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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Governor commemorates birth of Luis A. Ferré


Former Gov. Luis A. Ferré (Feb. 17, 1904-Oct. 21, 2003)

By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia offered a message on Monday to commemorate the birth of former Gov. Luis A. Ferré.


Pierluisi described Ferré as a “visionary ahead of his times” and a “gentleman and man of noble character who defended his ideas without resorting to virulent or personalistic attacks and who recognized that, despite the differences, his political counterparts also wanted what he did, the best for Puerto Rico.”


Ferré was born on Feb. 17, 1904 in Ponce and died Oct. 21, 2003 in San Juan.


As is the case today, when Ferré won the gubernatorial elections in 1968, the majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives were made up of legislators from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).


“That is a very important lesson in these times we live in,” the governor said. “Many seek to highlight what divides us and some want to create walls that keep us apart. Don Luis, however, was convinced that our people had to walk together toward progress and taught us that there are goals that we share and that go above all else. For this reason, he was highlighted by a profound respect for differences of opinion and the democratic system that guarantees us freedom of thought.”


In passing, Pierluisi pointed out that “that respect was unbreakable, his commitment to Puerto Rico was firm and his ideology unshakable.”


The governor highlighted the work of Ferré in Puerto Rico, who directed economic development by promoting the Christmas Bonus and providing property titles to almost 80,000 residents of Puerto Rico.


Also, the New Progressive Party founder got Puerto Rico to be part of the Nutritional Assistance Program (known locally as PAN, by its Spanish acronym) of the United States government, led the way on construction works such as the expressway from San Juan to Ponce, salary increases for public employees, incentives for low-income students, and the creation of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), as well as the island police force’s first drug unit, among other things.


“All this was achieved with a divided government and a new party, but with people who considered public service as the great honor of their lives,” Pierluisi said. “You can think that we are in different times. However, that vision of achieving great things, that recognition that challenges create great opportunities and that commitment to see our island progress and move forward, is still latent in our people and moves me and those who work with me every day for Puerto Rico.”


Regarding equality for Puerto Rico, the governor indicated that the ideal of Jibaro statehood “is not in a party, nor does it depend on an election.”


“That strength is in the worthy aspiration of our people to achieve equality under the American flag and to move toward progress,” he said.

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