PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday urged all Filipinos to do what they can to safeguard the freedoms they enjoy now while helping serve their fellow men.
In his message to commemorate the death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the President also encouraged those in government to draw inspiration from the life of the late senator as they serve the people and practice a life with honor and purpose.
“May this auspicious occasion remind us of what we had lost so that we may remain committed to our solemn duty to safeguard the freedoms that we enjoy. I also hope that Ninoy’s remarkable life as a public servant will move my fellow government workers to serve with honor, integrity and purpose as well as inspire our youth to be of service to their country and fellowmen,” he said.
Duterte also urged everyone to help government uplift and protect the most vulnerable in society and ensure that everyone continues to enjoy the blessings of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
Aquino, a staunch critic of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was assassinated upon his return to the country on August 21, 1983.
Duterte said Aquino’s death and “sacrifice had altered the course of our nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirit of heroism among our people.
The family, friends and supporters of Aquino gathered yesterday at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City to commemorate his 36th death anniversary.
Present were the Aquino sisters – Balsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, along with her sons Joshua and Bimby, but former President Benigno “Noynoy” ‘Aquino III was under the weather and did not attend.
Kris delivered a short speech on behalf of his brother, saying: “These three years have been tough for him. I’m sure dad will forgive if I make this about Noy. Hindi dapat kinu-crucify ang naging mabuting tao.”
Kris also hinted that she may run in 2022 but did not specify what particular position.
Former senator Bam Aquino said Ninoy did not lose hope because his love for his country never faded. “Bawal maubos ang ating pagmamahal sa bayan,” he said.
Former senator Antonio Trillanes III said it is important to commemorate the sacrifices of Ninoy because “he offered his life to enable us to regain our freedom and democracy.”
Also present during the affair were August 21 Movement’s Reli German, People Power Volunteer Revolution for Reform’s Atty. Aleta Tolentino, former senators Rene Saguisag and Jun Magsaysay, former Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Tourism secretary Mon Jimenez, and former Budget secretary Butch Abad.
A similar program was held in Quezon City, with Mayor Joy Belmonte calling on fellow workers in government to reflect on Aquino’s commitment in serving the people and the country.
“On this day, 36 years ago, Ninoy died courageously in the name of people’s rights and freedom.
May Ninoy’s selfless deed make us, public servants, realize democracy’s fullest meaning for our people,” Belmonte said. (J. Montemayor with R. Lagusad, Malaya)