Manila, Philippines (Aug 21, 20120) - President Aquino will lead today’s commemoration of his father’s assassination 29 years ago that led to the peaceful people power revolution in February 1986.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there were activities lined up as the Presidential Communications Operations Office, through the Philippine News Agency, said the Filipino people were expected to pause in prayer and reflect on the legacy of former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
The President would be with his family and government officials in remembering his father who, while still in the United States, had told his friends “the Filipino is worth dying for.”
The Aquino patriarch was shot dead at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport on Aug. 21, 1983 that catapulted his widow, former President Corazon Aquino, into the political limelight.
Mrs. Aquino eventually became president in 1986 after the people’s uprising.
The Manila airport has since been renamed, in his honor, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Meanwhile, Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) founding chairman and former senator Heherson Alvarez said a wreathlaying ceremony will be held at the NAIA tarmac at 9 a.m.
Former senator Agapito Aquino, Ninoy’s brother, will award the medal of valor to five colleagues of the late senator. They are Steve Psinakis, Danny Lamila, Victor Lovely, Doris Baffrey and Alex Exclamado, publisher of the San Francisco-based Philippine News, which is recognized as a free media network by the opposition overseas.
Psinakis and Lamila head the San Francisco and Los Angeles NAM councils, respectively.
Lovely and Baffrey, on the other hand, were both casualties of the violent bombings in Manila during the martial law regime.
President Aquino said Filipinos observe Aug. 21 as a holiday not just in remembrance of one man’s act of patriotism, but to honor the sacrifice of each and every Filipino, whose courageous spirit, sense of integrity and fervent desire for change steered the country back on the path of democracy.
“When my father went into exile in 1980, he was making a tactical retreat to elevate the struggle against an oppressive regime to another level of discourse. His three-year stay in the United States allowed him to regroup his efforts, empowering him to reveal, to the international community, atrocities committed by the dictatorship and to galvanize support for restoring our people’s suppressed liberties,” he said.
“The solidarity of the Filipino-American community, through organizations like the Ninoy Aquino Movement, gave him the strength to return home despite the risks it posed to him. This choice marked a turning point in our history and sparked the peaceful revolution that allowed us to regain the freedom that we enjoy to this day,” the President added.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay asked the Filipino people to live by the principles of the late senator.
“There is no better way to commemorate Ninoy’s death than to continue and live by his principles and pursue our commitment to truth, accountability and service to our people,” he said.
Binay said Ninoy’s assassination on Aug. 21, 1983 marked a turning point in the country’s history.
“His death was the catalyst that awakened many Filipinos out of passivity. It stirred our people from apathy and moved our nation to stage a non-violent campaign to fight a repressive regime,” he added.
For his part, former Manila mayor Lito Atienza said the death of Ninoy is a very significant day in the country’s history.
“It is a day that provided the basis for taking away our democratic rights, but also the day when we, as a people, found the spark of courage to unite in order to regain our freedom and democracy,” he said.
Atienza played a role in the anti-Marcos movement and was elected to the Batasang Pambansa by an indignant and united people. (From Philstar.com)