A CENTURY after he was born, the “poor boy from Lubao” was honored by his alma mater through a memorial lecture extolling his legacy.

Titled “Celebrating the Life, the Lifework and the Legacy of President Diosdado P. Macapagal: A Reflective Recollection and Commemoration,” the lecture last September 11 in the Thomas Aquinas Research Center was attended by Macapagal’s kin, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“[He gave us] a sense of history, the changing of the independence date, making us nationalistic,” said Hilarion Henares, Jr., head of Macapagal’s National Economic Council.

Macapagal moved the Independence Day celebration to June 11 from July 4, as having the same Independence date with the United States of America was deemed a problem because very important persons abroad would flock to US embassies.

Henares said Macapagal pursued an independent foreign policy by claiming Sabah in 1962 and organizing the Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia or Maphilindo, a confederation of the Malayan race in 1963.

During the lecture, Macapagal’s kin narrated his dedication and love for God, country, and family.

“He was very kind, never got mad, but [would] always talk to us to impart values,” former President Arroyo told the Varsitarian after the lecture.

“He really was the one who molded us to live simply,” said Cielo Macapagal-Salgado, Macapagal’s eldest daughter.

“What is remarkable and admirable about President Diosdado Macapagal is that he rose above his impoverished childhood to become one of the presidents of the republic,” said Graduate School Dean Lilian Sison during the opening remarks.

Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. said he was the only alumnus that was awarded all the awards that UST could grant.

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Macapagal was elected as non-Dominican member of the UST board of trustees.

He was also given the Golden Cross Award, the highest citation that the University gives to an individual. Others who received the award were King Juan Carlos of Spain, President Corazon Aquino, and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

Fondly called “Dadong,” Macapagal was born on September 28, 1910 in Lubao, Pampanga. He died on April 21, 1997 due to heart failure, pneumonia, and renal complications at the Makati Medical Center. He had two children, Cielo Macapagal-Salgado and Arturo Macapagal, with his first wife, Purita de la Rosa, who died during World War II in 1943. Macapagal met his second wife, Evangelina Macaraeg, in UST. They had two children, Gloria and Diosdado Jr.

Macapagal obtained his Bachelor of Laws (1936), Master of Laws (1941), Doctor of Civil Laws (1947), and Doctor of Economics (1957) in UST.

Macapagal aced the bar exam in 1936 with a score of 89.95 percent. Kalaine Nikka Kay C. Grafil

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