I wish I could say that I was always a huge supporter of Cory. I wish I could say that I always had been an avid admirer of the former president and had followed her life from day one.
But I can’t. In fact I had not been aware of the GRAVITY and EXTENT of what she had done for this country till the past four days. I was barely three months old when the 1986 EDSA Revolution (more commonly known as “People Power”) broke out, and the 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines was catapulted into power.
Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, “plain housewife”, widow of Senator Benigno Aquino, assassinated in the frenzy of Marcos dictatorial rule.
The People Power Revolution was a series of NONVIOLENT and PRAYERFUL mass street demonstrations in the Philippines that occurred in 1986. It was the inspiration for subsequent non-violent demonstrations AROUND THE WORLD including those that ended communist rule in Eastern Europe (wikipedia.com).
These protests were the culmination of a long resistance by the people against the 20-year running authoritarian regime of then president Ferdinand Marcos and made news headlines as “the revolution that surprised the world” (wikipedia.com).
The subsequent events leading to Marcos’ flee to the United States installed Cory Aquino into power, brought about by a snap election. In other words, it was Cory Aquino who was responsible for bringing back DEMOCRACY to this beautiful nation. And for that alone, I am eternally grateful. Because of her life, courage, character, strength and principles I and the rest of my countrymen stand free today.
I know that countless people have a lot of negative things to say about this country and its citizens. But more often than not, it’s our own lips that destroy each other. They say that you can judge a person’s character based on what will be said at their funeral. Clearly President Aquino wasn’t one of those people. Her husband made famous the phrase, “The Filipino is worth dying for”, and President Aquino made sure that every moment of her life embodied that. She was a beacon of light and her entire life really was an inspiration and a dedication to us.
Last night my best friend and I braved the streets of Intramuros and stood in line for four hours just to pay our last respects to the late president. We got rained on, bore the floods, the sweat, the umbrellas nearly gouging our eyes, the rancid smell of feces, and basically experienced the daily life of majority of the Filipino people. May I be reminded each time I even THINK of complaining, please.
We are a poor country. I will not deny that. Materially, economically, we may not be on the UN’s list of World’s Poorest Countries but the fact that the streets of this nation are lined with poverty speaks for itself. But culturally, spiritually, relationally…………..
……………. we may just top the charts. And we have President Aquino to thank for that. Because of her we are a free nation. There is democracy running through our veins, through our political systems, DESPITE the fact that there is corruption and that there is injustice.
So I will never forget what this woman stood for and what she gave my country– the hope that she offered to the HOPELESS and the comfort she tried to give to take away from the people’s brokenness. The mother of democracy in this nation has gone ahead of us but her legacy didn’t end on the first of August. IT LIVES ON TODAY.
President Aquino, what you left behind I PROMISE will resound in my life and my children WILL know about the woman who was brave enough to fight for truth so their mother can grow up in a free country… they WILL know, no matter which country I end up raising my kids in, I promise you that…. The reason I so adamantly persisted to brave the rains and the thousands of people at Intramuros last night was cause I wanted to pay my last respects to Tita Cory and I wanted her family to know that they are not alone, that their mother was loved, and for the second and last time, catch a glimpse of the face of the woman I and my fellow Filipinos will forever be indebted to. I would be lying if I said that I loved every second of waiting in line and having contaminated, disgusting water up to my mid-legs but I did value it. I cherish it. And I would do it all over again just to let the Aquino family know that I appreciate, respect, and love their mother for what she stood for. It’s true what they say on TV. It breaks my heart that I don’t know when the next time will be that a Filipino president’s death will receive this much affection and attention. I don’t know.
But I do know that I have never loved my country more, and that I have never been more proud to be a Filipino than I am right now. I know God chose to put me in this country for a reason, and just like President Aquino, I wanna be of service to it in any way I can. No matter what I end up doing for a living.
So carry on, Tita Cory, you’re with the Father now. And rest assured that you’ve made your mark and left an impact on us. Just as we seek to worship God in spirit and in truth, so we seek to honor your death and life not just with our lips, but in action. There has never been a Filipino president as loved as you are.
Rest easy now, and I hope they love you up there like we do……… forever.
You outdid yourself.