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PIO S. DURAN (1900-1961) Lawyer and Legislator A brilliant lawyer who became a successful businessman and a respected politician, Pio S. Duran was born on April 14, 1900 to Jose E. Duran and Miguela Salvador in Guinobatan, Albay. After his elementary schooling in the province, he enrolled at the Manila High School, where he finished his secondary education in 1917. He then attended the University of the Philippines, there earning three college degrees successively: Bachelor of Arts, 1919; Bachelor of Laws, 1923, and Master of Laws, 1926. Going into private practice, he formed the law office of Duran, Lim and Tuazon, which gained the confidence of big firms. Apparently, Duran had a way with the common man. Dealing with them in labor conflicts, he settled cases more at the negotiating table than in courts. With his strong business sense, Duran found himself being drawn more and more toward business activities, particularly in the agricultural field. He bought tracts of land in his province and, soon, became a successful and respected rice and coconut hacendero. To help other farmers in the province, he initiated the organization of the Coconut Growers Association with the end in view of improving quality of their copra products. Long before the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, Duran became a zealous and open "Japanophile", genuinely believing in the superiority of Japanese culture and society and in her fated role as leader of Asia's resurgence in the world vis-à-vis Western supremacy. This belief was probably compounded by his negative experiences with Americans whom he concluded to be, in reality, contemptuous of, if not prejudiced against, Filipinos. According to Duran, the typical American treated Filipinos the same way he treated Negroes, and "makes no effort to conceal his contempt for social intercourse [with Filipinos]...To the Filipinos the real American resident is a perfect reproduction of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Thus, in his books Philippine Independence and the Far Eastern Question (Manila: Community Publishers, 1935) and Japanese Friendship, a Pre-requisite to National Security, he made a case for Japan and exhorted Filipinos to ponder assimilating Japanese culture. At the same time, he urged Filipinos to cast off Western, particularly American, influences. Considered within this context, therefore, it is easy to understand why there were those who believed Duran to be a nationalist despite his active collaboration with the Japanese during the Occupation, an event that polarized Filipinos into pro- and anti-Japanese partisans. Duran believed nationalism should be the driving force that guides the people in their daily lives but should not myopically exclude interaction with the rest of the world, particularly Asia. He was not averse to foreign investments in the country, as long as Filipino interests were properly protected. He prioritized, naturally, Japanese ventures, assisting for instance in 1937 the Japanese mining firm, Pacific Mining Co., Ltd, in securing exploitation rights to the mines in Pilar town, Panay. It was only expected that during their occupation of the country the Japanese would tap the services of Duran in various offices. He was a member of the Executive Commission, and starting in December 1942, was director of general affairs (and as such was Interior Minister

Benigno Aquino's main assistant) of the KALIBAPI (Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas), a political organization established by the Japanese to serve as replacement for American-era political parties. In November 1944, together with Benigno Ramos, veteran revolutionaries Artemio Ricarte and Leon Villafuerte, and Aurelio Alvero, he established the MAKAPILI (Kalipunang Makabayan ng mga Pilipino- "Patriotic League of Filipinos"), an armed militia organized by the Japanese to fight the American forces, which had landed in October to carry out the liberation of the Philippines. He was designated its "Vice Supreme Head and New Home Affairs Minister". A month earlier, he was elected Chairman of the New Leaders Association (Samahan ng mga Bagong Simuno) a pro-Japanese youth group. That same year, President Laurel appointed him "inspector of martial law for the Third, Fourth and Fifth districts", a move seen as a concession to Japanese authorities' pressure on the Chief Executive to absorb members of the MAKAPILI into his Cabinet. He was a regular participant at the meetings of the Great Asia Society, a Japanese organization. In June 1943 he joined an inspection mission to Tokyo led by then Manila Mayor Leon Guinto. Duran was among those arrested for treason, for collaborating with the Japanese, immediately following the Liberation. President Roxas' proclamation of amnesty shortly thereafter, however, brought to a close all cases of treason and collaboration including his own. Prior to World War II, Duran ­ who was also a Mason - served as a director of the Philippine Columbian Association, President and General Manager of the Philippine-Nippon Mining Company, Inc.; lawyer for the Yokohama Specie Bank, and was professor of law at the University of the Philippines. In the post-war era, Duran became a congressman, having been elected on November 8, 1949, under the Nacionalista Party, to represent the second district of Albay in the House of Representatives. He was reelected in 1953. He died of cerebral hemorrhage at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City on February 28, 1961. At that time, he had been on his third consecutive term as congressman and was chairman of the house committee on banks, currency and corporations, and vice-chairman of the committee on national language. He also had been a member of the committees on education and foreign affairs. During his eulogy at the House his colleagues led by House Speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez praised him as a "true patriot" and "ardent nationalist in thoughts, words, and deeds." Likewise, his tireless promotion of the national language through his work in the House national language committee was not forgotten: members of the Kapatiran ng mga Alagad ng Wikang Pilipino (KAWIKA), mourning his passing, extolled him for championing its cause despite his non-Tagalog roots. Duran was married twice, first in 1923, to the former Pilar Ibarra. His widow was the former Josefina Belmonte of Nueva Ecija who was his student in his Torts and Damages class at the UP College of Law. She took his place as Albay's third district representative not long after his death. To perpetuate his memory she later sponsored House Bill No. 5355, which was passed as Republic Act 3817, or "An Act Creating the Municipality of Pio Duran in the Province of Albay" (June 22, 1963), which formed the new town of Pio Duran, with barrios from the towns of Guinobatan, Ligao and Jovellar. References:

50 Years of Philippine Autonomy The Golden Jubilee of the First Philippine Legislature 19161966. Manila: The Philippine Historical Association, 1966. 1980 Census of Population and Housing Albay Volume I, Final Report Manila: NSCO, 1980, p.1 Abaya, Hernando J. Betrayal in the Philippines. New York: A.A. Wyn, Inc., 1946 Agoncillo, Teodoro A. The Fateful Years, Japan's Adventures in the Philippines Volumes I & II. Quezon City: R.P. Garcia Publishing Company, 1965. "Congress Colleagues Eulogize Duran as `Ardent Nationalist'" Evening News (March 1, 1961) pp. 1, 10. Cornejo, Miguel. Cornejo's Commonwealth Directory of the Philippines.1939. Friend, Theodore. Between Two Empires .1964 Hartendorp, A.V.H. The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines Volumes I & II. Manila: Bookmark, 1967. Ikehata, Setsuko and Jose, Ricardo Trota, editors. The Philippines Under Japan: Occupation Policy and Reaction. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1999. Malanyaon, Jaime T. Istorya Kan Kabikolan. Naga City: The Author, 1991. Republic Act 3817, Official Gazette Volume 60, Number 5 (February 3, 1964) p. 644. "Pio Duran dies at 61", Manila Daily Bulletin (March 1, 1961) pp. 1, 9. "Rep. Pio Duran dies of cerebral attack", The Manila Chronicle (March 1, 1961) pp. 1, 2. Retizos, Isidro L. & Soriano, D.H. Philippines Who's Who. Quezon City: Capitol Publishing House, Inc., 1957. Steinberg, David Joel. Philippine Collaboration in World War II. Manila: Solidaridad Publishing House, 1967 Yu-Jose, Lydia N. Japan Views the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1992. Photo in: P. 1, MC (3/01/61); P.1, MDB (3/01/61)


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