JR Lopez Gonzales 1:00 PM 0
Yesterday, exactly 67 years ago, the late President Elpidio Quirino was sworn into office after President Manuel Roxas’ untimely death. The humble Ilocano statesman, who at one point served as a barrio teacher, became the sixth president of the then young Philippine Republic.
And in celebration of the momentous event, the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation (PEQF), officially launched Ako, Pilipino! at the Ayala Museum. It is an advocacy campaign which aimed at celebrating the three positive values that backboned the late president's administratioin: tolerance, goodwill, and love.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chair, Dr. Ma. Serena Diokno, led the speakers by mentioning the 12 volumes of massive narrations of the origins of Philippine barangays, towns and provinces as instructed by the late Pres. Quirino. Israel Ambassador Ephraim Ben Matityau talked about his country’s gratitude for Quirino, who formerly served as the Secretary of the Foreign Affairs, guided the Philippine’s decisive United Nations vote in 1947.
The PEQF President, Atty. Aleli Angela Quirino, on the other hand, stressed that the highlights the values that guided the former President in his everyday life and principles. She also highlighted Quirino’s tolerance; on how he forgave the Japanese POWs after the war.
Bernard Kerblat, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative to the Philippines, talked about Quirino’s goodwill as he welcomed white Russian refugees driven out of Red China by offering them a safe haven in Tubabao Island in Samar. This, I have to say, is one of those finer points in yesterday’s event which are not usually mentioned in our history textbooks.
Ruby Quirino-Gonzales also shared the family’s experiences that reflect the character of the President at the trying times of the Second World War. President Elpidio Quirino’s love for his family and country was further expounded by the event host, Cory Quirino, by recounting her earliest memories of her grandfather.
Dr. Joven Cuanang, the Adviser for the PEQF, talked about the “true Filipino spirit”; while well-known TV personality, Lourd de Veyra, had the crowd in stitches by sharing his thoughts on the president. I approached the TV5 host moments before his speech, and told him the “chamber pot controversy” had not been mentioned yet. As I predicted, the only mention of the controversy was on de Veyra’s speech. The golden arenola, by the way, was never proven to have actually existed in the very first Senate Blue Ribbon inquiry.
The event the proceeded with the official launching of Ako, Pilipino!, and the unveiling of the dedication wall. Singer Isabella, which happens to be the late President’s granddaughter, sang “Pilipino Ako” at the background.
The launching sparks the long string of activities for the year-long celebration: the launching of www.elpidioquirino.org, “Guro to Pangulo Awards”, Prof. Winnie Monsod lectures on the economy, Jaime Laya on education, Ambeth Ocampo on Philippine-Japan relations, Bernard Kerblat on the history of refugee arrival, the launching of Quirino museum in Vigan City, among others.
Blogger's Note: The PoliTikalon Blog reports this event with much honor being one of the two blogs that were asked to cover the occasion. This blog is grateful to the Media Affairs Director Daisy Sabangan of the CID, Incorporated.