Sunday, April 26, 2009

ELPIDIO R. QUIRINO

Elpidio Rivera Quirino

Elpidio Rivera Quirino (November 16, 1890 – February 29, 1956) was a Filipino politician, and the sixth President of the Philippines.

Early life and career

He was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Mariano Quirino and Gregoria Rivera, Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He received secondary education at Vigan High School, then went to Manila where he worked as junior computer 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.

Quirino attended the University of the Philippines. In 1915, he earned his law degree from the university's College of Law, and was admitted to the bar later that year. He was engaged in the private practice of law until he was elected as member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925, then as Senator from 1925 to 1931. He then served as Secretary of Finance and Secretary of the Interior in the Commonwealth government.

In 1934, Quirino was a member of the Philippine Independence mission to Washington D.C., headed by Manuel L. Quezon that secured the passage in the United States Congress of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. This legislation set the date for Philippine independence by 1945. Official declaration came on July 4, 1946.

During the Battle of Manila in World War II, his wife, Alicia Syquia, and three of his five children were killed as they were fleeing their home.

After the war, Quirino continued public service, becoming president pro tempore of the Senate.

Vice-Presidency

In 1946, he was elected first vice president of the independent Republic of the Philippines, serving under Manuel Roxas. He also served as secretary of state.

Presidency

Quirino assumed the presidency on April 17, 1948, taking his oath of office two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. The next year, he was elected president on his own right for a four-year term as the candidate of the Liberal Party, defeating Jose P. Laurel of the Nacionalista Party.
Since Quirino was a widower, his surviving daughter Vicky would serve as the official hostess and perform the functions traditionally ascribed to the First Lady.

Quirino's administration faced a serious threat in the form of the communist HUKBALAHAP movement. Though the Huks originally had been an anti-Japanese guerrilla army in Luzon, communists steadily gained control over the leadership, and when Quirino's negotiation with Huk commander Luis Taruc broke down in 1948, Taruc openly declared himself a Communist and called for the overthrow of the government.

His six years as president were marked by notable postwar reconstruction, general economic gains, and increased economic aid from the United States. Basic social problems, however, particularly in the rural areas, remained unsolved, and his administration was tainted by widespread graft and corruption.

On 1950, the administration of president Quirino was beginning the Korean War and over 7,450 Filipino soldiers were sent to Korea under the designation of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea or PEFTOK.

Although ill, Quirino ran for re-election in 1953, but he was overwhelmingly defeated by Ramon Magsaysay.

Post-presidency

Following his failed bid for re-election, Quirino retired to private life in Quezon City, Metro Manila. He died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956.

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