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Quirino gets hero’s burial

The Philippine Star logo The Philippine Star 2/29/2016
© Provided by The Philippine Star

Former president Elpidio Quirino was given a hero’s burial on his 60th death anniversary yesterday, upon the request of his family.

President Aquino led the transfer of Quirino’s remains from the Manila South Cemetery in Makati to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig, accompanied by descendants of the late leader.

Eduardo Quirino, grandson of the former president, said the family waited for the 60th death and 125th birth anniversary of his grandfather before deciding to seek the transfer of his remains.

“We are very happy. The remains of former presidents (Carlos) Garcia and (Diosdado) Macapagal are there. Even former president (Fidel) Ramos chose the vacant lot beside president Quirino,” Eduardo said.

He said Ramos, who attended the ceremony along with other veterans, served under his grandfather’s administration during the Korean War. 

“I heard the Osmeña family is discussing the transfer of the remains of former president Sergio Osmeña from the Manila North Cemetery,” Eduardo said.

He said they first brought up the idea with the National Historical Commission over a year ago, noting they had difficulty planning it.

Eduardo said there was no Libingan ng mga Bayani, which was designated by former president Ferdinand Marcos to be the burial site for the country’s leaders and other considered heroes, when his grandfather died in 1956. 

At that time, Makati was sparsely populated and was just starting to develop.

From the Manila South Cemetery, the funeral motorcade proceeded to the Libingan ng mga Bayani where Aquino joined a march toward the gravesite, along with the Quirino family. 

A military helicopter dropped petals as the remains of the former president arrived at the gravesite. 

Quirino, the country’s sixth president, was vice president when former president Manuel Roxas died of a heart attack in 1948. He took over as chief executive and won a fresh term from 1949 to 1953.

The former president was born in Vigan and worked first as a teacher before becoming a lawyer and public official. 

Quirino was known for sacrificing personal vengeance for the attainment of lasting and nationwide peace. According to the Palace, Quirino lost his wife and three children during the Japanese occupation in the country. He could have avenged them when he became the foreign affairs secretary.

As president in 1953, Quirino granted executive clemency to more than 100 Japanese prisoners of war, which paved the way for the reparation process between the two countries. 

He authorized the deployment of 7,000 Filipino soldiers during the start of the Korean War in 1950. 

When Quirino took over as president, the country was beset with problems on economy, insurgency and post-war disenfranchisement, according to the Palace. He led the task of rebuilding the country.

“Tolerance, goodwill and love: these were Quirino’s guiding principles throughout his life as public servant,” Malacañang said.           

PNP, AFP join funeral

The transfer of Quirino’s remains was joined by the officers and men of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces.

Chief Insp. Noel Gutierrez, of the PNP Escort and Honor Unit, said over 100 policemen were deployed to secure the ceremony.

Personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) gave a water salute for the former president, who received full military honors from the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy.        

Quirino was the third president to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, after Garcia and Macapagal.  – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

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