philippine Commission, also known as the Taft Commission, was a body appointed by the President to exercise legislative and limited executive powers in the Philippines. It was first appointed by President McKinley in 1900 under his executive authority. The Philippine Organic Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1902; this enshrined into law the Commission's legislative and executive authority. As stipulated in the Philippine Organic Act, the bicameral Philippine Legislature was established in 1907, with the Commission as the upper house and the elected Philippine Assembly acting as lower house. The Jones Act of 1916 ended the Commission, replacing it with an elected Philippine Senate as the Legislature's upper house.

First Philippine Commission

On March 16,1900 President McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission (the Schurman Commission),[1] a five-person group headed by Dr. Jacob Schurman, president of Cornell University, to investigate conditions in the islands and make recommendations. In the report that they issued to the president the following year, the commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence; they declared, however, that the Philippines was not ready for it. Specific recommendations included the establishment of civilian government as rapidly as possible (the American chief executive in the islands at that time was the military governor), including establishment of a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.[2]

Second Philippine Commission

Philippine Commission
(or the Second Philippine Commission)

upper house
of the Philippine Legislature
FoundedMarch 16, 1900 (1900-03-16)[3]
DisbandedOctober 3, 1916 (1916-10-03)
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byPhilippine Senate

From Philippines: A Country Study by Ronald E. Dolan:[4]

The Second Philippine Commission (the Taft Commission), appointed by McKinley on March 16, 1900,[3] and headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. Between September 1900 and August 1902, it issued 499 laws. A judicial system was established, including a Supreme Court, and a legal code was drawn up to replace antiquated Spanish ordinances. A civil service was organized. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. The municipal board members were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining municipal properties, and undertaking necessary construction projects; they also elected provincial governors."[2] On 4 July 1901, Taft became governor of a civil administration for the Philippines.[5] This regime, called the Insular Government, administered the country until 1935.

"The Philippine Organic Act of July 1902 stipulated that a Philippine Legislature would be established composed of a lower house, the Philippine Assembly, which would be popularly elected, and an upper house consisting of the Philippine Commission. The two houses would share legislative powers, although the upper house alone would pass laws relating to the Moros and other non-Christian peoples. The act also provided for extending the United States Bill of Rights to Filipinos and sending two Filipino resident commissioners to Washington to attend sessions of the United States Congress. In July 1907, the first elections for the assembly were held, and the legislature opened its first session on October 16, 1907."[2][6]



The body was led by the Governor-General of the Philippines:

Other members

Secretary of Finance and Justice:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of Finance and Justice
Henry Clay IdeSeptember 1, 1901September 24, 1906
James Francis SmithSeptember 25, 1906June 30, 1908
Gregorio S. AranetaJuly 1, 1908October 30, 1913
Victorino MapaNovember 1, 1913January 14, 1917

Secretary of the Interior:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of the Interior
Dean C. WorcesterSeptember 1, 19011913
Winfred Denson19131916

Secretary of Commerce and Police:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of Commerce and Police
Luke Edward WrightSeptember 1, 1901February 1, 1904
William Cameron ForbesFebruary 1, 19041909
Charles Elliott19101913
Clinton L. Riggs19131915
Eugene Reed19151916

Secretary of Public Instruction:

Name Term started Term finished
Secretaries of Public Instruction
Bernard MosesSeptember 1, 19011902
James Francis Smith1902September 28, 1906
W. Morgan ShusterSeptember 28, 19061909
Newton W. Gilbert19091915
Henderson Martin19151916

Philippine Members (1901–1909):

Name Term started Term finished
Philippine Members of the Philippine Commission
Benito LegardaSeptember 1, 1901December 21, 1907
Trinidad H. Pardo de TaveraSeptember 1, 1901March 1, 1909
Jose Ruiz de LuzuriagaSeptember 1, 19011913

Philippine Members (1909–1913):

Name Term started Term finished
Philippine Members of the Philippine Commission
Rafael PalmaDecember 21, 19071913
Juan SumulongMarch 1, 19091913
Jose Ruiz de LuzuriagaSeptember 1, 19011913
Gregorio S. Araneta19091913

See also

References and notes

  1. Halili 2004, p. 174
  2. "Philippines: United States Rule". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  3. Halili 2004, p. 179
  4. Dolan ed., Ronald E. (1991). "United States Rule". Philippines: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Federal Research Division. Retrieved April 26, 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. Taft, William (1908). "Inaugural Address as civil Governor of the Philippines". Present Day Problems. Ayer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8369-0922-7.
  6. "The Philippine Bill of July 1902". online digital library. July 1, 1902. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved 2008-01-07.


Further reading

  • Philippine House of Representatives Congressional Library
  • The Presidents of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines. ISBN 971-8832-24-6.
  • Pobre, Cesar P. Philippine Legislature 100 Years. ISBN 971-92245-0-9.
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