Friday, December 18, 2009

The American Turnover of Olongapo to the Philippines

The development of Subic Bay in Olongapo as an American Naval Station began after the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States for $20 million.

At the end of the Second World War, the U.S. spent more than $170 million just to make Subic the homeport of the U.S. Seventh Fleet that became Asia's largest American installation.

As the years went by, a lot of Filipinos felt the need to retrieve Olongapo from US rule to the Philippine government. This led to the creation of the Philippine and United States Olongapo Committees that met in August 1959 to tackle the different issues concerning the turnover.

On December 7, 1959, the United States government relinquished Olongapo to the Philippine Government after holding on for 61 years. Charge d’ Affairs George M. Abbot signed for the United States while Secretary of Foreign Affairs Felixberto Serrano signed for the Philippines.

That same day, President Carlos P. Garcia came out with Executive Order No. 366 that calls for the creation of the Municipality of Olongapo in the Province of Zambales.

This historic turnover event is recreated in a se-tenant stamp issue by the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) released on December 7, 2009.

The first stamp features the turnover ceremony with the Official Seals of the Government of the Philippines and the United States of America. The second stamp shows the Parade of Philippine and American Flags and the official seals of the two countries.

I have featured above the official first day cover of this commemorative issue.

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