Today, the Philippines is celebrating a National Holiday called the Ninoy Aquino Day. Ninoy was a historic figure whose death served as a catalyst that launched the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 deposing the dictatorial leadership of then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Pres. Ferdinand Marcos was the 10th president of the Philippines who ruled the nation for 20 years from 1965 to 1986. Many Filipinos believed that Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983 by the Marcos regime.
One of the most remembered quotes of Ninoy prior to his death was “The Filipino is worth dying for…”, but many missed the full statement made by Ninoy which laid out his thoughts on the weaknesses of the Filipinos.
“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?
I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource.”, by Sen. Benigno Aquino during his speech before the Asia Society in New York, August 4 1980.
Is his speech still relevant today after 32 years of this death? Has the nation learned from the errors of the past? Has corruption been stopped which was what the People Power Revolution was fighting for?
Let me answer this question by employing the same speech style of Ninoy…
I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for?
… Is he not a copy cat of foreign cultures other than his own and is ashamed to be called a Filipino carrying a brown passport?
… Is a Filipino a born anarchist where laws and rules are but just for the poor to follow?
… Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for a democratic form of government where leaders are voted not because of what they can do for the country but what they could provide to enrich himself immoraly?
… Is the Filipino worth dying for? No!
Photo courtesy of Ken and Lupita Kashiwahara
Speech excerpt from SocialChanges Blog