DR. SERAFIN D. QUIASON
We deeply mourn the passing of our beloved Dr. Serafin D. Quiason, former Chairman of NHCP.
Dr. Quiason had been National Library director (and as such, Ex-officio member of the NHI Board) and history professor when he was named Acting Chairman of the NHI in 1981. He became chairman in 1982, serving thus until 1996.
Chairman Quiason sustained most of the programs carried out by the previous administration. However, there was an intensification of history research, translation of Spanish and French works on Philippine history, and publication of a large number of new titles, as well as reprints. In the year 1981 alone translation work on 11 Spanish and French works was begun. Biographical research was stepped up resulting in the updating and expansion of the Eminent Filipinos into the Filipinos in History series. Public awareness of the various NHI shrines was given a boost with the publication of numerous brochures. Historical education was likewise bolstered with the popular History Quiz or Paligsahan sa Kasaysaysan contest, the revival of the Patriotic Tour—the tour of shrines and monuments; and the holding of seminars, conferences, lectures, exhibits, and contests.
Being a priority of Dr. Quiason’s administration, preservation and conservation advanced during his term and resulted in the creation of an architectural and preservation division. Staff training and skills development was strengthened usually through foreign-sponsored programs, wherein NHI staff took turns in training abroad. Knowledge gained was then shared or transferred to fellow NHI staff or other institutions also involved in curatorial preservation, thus benefiting the national heritage program in general.
Reverence for the Philippine Flag as well as the development of Philippine heraldry were hallmarks of the Quiason agenda. It was during his term that the groundwork was initiated for the drafting and passage of a Flag Law.
The debating and resolution of historical conflicts and controversies which most probably began with the issue of Rizal’s retraction during the era of the JRNCC, and continued during the term of Chairman Nakpil with the issue of the originality of historical play La Loba Negra, as well as the First Cry of Revolution during Prof. De Ocampo’s time, resurfaced during Dr. Quiason’s administration with the issue of the First Mass in the Philippines. This was resolved by way of a Round Table Conference held in 1996, which was presided over by a panel headed by Justice Emilio Gancayco.
Dr. Quiason’s other outstanding legacies are the erection of the NHI building, completed in 1994, the NHI annex building and the Museum of Philippine History.