By virtue of Presidential Proclamation 967 signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, all Filipinos here and abroad are enjoined to commemorate the memory and legacy of a man who served for 47 years in the government.
The man, Elpidio Quirino, was born on November 16, 1890 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and began his career in public service as a student teacher who dreamed of serving his country.
Quirino was a lawyer who had graduated from the University of the Philippines with honors and passed the Bar with the second-highest grade in history.
He became Special Clerk of the Philippine Commission, private secretary to President Manuel Quezon, congressman, senator and Cabinet secretary.
Quirino was a member of the Philippine Independence Mission that lobbied for the Tydings- McDuffie Act, which paved the way for the independence of the country.
Regarded as the founding father of the Foreign Service, he opened 23 embassies, firmly securing Philippine international relations and diplomacy.
Qurino, who served as concurrent Finance secretary, was also acknowledged as the founding father of the Central Bank of the Philippines.
As President of the Philippines, he espoused the New Philippine Ideology; created and established the economic blueprint of the Philippines toward rehabilitation, growth and expansion; initiated amnesty and peace talks with the Hukbalahap movement headed by Luis Taruc; balanced the budget with the Philippine currency at two pesos to the US dollar; and realized a real gross domestic product growth rate of 9 percent.
Also as the nation’s leader, he was the prime mover behind the building of the Ambuklao Dam in Benguet and the Maria Cristina Hydroelectric Power Plant located in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.
Elpidio Rivera Quirino was born at the Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail, the 3rd child of the incumbent jail warden–Mariano Quirino–and wife Gregoria Rivera.
Orphaned at an early age, he and his siblings grew up taking care of each other.
Part of his childhood years was spent in Agoo, La Union, after which he left for Manila to pursue his studies.
Quirino married Alicia Syquia of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and they had five children.
During the Liberation of Manila in February 1945, his wife and three of their children were shot and killed by Japanese soldiers in the streets of Malate.
Quirino, daughter Victoria and son Tomas, were the only survivors.