Quirino reburied with military honors
A WISH by former President Fidel V. Ramos to be buried, when his time comes, beside President
Elpidio Quirino at the Libingan ng mga Bayani paved the way for the reinterment of the latter’s remains with those of his fellow heroes, complete with full military honors, 60 years after his death.
Yesterday, at high noon, the ashes of Quirino, contained in a marble urn, were laid to rest at the presidents’ section of the cemetery in solemn ceremonies led by President Aquino.
With a black band on his left arm, the President led the funeral march from the cemetery’s entrance to the memorial tomb.
The Chief Executive was joined by Ramos, members of the Quirino family, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Senate President Franklin Drilon, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) head Maria Serena Diokno, Filipino war veterans and members of the diplomatic corps.
The transfer, which was highlighted with a 21-gun salute and full military honors, was a testament to Quirino’s efforts in paving the way for the country’s independence, according to the NHCP.
A petal drop from a military helicopter added poignancy to the event.
Quirino, the country’s sixth president, was buried at the Manila South Cemetery after he died of a heart attack on Feb. 29, 1956, three years after he ended his second term. He was only 65 years old.
According to the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation (PEQF), he was buried in simple ceremonies and was not given the funeral rites and honors he deserved after serving the country from 1948 to 1953.
After a year of planning, the transfer finally happened through the efforts of the NHCP and the PEQF.
Aside from Quirino, buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani are Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Carlos P. Garcia.
The transfer started with a send-off ceremony at the Manila South Cemetery around 9 a.m. The former president’s granddaughter and Miss World Philippine franchise head Cory Quirino led members of the Quirino family during the simple rites attended by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Makati City Mayor Romulo Peña.
The celebrity health, fitness and beauty guru narrated to reporters that Ramos had told her that he wanted to be buried beside her grandfather at Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“He (Ramos) told me he had already chosen his gravesite here and he said he wanted to be buried beside President Quirino,” Cory Quirino said. Ramos, the country’s 12th president, remains sprightly at 87 years old.
Cory Quirino said Ramos’ declaration started the process of having the late President’s ashes transferred to Libingan ng mga Bayani. She added that Drilon helped the family with the process as well.
The reinterment of Quirino, which could very well be his reintroduction to young Filipinos, became fitting as it also takes place on his 125th birth anniversary. Quirino was born on Nov. 16, 1890, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Quirino’s “guiding principles” were “tolerance, love, and goodwill.”
Cory Quirino said such core values led to the healing of the wounds between the Philippines and Japan after the war.
Cory Quirino pointed out that Japan is now a strong ally of the Philippines.
During his speech at the event, Estrada specifically addressed young individuals present at the event who were born after Quirino’s lifetime.
The 78-year-old Estrada, who also served as the 13th president of the Philippines, said he was only 12 years old when Quirino led the country forward from the devastation of the World War II.
“As a president, he was truthful to his duties and served with integrity,” Estrada said.
The Manila mayor claimed that the reinterment and transfer of Quirino to Libingan ng mga Bayani is something he really deserved.
“It is there that he truly belongs, there were other heroes like him have been laid to rest. Let us salute the memory of this great man. Let us remember his legacy with prayers that we may be similarly inspired to do great things for our nation and for our people,” Estrada said.
After the simple ceremony, the urn containing the remains of Quirino was then placed inside a coffin then carried to a funeral car which transported it to Libingan ng mga Bayani.
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