VP Binay leads 120th birthday rites for late President Quirino in Vigan
By Freddie G. Lazaro
Vigan City (18 November) -- Vice President Jejomar Binay led local officials, employees and residents in the province of Ilocos Sur in celebrating the 120th birth anniversary of the late President Elpidio R. Quirino in a simple rites held infront of the provincial capitol last Tuesday here.
Highlighting the event were the celebration of a Holy Mass at the St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral; the unveiling and the turned-over rites of the Elpidio Quirino Historical Marker installed infront of the foot of Quirino Monument; the wreathlaying and floral offering at the foot of the statue of the late president and the soft launching of the President Elpidio R. Quirino Memorabilia Hall.
Joining officials and prominent personalities with Vice President Binay in the celebration were Vice Governor Deogracias Victor Savellano, Vigan City Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina, Director Emelita V. Almosara of the National Historical Commision of the Philippines; and the late President's surviving siblings Cory Quirino, Ruby Gonzales Meyey, Luis Manuel Elpidio Quirino Gonzales and Eddie Quirino.
In his message, Vice President Binay paid tribute to late President Quirino as he mentioned the heroic sacrifice of the late president for the sake of the welfare and happiness of his constituents during his term as president of the country.
"Late President Quirino is the preacher of unity, integrity, honesty and restoration of peace among the people of the country after the country was ravaged by the World War II," he said.
For her part, Vigan City Mayor Medina cited late President Quirino as a true statesman due to his love to country and as one of the best Presidents the country ever had.
She said that the late President Quirino had initiated the jumpstart of the country's economy after the devastating World War II.
"Our very own late President Quirino was the one who initiated the rural banking system, the organization of the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, the Social Security System and other various programs that are now helping the country's economic growth," she said.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Savellano said that late President Quirino is the greatest president of the country as he extended his unwavering love to the Filipinos during his term in which this was the ideal character of a public servant.
He said that the late president was the prime mover of the principle: "service to country above self."
It was recalled that late President Quirino, who was the 6th President of the Philippines and was the 1st Ilocano to become a president, was born on November 16, 1890. He was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur although born in Vigan City to Don Mariano Quirino of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur and Doņa Gregoria Mendoza Rivera of Agoo, La Union.
Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He studied and finished his elementary education in Aringay, La Union and secondary school course at Manila High School in 1911. He obtained a law degree from the University of the Philippines in Manila in 1915.
He started service in the government as public school teacher in Caparian, Agoo, La Union at the age of 16.
Late President Quirino practiced law until he was elected a member of the Philippine House of Representatives in 1919-25 and a senator in 1925-31. In 1934 he was a member of the Philippine independence mission to Washington, D.C., headed by Manuel Quezon, which secured the passage in Congress of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, setting the date for Philippine Independence as July 4, 1946. He was also elected to the convention that drafted a constitution for the new Philippine Commonwealth. Subsequently he served as secretary of finance and secretary of the interior in the Commonwealth government.
After World War II, Quirino served as secretary of state and vice president under the first president of the independent Philippines, Manuel Roxas. When Roxas died on April 15, 1948, Quirino succeeded to the presidency. The following year, he was elected president for a four-year term on the Liberal Party ticket, defeating the Nacionalista party candidate.
The Quirino administration was generally challenged by the Hukbalahaps, who ransacked towns and barrios. Quirino ran for president again in the 1953 presidential elections, but was defeated by Nacionalista Ramon Magsaysay.
After his term, he retired to his new country home in Novaliches, Quezon City, where he died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]