FFE Magazine

Diosdado P. Macapagal

Image from the Presidential Museum & Library

9th President of the Philippines

Term of Office: December 30, 1961 – December 30, 1965

Vice President: Emmanuel Pelaez

Birth: September 28, 1910

Place: Lubao, Pampanga

Death: April 21, 1997

Spouse: Purita de la Rosa ; Evangelina Macaraeg


(by Purita de la Rosa)
Pampanga Vice Governor Cielo Macapagal-Salgado
Arturo Macapagal
(by Evangelina Macaraeg)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Diosdado Macapagal Jr.

Filipino reformist president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Best known as the “Champion of the Common Man.”

He was born in Barrio San Nicolas, Lubao, Pampanga, on September 28, 1910. His parents are Urbano Macapagal and Romana Pangan, their family was a middle class and a law abiding citizen, Macapagal pursue his studies in order to reach his goal in the future.

Nevertheless, Macapagal finish his elementary at the Lubao Elementary School, he received an honor of being the valedictorian and in 1929 in the Pampanga High School for his secondary course, he is the salutatorian.

He entered Philippine Law School to get his law degree.In this law school he become well-known as the best orator and debater. After two years he transferred to the University of Sto. Tomas.

After receiving his law degree, Macapagal was admitted to the bar in 1936. During World War II, he practiced law in Manila and aided the anti-Japanese resistance. After the war he worked in a law firm and in 1948 served as second secretary to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. The following year was elected to a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives, serving until 1956. During this time he was Philippine representative to the United Nations General Assembly three times. From 1957 to1961, Macapagal was a member of the Liberal Party and vice president under Nacionalista President Carlos P. Garcia. In the 1961 elections, however he ran against former president Carlos P. Garcia forging a coalition of the Liberal and progressive parties and making a crusade against corruption a principal element of his platform. He was elected by a wide margin.

While president, Diosdado Macapagal worked to suppress graft and corruption and to stimulate the Philippine economy. He placed the Peso in the free currency-exchange market, encouraged wealthiest families, which cost the treasury millions of pesos yearly. His reforms, however, were crippled by a House Representatives and Senate dominated by the Nacionalistas, and he was defeated in the 1965 elections by Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Macapagal’s administration (1961 – 1965) is best remembered for resetting the date of the celebration of Philippine Independence Day – from July 4 when the U.S. turned over the reins of government in 1946 to the more correct date of June 12 when Aguinaldo declared independence in 1898.

In 1972 he chaired the convention that drafted the 1973 constitution only to question in 1981 the validity of its ratification. In 1979 he organized the National Union for Liberation as an opposition party to the Marcos regime. He had two children from first wife Purita dela Rosa (deceased); Maria Cielo and Arturo. For his second wife Doña Evangeline Macaraeg Macapagal, their children are Maria Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a winner in the 1995 senatorial race and Diosdado Macapagal Jr. who served the government under Corazon’s administration.

As of this writing (February 1996) Macapagal is still alive and a regular writer/columnist in a leading newspaper. In his retirement, although he still heartily and devoted a good part of his time to reading and writing.

The good president always remembered those past days serving his country with love and honor with peace in his heart.

(By Charles Keng / The Presidents, Republic of the Philippines by Rheno A. Velasco. 1996)



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