Camilo Olaviano Osias
This educator-writer from the North was one of the rare and grand old men of the Philippines who displayed vigorously intellect, a tremendous drive and a passion for independence.
Osias was born in Balaoan, La Union on March 28, 1889. His parents were Manuel Osias and Gregoria Olaviano. He studied in Balaoan, La Union; Vigan, Ilocos Sur and San Fernando, La Union before he was chosen as one of the government scholars to be sent to the United States. He received his teacher’s diploma from the Illinois State Teacher’s College in 1905. He went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University where he also received his graduate diploma in administration and supervision.
His public service, particularly in the field of education, has earned for him recognition from Otterbein College in Ohio, United States, which awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1934, and from the National University which gave him an honorary degree of Doctor of Pedagogy in 1961.
Osias rose from being a classroom teacher to being the first Filipino division superintendent of schools. He also became the first president of the National University.
A prolific writer, Osias authored such well-known books as Philippine Readers, The Filipino Way of Life, the prize winning Jose Rizal : His life and Times and countless other books and articles, a majority of which were on his favorite subject – Rizal. He also translated many of the hero’s major and minor works into English and Ilocano.
He was a member of the first Independence Mission to the United States in 1921. In 1929, he went to the United States as resident commissioner to the US Congress until 1935, working zealously for the Independence Bill.
As a delegate to the Philippine Constitutional Convention of 1934 for the first district of La Union, he actively participated in committee work and debates on the floor. As legislator and Constitutional Convention delegate, Osias was an outstanding champion of academic freedom and civil liberties which he considered as the true foundation of democratic policy.
He was elected senator for the second senatorial district in 1925. Since then, he had been elected several times to the Legislature --- assemblyman in 1935; senator-at-large in 1947 during which he topped the list of winning senatorial candidates; and again as senator in 1961.
Osias always advocated a fair, just and equitable allocation of membership in committees he chaired. His contributions to the government still carry his personality --- the pipe-smoking, gleaming-eyed and impeccably eloquent image of the Filipino as a statesman.
He died on May 20, 1976.