Malacañang on Wednesday called on Filipinos to remember the martyrdom of opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and asked that young people–who may not have been born yet when he was assassinated in 1983–to follow the model that he set.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued the statement on the eve of the 31st anniversary of Aquino’s homecoming and assassination at the international airport that now bears his name.
“Thirty-one years ago, Ninoy Aquino came home to prove that the Filipino is worth dying for. He joined the ranks of the martyrs who stood for our national freedom and integrity: Jose Rizal, Jose Abad Santos and Ninoy Aquino’s fellow victims of martial law,” Lacierda said in a news conference.
Aquino, the father and namesake of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, flew home from exile in the United States on August 21, 1983, despite warnings that he would be killed upon his return.
His assassination shocked not only the country but the rest of the world and awakened the entire Filipino nation, which started a series of protests, rallies, marches and demonstrations throughout the Philippines.
According to Lacierda, former senator Aquino’s “supreme sacrifice” was one of ultimate faith in the Philippines and his fellow Filipinos—anchored on the principle that only peaceful reconciliation with justice would achieve the restoration of democracy.
“As we pause in prayer and reflection, let us revisit Ninoy Aquino’s undelivered arrival statement, which is available in the original English and Filipino translation on the Official Gazette,” he said.
“Let us pledge to transmit his thoughts and the reasons he took his fateful stand to the generations who were not yet around in 1983, but who continue to enjoy the freedom of choice, thought and expression that he fought and died for, and which characterizes our country today,” Lacierda added.
Malacanang reminded the public that August 22, Friday, is not a holiday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Hermnio Coloma Jr. said August 22 will be a regular working day.
The nation will commemorate Ninoy Aquino Day on August 21, Thursday, while National Heroes Day will be observed on August 25, Monday.
Ninoy Aquino Day is a special non-working day, while National Heroes Day is a regular holiday.
Coloma said the Aquino family will hold a simple gathering to commemorate the death of former senator and democracy icon Ninoy Aquino.