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.

The first Philippine Commission, also known as the Schurman Commission, was appointed by President William McKinley on January 20, 1899 as a recommendatory body.

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 CommissionEdit

On January 20, 1899, 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 CommissionEdit

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 bySchurman Commission
Succeeded byPhilippine Senate

From Philippines: A Country Study by Ronald E. Dolan:[2]

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."[4] On July 4, 1901, Taft became governor of a civil administration for the Philippines.[5] This regime, called the Insular Government, administered the country until 1935.

Marker, Session Road

"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 it opened its first session on October 16, 1907."[4][6]



The body was led by the governor-general of the Philippines:

Other membersEdit

Secretary of finance and justice:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of finance and justice
Henry Clay Ide September 1, 1901 September 24, 1906
James Francis Smith September 25, 1906 June 30, 1908
Gregorio S. Araneta July 1, 1908 October 30, 1913
Victorino Mapa November 1, 1913 January 14, 1917

Secretary of the Interior:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of the Interior
Dean C. Worcester September 1, 1901 1913
Winfred Denson 1913 1916

Secretary of commerce and police:

Name Month started Month finished
Secretaries of commerce and police
Luke Edward Wright September 1, 1901 February 1, 1904
William Cameron Forbes February 1, 1904 1909
Charles Elliott 1910 1913
Clinton L. Riggs 1913 1915
Eugene Reed 1915 1916

Secretary of public instruction:

Name Term started Term finished
Secretaries of public instruction
Bernard Moses September 1, 1901 1902
James Francis Smith 1902 September 28, 1906
W. Morgan Shuster September 28, 1906 1909
Newton W. Gilbert 1909 1915
Henderson Martin 1915 1916

Philippine members (1901–1909):

Name Term started Term finished
Philippine members of the Philippine Commission
Benito Legarda September 1, 1901 December 21, 1907
Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera September 1, 1901 March 1, 1909
Jose Ruiz de Luzuriaga September 1, 1901 1913

Philippine members (1909–1913):

Name Term started Term finished
Philippine members of the Philippine Commission
Rafael Palma December 21, 1907 1913
Juan Sumulong March 1, 1909 1913
Jose Ruiz de Luzuriaga September 1, 1901 1913
Gregorio S. Araneta 1909 1913

See alsoEdit

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ Halili 2004, p. 174.
  2. ^ a b Dolan 1993.
  3. ^ a b Halili 2004, p. 179.
  4. ^ a b Dolan 1993, p. 28.
  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". July 1, 1902. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2008.


  • Dolan, Ronald E., ed. (1993). Philippines: A Country Study (4th ed.). Washington, D.C.: GPO for the Library of Congress. ISBN 0-8444-0748-8.
  • Halili, Christine N. (2004). Philippine History. Manila: Rex Book Store. ISBN 978-971-23-3934-9.

Further readingEdit

  • Paras, Corazon L. (2000). The Presidents of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines. Quezon City: Giraffe Books. ISBN 971-8832-24-6.
  • Pobre, Cesar P. (2000). Philippine Legislature: 100 Years. Quezon City: Philippine Historical Association. ISBN 971-92245-0-9.

External linksEdit

  • "List of Senators". Senate of the Philippines. Archived from the original on February 7, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  • "The LAWPHiL Project – Philippine Laws and Jurisprudence Databank". Arellano Law Foundation. Archived from the original on November 29, 2001. Retrieved September 16, 2006. NB: very little material (if any) actually online
  • "Acts of the Philippine Commission". Retrieved September 13, 2010.NB: very little material (if any) actually online