Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jorge B. Vargas on Stamps

Jorge B. Vargas (August 24, 1890 – February 22, 1980) was a lawyer and youth advocate born in Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. He graduated valedictorian from Bacolod High School in 1909 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1911 and a Bachelor of Law degree with honors in 1914, both from the University of the Philippines. He was a founding member of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (now the Philippine Olympic Committee) in 1911 and served in its Executive Committee in 1918. He served as its second Chairman from 1935 to 1955. He was also the first Filipino member of the International Olympic Committee.

After being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1914, he was appointed as law clerk in the Philippine Commission. He quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to the position of Chief Clerk of the Department of the Interior in 1917.

In 1918 he served as the legislative secretary to Speaker Sergio Osmeña of the House of Representatives and in 1919 was appointed by President Manuel L. Quezon as his Executive Secretary, becoming the first in the country to serve in such a position.

Vargas was designated by Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon as mayor of the Greater Manila area in 1941. His responsibilities included administering the "open city" upon the arrival of occupational troops of the Imperial Japanese Army on January 2, 1942.

By 1942, Vargas became chairman of the Japanese-sponsored Philippine Executive Commission. During the collaborationist Second Philippine Republic, he was once asked by the Japanese to assume the Presidency, but he declined. He instead served as the regime's Ambassador to Japan. In that position, he was quoted shortly before Japanese troops were driven from Manila as stating that "we know Japan is destined for sure victory and prosperity for ages to come." Vargas served as Chairman of the National Planning Commission from 1946–1954 and was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines from 1961-1965. In 1960, the Republic of the Philippines conferred on him the Legion of Honor with the rank of Commander.

Vargas’ involvement with Scouting started in 1935 when he became a member of the executive board of the Philippine Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Together with other Philippine Scouting advocates he became one of the charter members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in 1936.

Upon the death of Manuel Camus in 1949 he was unanimously chosen by the National Executive Board to serve as the BSP's President and Chief Scout. He served the position of National President until 1961. He became a member of the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1951 to 1957.

Vargas was awarded the Bronze Wolf in 1959 and received other awards including the Silver Tamaraw (Philippines), Silver Fox (Canada), Silver Ibex (Austria), Silver Wolf (UK), and the White Eagle (Japan). He also became the first recipient of the Tanglaw ng Kabataan (Light of the Youth) Award of the BSP in 1961.

Date of Issue: June 3,1991