6th President of the Philippines
“We should not be weak in facing the world. Instead, we should be formidable enough to stand up just, like any other country, ready to challenge, ready to make peace for the good of everybody. Because now, no one can really stand on its own. We should maintain a free republic so that we can declare to all that we are the ones who establish it and we make it for our own good. This is the real meaning of freedom.”
Elpidio Quirino, the President with a Golden Heart, was born on November 16, 1890, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, at the room next to the office of Provincial Jail Guard because his father Mariano Quirino is the first Provincial Jail Guard of Ilocos Sur province. His mother is Gregoria Mendoza Rivera, of Agoo, La Union. Elpidio first learn the alphabet from his mother. He finished his elementary education at Aringay Public School. When his family transferred to Vigan, Elpidio continued his studies at Vigan High School. While studying, he taught at a school in a small village of Capariaan, that has a distance of 5 kilometers from Vigan. He gave to his mother his salary of 12 pesos. In 1908, Elpidio went to Manila. He studied at Manila High School. While studying, he worked at the Bureau of Lands with a wage of 30 pesos a month. Soon, he served at the office of the principal so he can have enough time for studying. Quirino also served as employee at the Manila Police Department with a wage of 150 pesos a month.
After passing the bar examination in 1915, he became an employee at the Philippine Commission. When the Philippine Senate was created in 1916, Quirino also served as a staff aide here. Here he was first noticed by Senator Manuel L. Quezon. Later, he was made personal secretary of President Quezon. Quirino learned a lot from his relationship with President Quezon. In 1918, Quirino went home to his province. He decided to join politics. On his first try, he already won as representative of Ilocos Sur at the Lower House. He became a senator in 1925 and reelected in 1941. When the Commonwealth government was formed, Quirino was appointed as Secretary of Finance by President Quezon. He was also appointed as Secretary of the Interior. Quirino took the oath of office as vice president of the Commonwealth on May 28, 1946. In the unexpected sudden death of President Manuel A. Roxas, Vice President Quirino assumed office on April 17, 1948. In the following year’s election, President Quirino has a sincere desire of uplifting the living, social and political condition. To restore peace among the most violent places in the country, he forgave the rebel group Huks. The leader of the Huk, Luis Taruc surrendered to him on June 21, 1948. However, Luis Taruc never give worth to their agreement with the President and instead, he strengthened the Huk movement.
Many people got angry with President Quirino in his forceful drive of cleansing the government. His political enemies presented with witnesses to impeach him from his office. However on April 19, 1949, he was acquitted to the said accusations. One speech of President Quirino stated the following:
“The self-desire or ambition is easily drowned if only we know how to have a little patience. For me, there is nothing I should boast of nor redeem… I am just poor. Don’t deprive me of my chance to retain my honor because my dignified and honorable name is the only thing I can inherit my children and countrymen.”
President Quirino's wife is Alicia Syquia and they have five children. President Quirino died on February 29, 1956.