Magsaysay, Ramón rämōn´ mägsī´sī [key], 1907–57, president of the Philippines (1953–57). When the Japanese invaded the Philippines (1941), he joined the army and was commissioned a captain. A guerrilla leader throughout the Japanese occupation, he was named (1945) military governor of Zambales province by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. While serving in the Philippine Congress (1946–50), Magsaysay presented a plan for subduing the Hukbalahap (Huk) guerrillas, which led to his appointment as secretary of national defense by President Elpidio Quirino . He reformed the army, captured the top members of the Communist party, and fought the Huks, combining strong military action with a land resettlement program. After a dispute with President Quirino, however, Magsaysay resigned from his post (1953). He left the ruling Liberal party and ran for president on the Nationalist ticket, defeating Quirino by a large majority. As president, he cooperated closely with the United States and pursued a program of land and governmental reform. He was favored to win reelection to a second term, but died in an airplane crash (1957) before the voting began.
See biographies by C. Quirino (2d. ed. 1964) and M. M. Gray (1965).
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