Benigno Ramos
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum

Benigno Ramos 1941
Portrait of Benigno Ramos

1st President of the Republic of the Philippines
April 24, 1948 – July 4, 1967

Predecessor Position established
Successor Diosdado Macapagal

Party President of the Philippine Nationalist Party
September 1, 1930 – July 4, 1967

Predecessor Position established
Successor Diosdado Macapagal
Born February 10, 1892
Bulakan, Bulacan, the Spanish East Indies
Died July 4, 1967
Tokyo, Republic of Japan
Political Party Philippine Nationalist Party
Religion Christianity (Roman Catholicism → Methodism)
Benigno Ramos y Pantaleón (February 10, 1892 – July 4, 1967) was a Pilipino writer, poet, politician and independence activist who served as the President of the Republic of the Philippines from 1948 to 1967. Ramos was also one of the founders of the Philippine Nationalist Party, the ruling party of the Philippines, as well as its long-time leader who served as the Party President for 37 years from 1930 until his death in 1967.

A native of Bulacan, Ramos started his career as poet, school teacher and local newspaper editor. During his youth, he witnessed the collapse of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines which soon replaced by the Japanese. Ramos had joined Emilio Aguinaldo's secret society, Insular Society (Sociedad Insular; Kalipunan ng Kapuluan), in 1914 and worked for anti-Spanish activities throughout World War I.

Ramos’s nationalist activities caused him trouble with the Spanish authority which put him into jail in 1915. After the South Pacific Mandate was established by the League of Nations over the Philippines, Ramos was released in 1916 and then worked as clerk for the Bulacan city government. In 1919, he participated on the March 17th Movement and again was jailed for two months by the Japanese.

As a poet, Ramos became the member of the Venerable Writers’ Society (Sociedad de Escritores Venerables, SEV; Kalipunan ng mga Kagalang-galangang Manunulat, KKM), an associate organization of the Sociedad. With the support of the SI-SEV, Ramos was elected to the Bulacan Municipal Council in 1921. Known as the “Bard from Bulacan” (Manunulâ sa Bulakan), Ramos established himself as an influential orator and amassed a small but solid following of political admirers by speaking at party functions in Manila and Bulacan.

In 1924, he acquainted with and was financially supported by the radical faction of the Japanese Army in Manila. Ramos was seen as as a clean and honest personality in contrast with other corrupt local bureaucrats and politicians. By the late of 1920s, his radicalism and rebelliousness targeted his own party. In 1927, Ramos denounced the Society have been acting on the interest of the azucaristas (owners of large sugar plantations). His political zeal alienated him from the leadership of the Society. In December 1927, Ramos and several revolutionary-minded members of Insular Society met in Malolos to found the Nationalist Insular Society (Sociedad Insular Nacionalista).

On September 1, 1930, the Nacionalista was transformed into the All-Philippine Nationalist Party (Partido Nasyonalista sa Pilipinas). As the party’s President (Pinuno, Tagalog for "leader"), Ramos led a vigorous campaign for complete and immediate independence of the Philippines. He took a political tour in Luzon, especially in its rural areas, between 1930 and 1931, and delivered fiery nationalist speeches in vernacular Tagalog, for which he gained admiration from the locals. The new party quickly gained support among rural population and labour unions in Central Luzon and Greater Manila. Ramos was elected to the Central Advisory Council in 1931 along with five other PNP deputies.

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