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Sen Aquino asks Filipinos to secure democracy

Posted on: August 21, 2009

Sen Aquino asks Filipinos to secure democracy

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:23:00 08/21/2009

Filed Under: Heroism, Politics

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 4) Senator Benigno Aquino III has called on every Filipino to secure the democracy that his parents have fought for, saying, “The ball is now in our hands.”

The young Aquino made the call Friday before a crowd that gathered at the monument of his father, former senator Benigno Aquino Jr., in Makati City to commemorate the 26th anniversary of his death.

“My parents have genuine faith in democracy. They believe the key to democracy is stability of consensus in place of opression. Now it is our turn to secure the democracy they [my parents] fought for. Alone I am weak but together we are strong. The ball is now in our hands. Ituloy natin ang laban [Let us continue the fight]!” he told the people as he flashed the familiar “L” sign for “laban” (fight), which his mother, the late president Corazon Aquino had used in her own campaign against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos more than 20 years ago.

Thousands of people in yellow gathered at the Ninoy Aquino monument and gave new meaning to the color that has been identified with the martyred opposition leader and years later his widow.

A mass was celebrated by Father Joe Dizon as some 100 police and 30 security volunteers stood by to ensure peace and order.

In his homily, Father Rex Reyes said, “Ninoy and Cory [nickname of the late president Corazon Aquino] did not die for faceless people because these people are seen on the streets. Their sacrifice can’t go on without any response. All of us are called to become a nation,” said Rex.

During the wreath laying ceremony earlier Friday, Dizon urged Filipinos, especially as the 40th day of Cory Aquino’s death aproaches, to wear yellow and tie yellow ribbons on trees and buildings to signal that the people were ready to take action and defend democracy in the country.

Dizon said the yellow ribbon would unite Filipinos here and abroad and serve as a reminder of everyone’s responsibility to reform the country.

“Through the ribbon, we can say enough is enough of greed, corruption, and bad governance,” Dizon said in Filipino.

Before the mass, the crowd danced to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” Aquino’s signature song, and waved “laban” (fight) signs.

“In commemorating the 26th death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino, we give a new meaning to yellow. From being the sign of hope in the Edsa revolution, yellow has come to mean transformation. Yellow ribbons will conect Ninoy and Cory, and so Filipinos should tie yellow ribbons to remember our two contemporary heroes, said Patricia Sison, spokeswoman of the Concerned Citizens Movement.

Among the personalities present were Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Gina de Venecia and Joey de Venecia, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, former vice president Teofisto Guingona, former senator Agapito “Butz” Aquino, Linda Aquino Vargas, Aloy Lim, wife of detained Brigadier General Danny Lim, and Maur Lichauco, best friend of Mrs. Aquino.

Representatives from Bayan Muna, Spirit of Edsa, Aliance of Concerned Teachers, youth members from the Gawad Kalinga of the University of Makati, the August Twenty One Movement (Atom) and several church groups were also present.

Balloons with the image of the Aquinos were released at about 4 p.m.

From the Bank of the Philippine Islands office along Ayala, members of the Peace, Love and Revolution showered confetti made up of the proposd P500 bill with the faces of the Cory and Ninoy Aquino.

Aquino Jr. was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983 on the tarmac of the former Manila International Airport, renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) allegedly by a lone gunman who was identified as Rolando Galman.

Galman was killed immediately by airport security but the Aquinos did not believe that he was the assassin.

Over a dozen security personnel were later convicted in the death of Aquino, all of who have been ordered released years after by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on humanitarian grounds

Aquino’s death became the catalyst that would lead to the ouster of the Marcoses in 1986 in a military-backed bloodless revolution that would install Cory as president.

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