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August 7, 1901, Manila Became a Chartered City

On August 7, 1901, the City of Manila was incorporated by virtue of Act 183 of the Second Philippine Commission (known as the Taft Commission, appointed by U.S. President William McKinley) which was passed on July 31, 1901. Act No. 183 is also known as the City Charter of Manila. Brigadier-General George W. Davis, the last provost-marshall of Manila, drafted the Charter. The Manila Charter was patterned after the city government of Columbia in the United States. Thus, calls it the “Ameracanization of Manila.”

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Section 4 of the Manila Charter states that, a Municipal Board must be

composed of three members (of which one would become the president of the board or city mayor) and a secretary, all appointed by the Civil Governor, was placed in charge of the city. Arsenio Cruz Herrera, a pro-American lawyer who had previously represented Manila at the Malolos Congress and became Director of Public Instruction under the Malolos Republic, was appointed as the first Mayor of Manila by William Howard Taft, the first Civil Governor. The rest of the Municipal board was American: Barry Baldwin and William Tutherly, with A.L.B. Davies as secretary.

The Evolution of Manila (

Under Act No. 183 , Intramuros was no longer the capital city of the Philippines. It also absorbed the suburbs in order to create a larger City of Manila.

The districts of the New Manila were Paco, Malate, Ermita, Intramuros (in the pre-war period, identified by the initials “W.C.” or “Walled City”), Sampaloc, Quiapo, Santa Cruz, Binondo, San Nicolas, and Tondo; Santa Ana and were added in 1902. Under Section 65 of the Manila Charter, each of the districts had one representative appointed by the Civil Governor to serve in the Advisory Board, whose duty it was to bring “special needs of the city” to the attention of the Municipal Board. However, relations between the Advisory Board and the Municipal Board were (more often than not) tense, because the former was more inclined to advance local interests while the latter was pro-American.

The Evolution of Manila (


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