Elected Mindanao officials commemorated former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.’s 30th death anniversary on Wednesday, urging fellow Filipinos to replicate the former Tarlac solon’s heroism in restoring democracy and pushing the country to greater heights.
Representing Mindanao’s Muslim and Christian communities, four incumbent governors expressed beliefs that the nation’s woes in government corruption, climate change and security concerns could be well addressed with similar heroic sacrifices that the former senator tried to set for his countrymen.
Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remembered Ninoy as the “leading light” of current leaders in fighting for greater attention to the socio-economic and political instability in Southern Philippines.
“The late senator was not only a proponent of non-violence to combat repressive regimes but also a champion of Moro rights [for better governance],” said Hataman, a close ally of the slain solon’s son—President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino 3rd.
Ninoy’s fatal crusade for democracy inspired the present generations in Maguindnanao where tyranny once ruled for over a dozen of years, according to Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, whose rise to the provincial leadership followed the loss of his wife, relatives and friends in the infamous massacre of 58 people on November 23, 2009.
“He [Ninoy] would remain an inspiration among us,” the Maguindanao governor said.
Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur province expressed more sentimental recollection of the former Tarlac solon’s death, saying that Ninoy was a “close partner” of his grandfather, the late ex-Senator Domocao Alonto Sr., in the fight against the Martial Rule.
Adiong said his late father, undefeated Lanao del Sur governor and Congressman Mamintal Sr., pursued Ninoy’s crusade for democracy by personally helping protect the late Cory Aquino in the aftermath of the 1985 Presidential snap elections.
For her part, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza of North Cotabato province commemorated Ninoy’s death anniversary with her appreciation of the feats of local leaders in addressing both man-made and natural disasters in her province.
“As we commemorate Ninoy’s death, I salute the reconciliation of warring clans in a kanduli initiated by [Matalam] Mayor Oscar Valdevieso [and]the safe release of a kidnap victim in Midsayap town through the help of [Board Members] Dulia Sultan and Kelly Antao, councilor Litoy Papelera, and the close coordination of his family with the police and military as well,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza was referring to the covenant forging of feuding combatants of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Matalam town, and the freedom Wednesday of a student abducted early this month in Midasayap town. Moh I. Saaduddin