OSMENA ON CARPENTER

The inauguration of the Philippine Assembly, the initial national legislative body, on October 16, 1907, was a major step forward in the American occupation’s program of education for democracy. The first American Civil Governor of the islands, William Howard Taft, traveled from Washington, DC, to Manila to participate in the event as Secretary of War. Sergio Osmeña, the Governor of the Province of Cebu, was elected Speaker of the Assembly, and President of the Commonwealth, 1944–1946.

At the Golden Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Assembly, October 16, 1957, Osmena gave the commemorative address, “THE PHILIPPINE ASSEMBLY: AN INSTRUMENT OF HUMAN LIBERATION.” Among his remarks, Osmena said “I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the splendid work of the late Frank W. Carpenter, under whose guidance many of our early technical men were trained and certainly deserves the title of ‘mentor of the Philippines’ first Filipino provincial treasurers.’”

Among the Provincial Treasurers Carpenter worked with was Lorenzo Palileo who served as Treasurer of Cotabato when Carpenter was Governor of the Dept. of Mindanao and Sulu. Carpenter said of Palileo, “The greatest thing in the world, especially in a young country such as the Philippines, is the discovery and development of men.”

Upon the reorganization of the Insular Government, Nov 1, 1905, the administrative control of provincial treasurers was transferred from the Bureau of the Insular Treasury to the Executive Secretary where Carpenter was assigned the supervisory control of provincial treasures and financial operations of provincial governments. Miguel Unson became the first Filipino Provincial Treasurer, in 1907 in Isabela, and Catalino Lavadia in Pganasinan, 1908. In his “Implementing the ‘New Order’” Michael Cullinane analyzed data for the Filipinization of Provincial Officers during the Taft era. Treasurers: 1906, 0; 1907, 1; 1908, 5; 1909, 7; 1910, 10; 1911, 11; 1912, 11; 1913, 13.

Not just provincial officials, nor indeed Filipinos turned to Carpenter’s mentoring. Arriving in 1906, American George A, Malcolm rose to play an important role in the development of the legal system of the Islands. In several works he acknowledges his gratitude to Carpenter. In his autobiography he notes Carpenter’s inclination, owing him a debt of gratitude. He was as much interested in Malcolm’s welfare as though he had important political or family influence. Carpenter took time to perform relatively inconsequential acts for the needy young man. In effect, Carpenter became the sympathetic tutor for him, Malcolm wrote, as he was for inexperienced Filipino officeholders.

Carpenter’s practice of mentoring was established from his beginning in 1902 at the Executive Bureau, and written into policy. In the Report of the Philippine Commission for 1904, Carpenter outlined the reorganization permitting financial retrenchment. He wrote of employees of the Bureau,
It is the duty of every employee having the immediate supervision and direction of subordinates to instruct and prepare each of the latter to fill the position next higher than that he holds, and any official or employee who fails to pursue conscientiously this course of imparting and receiving instructions should be required to seek employment elsewhere than in the government service. In this way only — by forming a competent personnel from the local supply — may the government hope to escape the heavy expense occasioned by reliance upon the large proportion of imported employees at present utilized for nontechnical positions

In 1937 Carpenter received an annual annuity from the US federal government. Applying to Congressman Richard B Wigglesworth, Carpenter outlined the reasons the government might consider granting an annuity. After listing several actions which might attract the interest of House and Senate, he gave what we may consider his legacy:

“From the beginning of my service in the Philippines in the expectation that the United States might withdraw from the islands, I consistently pursued the objective of developing competent, loyal native employees and officials according to American theory of good government and justice.”

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