Strength and Honor
Manuel L. Quezon III
Then & Now, January 31, 2002
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 bootstraps; 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 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 that 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.