Early life and career
Second President of the Third Philippine Republic, Elpidio Quirino was born on November 18, 1890 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Mariano Quirino and Gregoria Mendoza.
He took his early schooling at Aringay, La Union and finished his secondary education at Ilocos High School, Vigan. A student in painting and drawing at Universidad Ilocano, he also became a teacher in grade school in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
Transfered to Manila in 1908, he enrolled in Manila High School Intramuros as self-supporting student. He worked as a Junior Computer in the Bureau of Lands and as Clerk in a high school principal’s office. A Civil Service eligible then, he was employed as property clerk at the Manila Police Department.
A Bachelor of Laws graduate in 1915 at the University of the Philippines, he immediately passed the bar exams. He became a clerk in the Philippine Commission and worked there until it was replaced by the Philippine Columbian Association, where he got acquainted with Senate President Manuel L. Quezon, who made him his private secretary. He accompanied President Quezon to Washington in June 1917, to offer a Filipino Militia in the war against Germany.
In the Lower House, as representative of the First District of Ilocos Sur, his primary concern was the plight of the ambitious and brillian sons and daughters of poor parents. He then sponsored a bill for a Junior College of the University of the Philippines in Vegan, Ilocus Sur and in Cebu City. Thus, more appropriations were granted to schools and teachers and for the acquisition of more educational facilities throughout the country.
Elected to the Philippine Senate 1925, he became the Chairman of the Special Joint Committee on Taxation and adopted the First Tariff Act Legislation. He was also appointed ex-officio member of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines.
Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act was rejected by Philippine Legislature in 1933, he accompanied Senate President Manuel L. Quezon as a political adviser in a mission to secure support of the US Congress for the passage of Tydings McDuffe Independence Act, approved on May 1, 1934.
He was also elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1935. After the inauguration of the Commonwealth Government in the same year, he was appointed Secretary of Finance where Quezon, the President of the Commonwealth, acclaimed, “you have been courageous and impartial in your decisions as Secretary of Finance. Under your administration, you have been able to keep the budget balanced, in spite of the urgent and extraordinary expenditures or our new government and in the fact of falling revenues and economic depression.” However, he was reassigned as Secretary of Interior from which position he resigned to run for a seat in the National Assembly November 8, 1939 but lost.
During the Japanese Occupation, he secretly supported the guerilla movement. His refusal to collaborate with the enemy struck his beloved family, where his wife, Alicia Syquia, and children Fe, Norma, and Armando were massacred by the enemies. Tomas, Victoria and father survived the ordeal.
When Manuel Roxas became the President of the Post Liberation Commonwealth of 1946, Quirino was reappointed Secretary of Finance. This time, he established the Central Bank of the Philippines on January 2, 1947.
Appointed Vice President of the Philippines and concurrently the First Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he successfully concluded important treaties with friendly nations and paved the way for other International agreements vital to the socioeconomic life of the Republic.
Elpidio Quirino Presidency
When Quirino assumed the Presidency on April 17, 1948, following the death of President Roxas, he stressed as a policy the need for unity among all the people and more understanding and tolerance among government officials.
As Chief Executive, he received pledges of support to his administration and personal loyalty to his leadership from all quarters in the Philippines and abroad., Thus, on June 21, 1948, he issued Proclamation No. 76 , granting amnesty to all dissidents which included the Hukbalahap (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon) and the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM). On August 15, end of the Amnesty period, thousands of Huks and PKMs had registered. Insurgency situation in the country then considerably improved, with the surrender and capture of the Huk leaders.
The President opted for the early industrialization of the Archipelago. His administration backed up the constitution of many of present day hydro-electric installations, such as the Agno, Maria Cristina, the Ambuklao Systems and many others. Under his leadership, the Philippines received continued foreign assistance thru the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA). He succeeded in stabilizing the currency and balancing the national budget.
Don Elpidio Quirino was a firm believer in things Philippine. He pointed out that the control of the national economy should be the goal of our country, although foreign capital is necessary to our industrialization and the development of our agriculture.
Post-presidency and death
In the 1953 Presidential elections, he ran for reelection but lost. Thus, he spent the rest of his life writing his memoirs in his home in Novaliches, Quezon City, where he died on February 29, 1956.