“The Filipino is worth dying for.”
Proclamation 1081 (Martial Law) was signed by then Pres. Marcos on September 21, 972. I was in high school. Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 (31 years ago today), I was a young mother then with an eleven-month old daughter. February 25, 1986 was the highlight of the return to democracy when Marcos and his family left Malacanang Palace for good after more than two decades of governing the land.
Watching the two-hour documentary today on the assassination of Ninoy and the presidency of Cory Aquino made me remember the dark days of Philippine history. I remember the bloody student demonstrations and rallies before martial law was declared. I remember the day when we could not even listen to news because radio and television channels were closed. The glorious days of a dictator just started, the ambitious dream of a man to rule by military power. He incarcerated his enemies including Ninoy Aquino, the man who could have been the greatest president of the Republic of the Philippines, the only powerful enemy that Marcos had. I watched the documentary with my son who kept asking questions what life was like during the martial law years and how the Filipino people were affected by Ninoy’s death. I wrote a blog about this before.
Prior to what we know now in history as the People Power Revolution, I was part of the crowd at Ayala Avenue throwing confetti and yellow flowers made of crepe paper every time there was a rally scheduled in Makati. Bank of PI (located at Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas) was at the center of those rallies and demonstration since the stage’s set-up was always facing our office building. Now, that area is occupied by a statue of Ninoy Aquino, a tribute to a hero.I remember collecting issues of the tabloid Malaya which was the only newspaper having regular reports of the assassination and how people reacted to it. I remember keeping a copy of a newspaper when the Marcos family left Malacanang to be exiled later in Hawaii. It was the day that ended a dictatorship.
Ah, those moments of happy celebration when all Ayala employees and their subsidiaries joined the merry dance at Ayala Avenue led by our big boss, Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. You can just imagine people in corporate attires dancing to the tune of Tie a Yellow Ribbon and laughing out loud – the days when democracy was truly restored in our land.
He said, ” I believe that the Filipino will respond to the call to greatness not by coercion but by persuasion, not by intimidation but through the ways of freedom”. May his legacy lives on and may the youth of today appreciates and remember what he did for our country.
Ninoy Aquino, my own personal hero.
Photo courtesy of ayalatriangle.com