Local officials, employees, students and members of non–government organizations attended on Wednesday a simple commemoration of the 121st birthday of the late President Elpidio Quirino at Plaza Salcedo in this city.
November 16 is a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Sur in honor of “Don Pediong” (a nickname of the late President) by virtue of Proclamation No. 1927 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on Nov. 15, 1979.
President Quirino’s grandson Eddie Quirino and Provincial Board Members Jeremias Singson and Orlino Tesoro led a floral offering ceremony at the foot of the former President’s statue at Plaza Salcedo facing the provincial capitol.
One of the significant highlights of this year’s celebration was the reading of the notable life story of the late President Quirino and a mass offering in the afternoon at the Saint Paul Metropolitan Cathedral.
Singson said the life and works of President Quirino is an inspiration to the youths, students and future leaders in the country.
The late President Quirino, the 6th President of the Philippine Republic, was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on November 16, 1890. His parents were Don Mariano Quirino of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur and Doña Gregoria Mendoza Rivera of Agoo, La Union. He was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur although he was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He studied and graduated his elementary education in Caoayan where he became a barrio teacher.
He finished secondary education at Vigan High School and went to Manila where he worked in the Bureau of Lands and as property clerk in the Manila police department. He graduated from Manila High School in 1911 and also passed the civil service examination, first-grade.
In 1915, Quirino earned his law degree from University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, and admitted to the bar later that year. After obtaining a law degree from UP, he practiced law until he was elected a member of the Philippine House of Representatives in 1919-1925 and a senator in 1925-1931.
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 ascended to the presidency.
Quirino assumed the presidency on April 17, 1948, taking his oath of office two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. His first official act as the President was the proclamation of a state mourning throughout the country for Roxas’ death.
The following year, he was elected president for a four-year term on the Liberal Party ticket, defeating the Nacionalista party candidate.
Elpidio Quirino’s six years as president were marked by notable postwar reconstruction, general economic gains, and increased economic aid from the United States.
However, 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 bet Ramon Magsaysay.