Letters to the Editor

Passing the torch, fulfilling the quest


Your Excellency, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Members of the EDSA People Power Commission, Distinguished Guests, My Fellow Awardees Ladies and Gentlemen:

Other than being a recipient of this presidential distinction, the Legion of Honor, which our family’s posterity will long cherish, your Chair Wrecker has been doubly privileged to speak for and on behalf of fellow Awardees  Fr. James Reuter, SJ and Mr. Napoleon Rama.

It is hoped that a misimpression is not unduly created by circumstances surrounding this event. It is certainly not the intention of our President to only honor those who are either VERY DEAD or VERY CLOSE TO IT.

There is no denying that Fr, Reuter, Nap and your Chair Wrecker are already in what can be considered life’s PRE-DEPARTURE AREA. This is one time when a terribly delayed flight is greatly appreciated. If we will have our way, FLIGHT CANCELLED would be the ultimate wish.

Seriously speaking, there is a common denominator that all six of us who have been awarded the Presidential Legion of Honor share. In our own little way, we were among those who tried to provide a light to a darkened period in Philippine history.

Ignorance, the fear to know the unpalatable and public apathy  all form the conditions which perpetuate tyranny. We tried in our own little way to provide the circle around us, the light to see what is truly happening, and where the evil acts of those in power then will eventually bring us.

There are many of us who were involved in those great historic developments of 1986 that will bear witness that we attained what we did only because of the intervention of the Hand of the Almighty. We all faced seemingly insurmountable odds which were humanly impossible to conquer. That we did conquer these seemingly insurmountable odds, we prefer to credit not to ourselves but to the Almighty. Our 1986 adventure with People Power could have turned into our worst fears and nightmare but thank God that it didn’t.

Looking at what has been happening in the Middle East, where people are also trying to stage their own adventure with People Power, we doubly appreciate how things turned out in our country in 1986.

Perhaps, the Hand of the Almighty had also arranged this confluence of events to instill a realization in us Filipinos who provided the world with this romantic inspiration called People Power.

How come, that at a time when we are to mark the 25th anniversary of People Power, this demonstration of People Power inspiration happens in the most unlikely region in the world where one would expect it to flourish?

How come, that at this time when we’re marking the 25th anniversary of People Power, the only son of the twin inspiration of People Power  Ninoy and Cory Aquino  is now sitting as president of our country? Who would be better tasked to see that People Power achieves its full bloom for our nation?

Could this be what Germany’s Otto Von Bismarck described as one of those instances when God is once again marching through history? Don’t you hear the footsteps of God in this recent uncanny confluence of events?

If indeed these are the footsteps of God we are hearing marching through history, surely it is not to give us Filipinos a pat in the back. The world stopped to give us a pat in the back when we ousted a dictator 25 years ago in 1986. However, there are many things that have happened in our country as well as many things that have not happened in our country which cannot entitle us to a pat in the back at this time.

This 25th anniversary of People Power should prod every Filipino to ponder the final task of People Power which is that of Filipinos uplifting the lives of all other Filipinos.

We have to address the Information, Education and Opportunity Gaps that create the dangerous Wealth Gap in our country.

We have to repair our damaged culture and along with it  erase our culture of corruption.

We have to improve the standard of living of the bottom 30 percent of our society, the impoverished four million or so poor Filipino souls who can turn this country into endless cycles of strife and carnage if their plight remains unaddressed.

It is said that only the poor can help themselves  but not alone. That is the job for People Power. Filipinos must now be the light to fellow Filipinos wallowing in darkness.

Thank you once again, Mr. President. Thanks to all of you and God bless us all and our beloved country.

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