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August 19: Manuel Luis Quezón Day

Manuel L. Quezon was President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines for two terms, from November 15, 1935 – August 1, 1944. He was born on August 19, 1878, a date declared an annual special working holiday throughout the country and a special non-working public holiday in the provinces of Quezon and Aurora, and in Quezon City by Republic Act No. 6741, signed into law by President Corazon Aquino in 1989.

Manuel Luis Quezón (August 19, 1878 – August 1, 1944) was a Filipino statesman, soldier, and politician who served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the entire Philippines (as opposed to the government of previous Philippine states), and is considered to have been the second president of the Philippines, after Emilio Aguinaldo (1897–1901). Quezon was a Spanish Filipino, with both his parents being Filipino mestizos.

In the Philippines, Quezon was the first Senate president elected to the presidency, the first president elected through a national election, and the first incumbent to secure re-election (for a partial second term, later extended, due to amendments to the 1935 Constitution). For pushing Commonwealth Act No. 184 that established the National Language Institute and a consequent Philippine national language, Quezon has been tagged as his country's "Father of the National Language".

During his presidency, Quezon tackled the problem of landless peasants in the countryside. His other major decisions include the reorganization of the islands' military defense, approval of a recommendation for government reorganization, the promotion of settlement and development in Mindanao, dealing with the foreign stranglehold on Philippine trade and commerce, proposals for land reform, and opposing graft and corruption within the government. He established an exiled government in the U.S. with the outbreak of the war and the threat of Japanese invasion.

It was during his exile in the U.S. that he died of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, New York. He was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery until the end of World War II, when his remains were moved to Manila. His final resting place is the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

In 2015, the Board of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation approved a posthumously bestowal of the Wallenberg Medal upon President Quezon and to the people of the Philippines for having reached-out, between 1937 and 1941, to the victims of the Holocaust. President Benigno Aquino III, and María Zeneida Quezon Avanceña, who is 94 years old and the daughter of the former President, were duly informed about this recognition.

Watch @GovPH's 'Pangulong Manuel L. Quezon' (Tagalog with English subtitles)

Watch @GovPH's 'President Manuel L. Quezon' (in English)

The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) and the Presidential Museum and Library (PML) in partnership with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), launch a short documentary film that presents the life and times of Manuel L. Quezon, the second President of the Philippines and the first President of the Commonwealth. It also features a short history of the Quezon Memorial Shrine and the museum. This film was created to commemorate the 137th birth anniversary of President Quezon and the launch of the modernized Museo ni Manuel L. Quezon. Visit the Quezon Memorial Shrine and Museum online: www.gov.ph/quezonmemorial.

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