Strength and honor
One hundred Masses, the unveiling of a marker, the issuing of a postage stamp, the launching of books: these are the ways a nation will commemorate the birth centennial of Dr. Salvador Araneta, industrialist, intellectual, constitutionalist.
Few among the young will recall the stature of this man, or his contributions to the history of this country. He was that rare combination of a rich man with a social conscience; an entrepreneur who believed that Philippine industry must pull itself up by its boot straps; who put limitations on the creation and accumulation of wealth on the sound principle that wealth must be equitably shared and be used for purposes to benefit the whole and not just a few.
Araneta served President Ramon Magsaysay, just as he served the country as a delegate to the 1935 and 1971 Constitutional Conventions – deciding in the case of the latter to leave the country and exile himself when his country chose to meekly accept dictatorship and a sham Constitution passed by the convention to which he once belonged.
He was one of the prime movers of the National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA), the father of the slogan “Buy Filipino”.
He was one of the founders of the Philippine Constitution Association when it represented an effort for constitutionalism devoid of personalism and a far more respected organization than it is today.
He was many things, but in his life he proved himself an exemplar of something sorely lacking, even then and much more so now, in members of his socioeconomic class and intellectual abilities: a man of vision and yet of common sense; a man of learning, dignity, wealth and yet of stubborn idealism and incorruptible honor. A man of principle in a land of moral cowards.
His wealth was used by him to establish colleges and universities for the poor; his economic abilities were channeled toward creating local industries that would keep the national wealth in the hands of Filipinos and give even more Filipinos permanent jobs.
He never allowed personal friendship to deter him from speaking his mind and following his conscience.
He was a rare man; a man with no illusions; a man of honor and strength.
The country does right to remember him today.
When Delicadeza, Integrity Ruled the Day
Years before the National Assembly was inaugurated, Filipinos had to prove their worth.
During the American occupation, Governor General William Howard Taft declared that Filipinos would have to wait a hundred years for that day. He had set three golden rules for the country’s emancipation: that Filipinos should no longer be ignorant, that they should be able to conduct a popular self-government with law and order, and equal rights for all and that they should genuinely desire complete independence. Only then would Filipinos be set free!
The absence of freedom brought about the hungry yearnings for justice and liberty, followed by the sacrifice of countless individuals who together have made our collective history replete with sacrifice and glorious deeds. As we look forward to another milestone in history, the inauguration of the National Assembly which took place on Oct. 16, 1907, the predecessor of today’s legislative bodies, we recall some outstanding members of the country’s judiciary during the beginning of the 20th century. (To be continued/PN)