Philip Taqla was born in Zouk Mikael in the Kessrouan Qada’a in February 1915. He is the son of Habib Taqla and the brother of former minister and MP Salim Taqla.
Philip Taqla enrolled at the Collège des Frères in Jounieh and at the Institute of Aintoura. Later, he pursued studies in law at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut and graduated in 1935 holding a law degree. He began training at Kamil Eddeh’s law firm and worked as Editor-in-Chief of the Syrian-Lebanese magazine Al-Hakem.
Philip Taqla engaged in politics from the age of 30. In March 1945, he was elected as representative of the Mount Lebanon district after the Greek Orthodox seat had become vacant upon the death of his brother Salim. He was re-elected in the same district in 1947. In the parliamentary elections of 1951, he was elected in the Shouf-Aley district and in the Baalbeck district in 1957. He thus spent roughly 12 years in parliamentary life.
His entry to Parliament ushered him into ministerial life as well, and he assumed several ministerial responsibilities, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants.
In 1946, he chaired the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Supply and the Ministry of Post and Telegraph for a short period from April 9 until May 22 (date of resignation of the government), as successor of Sami Solh who had resigned from these two ministries.
He succeeded Minister Hamid Frangieh to the Ministry of National Education and Fine Arts where he served between April 11 and May 22, 1946.
He returned to the Education Ministry and also handled the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Saadi Al-Munla’s government between May 22, 1946 and December 14, 1946 (date of resignation of the government).
Under Riad Solh’s government, Philip Taqla assumed the Ministry of National Economy and that of Post and Telegraph from July 26, 1948 until October 1, 1949 (date of resignation of the government).
In the government formed again by Riad Solh, Taqla re-assumed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants between October 1, 1949 and February 14, 1951 and that of National Economy until October 6, 1949.
Taqla became Minister of both National Economy and Finance under Abdullah Yafi’s government between June 7, 1951 and February 11, 1952.
At the end of Bechara Khoury’s presidential term, Philip Taqla served under Sami Solh’s government as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants between February 11, 1952 and September 9, 1952.
During the presidential term of Camille Chamoun (1952 – 1958), Philip Taqla was kept away from ministerial positions. However, he made a strong come-back under President Fouad Chehab’s term where he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants in Rashid Karami’s government between September 24 and October 14, 1958.
He succeeded Karami to the Ministry of National Economy between October 7, 1959 and May 14, 1960 and also replaced Hussein Ouweini as Minister of Justice.
Taqla held office uninterruptedly between May 14, 1960 and February 20, 1964 as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants in four consecutive governments. He also assumed the ministries of national economy and tourism between May 14, 160 and August 1, 1960.
He returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between April 1 and September 25, 1964 and later between November 8, 1964 and June 2, 1965 and between April 9, 1966 and December 6, 1966.
Taqla spent eight years without assuming any ministerial position until he became once again Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants in Rashid Solh’s government under Suleiman Frangieh’s presidential term. He served from October 31, 1974 until May 23, 1975 shortly after the eruption of the Lebanese Civil War.
He returned to the foreign ministry under Rashi dKarami’s government between July 1, 1975 and June 16, 1976. He served simultaneously as Minister of National Education and Minister of Public Planning.
Despite the numerous positions he held over the decades and his handling of three ministerial portfolios at the same time, Philip Taqla was dismissed from all three positions by virtue of Decree no. 10913 issued by President Suleiman Frangieh on June 16, 1976, whereby ‘he considered Minister Philip Taqla as resigned, for he had ceased to carry out his functions a long time ago’ and instead, President Camille Chamoun was designated to take over. The decree, which was opposed by PM Rashid Karami, was greeted with support by the Higher Greek Catholic Council, as a prelude to appointing a Catholic successor to Taqla, who while the conditions in Lebanon necessitated his presence, had actually been in France for a long time. The dismissal makes Taqla the second minister to be removed from office after Minister Henry Eddeh in 1972.
Thus, Philip Taqla spent eleven years holding different ministerial positions, including eight years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants.
Governor of Banque du Liban
The Code of Money and Credit was issued in August 1963 stipulating the establishment of Banque du Liban. In April 1964, Philip Taqla was appointed first ever Governor of Banque du Liban. He remained in office until his resignation on June 16, 1976 ceding office to the Director General of the Presidency of the Republic Elias Sarkis who became President in September 1976.
Philip Taqla was appointed Ambassador of Lebanon to France between 1968 and 1972.
He married Edith George Maalouf and had two sons with her, Habib (b.1949) and George (b.1951).
He died on July 10, 2006 at the age of 91.
Philip Taqla could not make it to the Presidency of the Republic as he was not Maronite. Yet, he devoted 25 years of his life to ministerial and parliamentary posts and often juggled several ministerial portfolios under the same government.