Local News: Bago City Honors Outstanding Son on His 84th Year
Citizens of Bago City marked the 84th birth anniversary of the late Rafael M. Salas in a ‘fun walk’ at the Rafael M. Salas Drive.
The famous scholar, author, poet, statesman, academician and champion of development is a native of this city.
The affair was attended by his widow and former ambassador to the Czech Republic Carmelita ‘Menchu’ Salas. Bago City officials led by Mayor Ramon D. Torres and one of the local hero’s closest friends, former SRA chief Lawyer Arsenio B. Yulo.
Former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and his wife also graced the occasion with Rafael M. Salas Library project director and former Bacolod City Mayor Joy Valdez.
In an interview, Mayor Torres said Salas tried his best to serve his people, the same message the elders of the city share with the younger generation.
He said Salas was credited for giving solution to the country’s annual rice problem under the National Rice Sufficiency Program. He also greatly contributed to the worldwide understanding of the population and its impact to development among developed and developing countries as a United Nations official.
Bago City is proud and privileged to have produced an outstanding citizen who has a purpose to serve mankind, he told PIA.
A city resolution was passed for the people of Bago City to commemorate the birth of Rafael Salas on August 7 as the Sangguniang Panlungsod will work out to make the commemoration permament every year because a resolution is only good for one year, SP Allan Galunan said.
Yulo, on the other hand, recalled his memories with Salas with whom he grew up together especially during their teenage days.
He said Bago is the only city in the country with two certified heroes- anti-Spanish revolution leader Gen. Juan Araneta and Rafael Salas.
Salas’ wife Carmelita, held tears as she thanked the Soroptimists, Bago City government and other civic groups in spearheading the activity.
The walk was participated in by hundreds of participants mostly students, government employees and representatives from different sectors of the city.
Salas was born on August 7, 1928, one of three children of Ernesto Araneta Salas and Isabel Neri Montinola.
According to his biography, he went to Manila to continue his education after the war and graduated with high honors in the University of the Philippines in 1950. He completed his B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) and LL.B (Cum Laude) from the U.P. College of Law both in 1953. He then attended Harvard University MPA in 1955.
By 1966, Rafael M. Salas, was called on to serve his country as Executive Secretary of the Republic of the Philippines under President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Due to irreconcilable differences with Marcos, he stepped down from his post and accepted to be the first Executive Director of the United Nations-Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) in 1969. He held this position up to his death in 1987.*(PIA6-JCM/LOL)