The Heritage Town

Antonio De Las Alas

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Antonio De Las Alas was a hardworking, honest, sincere Taaleño of many eminent honors. Gifted with a high level of intelligence, he obtained his L.L.B. from Indiana University and his L.L.M. (cum laude) from Yale University. In 1920, Governor General Francis Burton Harrison appointed him Chief of the Executive Bureau. Shortly thereafter, he became Secretary of Interior and Acting Secretary of Justice. He served eleven years in Congress and rose to Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Governor General Theodore Roosevelt appointed him Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Antonio De Las Alas initiated the development of hydraulic power in the Philippines, facilitated in the establishment of irrigation systems, and was especially active in the construction of roads and bridges. As Secretary of Finance, he was able to increase the income from taxes through a more honest and efficient system. As chairman of the National Economic Council, he created the NARIC to study and solve the rice crisis. He was also made Chairman of the National Development Company, where he developed business enterprises that private entrepreneurs were unable to undertake, one project being the establishment of a textile mill.

After thirty years of public service, he went into private business and joined various large commercial enterprises. In 1941, he became Senator of the Philippines, was the Minister of Finance of Laurel, and was one of the members which negotiated the Laurel Langley Trade Pact in 1954. For twelve years, Antonio De Las Alas dedicated himself to the quality of health, physique, and sportsmanship among youths as the President of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation and the National Olympic Committee.

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