The Philippine-American War having for all intents and purposes ended in the Province of Batangas in April 1902 with the surrender of General Miguel Malvar, the Americans set about returning Batangas to civil governance instead of military rule as used to be the case during the war. Among the acts1 of the Philippine Commission was to give the province some leeway in the payment of taxes, in this particular case land taxes.
In truth, the desperate conditions in Batangas were not only caused by the war but the concentration of the province’s citizens in camps as ordered by US Army General J. Franklin Bell; a prolonged drought; a rinderpest epidemic which killed cattle across the province; and locust infestations. Act No. 457 was, in fact, merely a practical means acknowledging the fact that the citizens of the province were in no capacity to pay any sort of taxes.
Below are the contents of the said act:
AN ACT providing for the exemption of the lands in the Province of Batangas from payment of the and tax for the year nineteen hundred and two, and extending the date for thc appraisement and assessment of land in said province for one year.
By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Commission, that:
SECTION 1. In view of the depressed conditions prevailing in the Province of Batangas, due to its having been recently subjected to severe losses by reason of the war, the collection of the land tax provided by “The Municipa1 Code” and “The Provincial Government Act” is hereby suspended in said province for the year nineteen hundred and two.
SEC. 2. The date prescribed by section ﬁfty-two of “The Municipal Code” for the appraisement and assessment of lands for taxation purposes is hereby postponed in the Province of Batangas for the period of one year.
SEC. 3. The public good requiring the speedy enactment of this bill, the passage of the same is hereby expedited in accordance with section two of “An Act prescribing the order of procedure by the Commission in the enactment of laws,” passed September twenty-sixth, nineteen hundred.
SEC. 4. This act shall take effect on its passage.
Enacted, September 11, 1902.