Every November 13th, the province of Pangasinan in the Philippines dons a festive atmosphere to commemorate the birth date of the late Speaker Eugenio Padlan Perez. This special day has been recognized as a public holiday in Pangasinan through Republic Act No. 6721, titled “An Act Declaring November Thirteen Of Each Year A Special Public Holiday in the Province of Pangasinan,” signed into law by then President Corazon Aquino in 1989.
Eugenio Padlan Perez, born on November 13, 1896, in Sitio Obong, formerly a barrio of Basista in San Carlos town, left an indelible mark on Pangasinan’s political landscape. Beginning his journey as a councilor, Perez later successfully ran for Congress, representing the old second district of Pangasinan. The town of Basista, now a distinct municipality, emerged from San Carlos, which subsequently attained city status. Perez served as the House Speaker from 1946 to 1953 and is particularly remembered in Dagupan as the visionary behind the law that elevated the town to cityhood, a measure signed by then President Manuel Roxas on June 20, 1947.
Not only a political figure, Perez played a crucial role in the formation of the Liberal Party and secured the distinction of being the first Pangasinense to ascend to the position of Speaker of the Philippine Legislature. During his tenure, he staunchly supported the economic initiatives of former President Elpidio Quirino, advocating for institutions such as the National Power Corp., National Irrigation Administration, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Eugenio Padlan Perez was not only a political luminary but also a family man, married to Consuelo Salazar, a talented music soprano, with whom he had three children. Unfortunately, his service to the nation and Pangasinan was cut short when he passed away on August 4, 1957.
As Pangasinan pauses to celebrate this special holiday, it not only honors the memory of a remarkable political figure but also reflects on the enduring legacy of Speaker Eugenio Padlan Perez, whose contributions continue to shape the province’s history and identity.