Six decades ago, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. covered the Korean War for The Manila Times.
Aquino was only 17 years old when The Times sent him to the frontline to write about the Filipino troops in the United Nations coalition fighting North Korean and later Chinese troops in the Korean peninsula.
On Friday, Ninoy’s son, President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd, accepted a posthumous award in behalf of his father for “gallantry and valuable contribution for world peace and freedom.”
The award was given by the Korea Journalists Society and the Korea War Correspondents Association.
During a toast at a state dinner later, South Korean President Park Geun-hye also lauded Ninoy’s service as war correspondent.
”Senator Aquino, who in those days had actually been 17 years of age, reported that he was 18 years old as a war correspondent who roamed the fields of battle together with some 7,400 Filipino troops who were sent to Korea. And through his writings that would later become history, let the world know how the war was unfolding,” Park said.
”As I see it, that sacrifice and dedication have been passed down to the new generation paving the way to a precious meeting today. May the events today mark the beginning of deeper ties of friendship between our countries and a happier future awaiting both our peoples,” she added.
President Aquino recalled how Filipinos and Koreans fought together in 1950.
“Just as we were partners in the past, today we remain committed to assisting one another, standing shoulder to shoulder in working to foster peace, stability and cooperation in our part of the world,” Aquino said.
Ninoy started his journalism career at The Times. As correspondent, he sent dispatches from around Southeast Asia.
Asked why The Times assigned Ninoy to Korea when he was so young, Joaquin “Chino” Roces, The Times’ publisher at the time, said, “That was the recommendation of the editor.”