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'You do not have to be a Filipino to be inspired by Cory' |

Sunday Lifestyle

'You do not have to be a Filipino to be inspired by Cory'

- Alberto G. Romulo -

MANILA, Philippines - Ninoy Aquino believed that the Filipino is worth dying for. For this belief, he sacrificed his life.  

Like Ninoy I also believe Filipinos are worth dying for. For all our faults and shortcomings, whenever the occasion arises, our most admirable qualities emerge.

One of these is our shared value of “not forgetting our debt” — the Filipinos’ universal devotion to honoring debts of gratitude. Thus, it is profoundly moving to see hundreds of thousands of our countrymen, braving heat and rain, lining up for one last glimpse of their beloved Tita Cory. 

Each of them, in their own way, acknowledging the gift of democracy and freedom bequeathed to all of us by our Tita Cory. It is all the more inspiring to see this final tribute a spontaneous outpouring of genuine affection, not an organized undertaking.

I have a special debt to acknowledge. For I owe to Tita Cory my career in politics and government service.

I was in the private sector when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated. Because of that dastardly act of cowardice I decided to stand up and be counted. With Tita Cory’s endorsement and full support, I ran for a seat in the Batasan Pambansa and I won.

When she finally became president in 1986, Tita Cory wanted to entrust to me either of two of the most sensitive positions in her government. I chose one of them and I became her first budget secretary. With a gargantuan foreign debt including the graft ridden Bataan Nuclear Power Plan, she gave me — an inexperienced and untested commodity — the almost impossible task of trimming the budget deficit and still provide for basic and vital services for our people. She truly was a woman of faith and trust.

When the first senatorial elections under the 1987 Constitution came, Tita Cory again honored me with her trust and confidence. She selected me as one of the Admi–nistration’s senatorial candidates. But more, throughout the senate campaign, she gave my candidacy her unusual attention and concern including special appearances on my behalf along the campaign trail.

I was also fortunate during the campaign to have in my corner no less than Kris Aquino who personally campaigned for me during rallies and on television.

And naturally, with such formidable backing I won and was among the topnotchers in the election.

Just as I am truly indebted to Tita Cory for launching my career in public service, she has also served as my inspiration and model to be a public servant committed to honor, integrity and hard work.

It is a universal human aspiration to elevate oneself to a higher plane. And people are naturally inspired when they are in the presence of a person who embodies the highest and noblest ideals of public service.

You do not have to be an Indian to be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.

You do not have to be an African-American to be inspired by Martin Luther King.

And you do not have to be a Filipino to be inspired by Corazon Aquino.

In 1986, we regained our free-dom through a bloodless and peaceful “People Power” Revolution that inspired peoples everywhere.

President Cory Aquino — the courageous woman who led our country back to democracy — would say of our People Power, “The world wondered as (it) witnessed…a people lift themselves from the depths of humiliation to the peak of greatest pride.”

In 1986, democratic winds generated in the Philippines swept throughout the globe.

• Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy stood up for democracy in Burma’s only free elections and won overwhelmingly — and until today she remains unbowed and unyielding in the face of brutal military persecution and repression.

• The following year, in 1989, millions of viewers around the world witnessed the democracy movement led by students gathered at Tiananmen Square.

• Democracy forces rallied in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania.

• The Solidarity Movement liberated Poland.

• In East Germany, ordinary people themselves tore down the Berlin Wall.

• And in Wenceslas Square, the “Velvet Revolution” returned democracy to Czechoslovakia.

Spreading from Central and Eastern Europe to the Caucasus, democracy lifted the iron curtain and it ultimately swept away the Soviet Union and ended the cold war.

Today, we are witness again to this power to uplift and inspire.

To those of us who were at EDSA and are here today, we all remember the cause and are once again hopeful that after all these years, we may yet achieve those lofty aspirations.

To those who were not even born or too young to be at EDSA, but are present here today, your spontaneous outpouring of love and affection for Tita Cory shows that the ideal of People Power will never die but will forever shine and remain a source of inspiration to Filipinos of all generation.

We raise our voice to heaven and ask: Whence comes such another? Whence comes another Cory Aquino?

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