What Are Parity Rights?

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Parity rights granted U.S. citizens and Filipinos equal rights in regard to using the natural resources of the Philippines. These parity rights were created through an amendment of the Philippine Constitution, called the Parity Amendment, which was voted through on March 11, 1947.

Of the 548,786 total votes, 432,833 (78.89 percent) voted yes on the amendment, and 115,853 (21.11 percent) voted no. The amendment was part of the Bell Trade Act, also known as the Philippine Trade Act of 1946, passed by the United States. The Act was designed to set conditions on the Philippine economy and link it to the U.S. economy. It set up eight years of free trade between the nations, after which tariffs were to be applied over the next 20 years.

The Act was supported by many Filipino politicians because of the economic benefits it brought while the Philippines recovered from World War II. The United States agreed to pay $800,000,000 to the Philippines provided the Bell Trade Act was ratified. The Parity Act was unpopular amongst Filipino citizens because the Philippine Constitution stated that the Philippines’ natural resources were only for Filipinos. In 1956, the Bell Trade Act was superseded by the Laurel-Langley Agreement, an agreement that benefited Filipino citizens more.