Alejandro D. Almendras
Senator Alejandro D. Almendras was born in Danao, Cebu on February 27, 1919. At the time of his birth, his father, the late Paulo Almendras, was already a politician of note and one of the trusted leaders of former President Sergio Osmena, Sr., founder of the Nacionalista Party. The elder Almendras was the mayor of Danao for four consecutive terms. Almendras’ mother, Elisea Durano, was the older sister of Rep. Ramon Durano.
Almendras graduated from the Cebu Provincial High School in 1938 and enrolled at the Far Eastern University in Manila to take up aeronautical engineering. In 1941, however, his studies were disrupted when he was called to active service by the armed forces.
During the war, Almendras served with the Philippine Air Force and when the USAFFE forces surrendered, he returned to his home province where he helped organize the resistance movement. Because of his skill, leadership and courage in those dark days of the Japanese occupation, Almendras, then 23 years of age, was given command of the 88th Infantry Regiment by Col. James Cushing, Cebu Area Command Commander, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. For his valiant service during the war years. Almendras received numerous awards and decorations. He was awarded “Most Outstanding Veteran” in 1958.
Almendras was a third-year law student at the Mindanao Colleges in Davao City in 1951 when politics finally caught up with him.
Pitted against a seasoned Liberal Party incumbent supported by the administration, Almendras won his first political battle and was elected governor of Davao, the youngest governor in the country at that time. He ran and won again in 1955.
During his incumbency as governor, Almendras rid the provincial government of graft and corruption. As governor, he built more roads, schoolhouses, artesian wells and other public improvements than all his predecessors combined. He helped improve the agricultural economy of Davao which minimized the community’s social problems. In 1958, he was conferred the award as the most “Outstanding Governor” on the basis of honesty, integrity, efficiency and road building by the foreign correspondents’ Association of the Philippines.
On May 8, 1959, he was appointed first secretary of the Department of General Services by President Garcia. He organized the department with strict supervision over the acquisition of materials, equipment and supplies. He was awarded as the “Most Outstanding Cabinet Member” by the Confederation of Filipino Veterans early in February, 1959.
In the same year, he was elected and served as senator until 1972. He was credited for the passage into law of Republic Act 3018 nationalizing the rice and corn industry as well as the law creating the Veterans Bank.
Senator Almendras was married to the former Caridad Cabahug of Borbon, Cebu. They were blessed with seven children. He died at age 76 in August 1995.