Today in Philippine History, February 1, 1904, Luke E. Wright was inaugurated as Civil Governor of the Philippines

Thursday February 21, 2013 ()

On February 1, 1904, Luke E. Wright was inaugurated as Civil Governor of the Philippines following Howard Taft's departure.

In his inaugural address Mr. Wright dwelt upon the need of industrial development and of transportation, especially railroads, and urged that encouragement and friendliness be shown to all who desired to enter the islands for their legitimate development. The policy, he said, should be one of "equal opportunities to all".

Luke Edward Wright
(Luke Edward Wright)

During his term, Manila was improved. The port of Manila which for centuries remained unprotected from heavy winds and typhoons was redesigned by building an immense breakwater southward from the mouth of the Pasig, behind which the sea was deepened. Steel and concrete piers were constructed where the largest ocean craft in the Pacific can be docked.

The water system was also enlarged and improved by damming the Marikina river.

The first electric car service was opened in 1904 under Mr. Wright's watch.

Mr. Wright's administration on the political side was less impressive. A considerable body of irreconcilable Filipino opposition still existed.

Early in 1903 the Filipinos who had been taken as prisoners to Guam at the close of 1900, were pardoned and returned. The most prominent were Apolinario Mabini and Artemio Ricarte. Mabini took the oath of allegiance, landed in Manila, and a few weeks later fell a victim to cholera. Ricarte, refused to take the oath, and was sent to Hongkong. He returned secretly to Manila shortly after and raised a revolt in Rizal province.

Violent disorders in Samar became prevalent because of the pulahanes attacks.

A number of other "outlaws" in Cavite and Batangas defied the constabulary. Macario Sakay, Julian Montalon, Cornelio Felizardo, and a number more, were perhaps the most desperate and cruel leaders in the history of the insurrection. They had arms and they increased their followers by recruiting whenever a raid was made. By terrorism, assassination, and robbery they kept the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, and Batangas in a constant state of disorder and alarm.

On February 6, 1905, by Act of the US Congress, the "Cooper Act", the designation of the chief executive of the Philippines was changed from Civil Governor to that of Governor-General. This made Mr. Wright the first US Governor-General of the Philippines.

His term ended on April 1, 1906.

He served as the first full United States Ambassador to Japan on the same year he left the Philippines.

Reference:
History of the Philippines, Pages 303-314, David P. Barrows, Chicago, 1925.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons


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