Jun 25, 2012

Ninoy Aquino Day 2012: Remembering the Fight for Democracy

Ninoy Aquino Day 2012 (Araw ng Kabayanihan ni Ninoy Aquino) is a Philippine non-working holiday celebrated every August 21 to commemorate the death of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. who was assassinated on August 21, 1983.

 

Who was Aquino?

Benigno Ninoy Aquino Statue

via: Frisno

Aquino was an outspoken critic and main political rival of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Because of his tirades against the dictatorship of Marcos, he was imprisoned for eight years during which he continued to actively campaign for his country’s freedom from Martial Law. After suffering a heart attack, he and his family moved to the United States where he sought medical treatment and continued to fight for democracy.

In 1983, despite the warnings and opposition of his friends and colleagues, Aquino decided to return to the Philippines and run against Marcos in the 1984 parliamentary elections. Despite having security personnel, Aquino was fatally shot while he was disembarking from a plane at the Manila International Airport. It is popularly believed that Marcos or his wife, Imelda, had ordered the assassination, but to this day, the person behind his untimely demise remains a mystery. More importantly, his death became a catalyst for the 1986 People Power Revolution which eventually led to the downfall of the Marcos Regime and the restoration of democracy. His widow, Corazon Aquino, was then sworn in as president of the Philippines.

On February 25, 2004, almost twenty-one years after Aquino’s assassination, President Arroyo declared August 21 as Ninoy Aquino Day. A ceremony was then held at the People Power Monument to remember Aquino and the life he risked and lost for his country’s freedom. Friends and family of Aquino, politicians, and military personnel attended this event. However in 2007, controversy would arise as President Arroyo, under the Holiday Economic Law would change Ninoy Aquino Day to the Monday nearest to August 21. Many people considered the three-day weekend as an unnecessary disruption of businesses and government office activities. In 2010, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Ninoy Aquino’s son, would eventually return the holiday to its original August 21 date.

 

How Ninoy Aquino Day Affects Us Today

Ninoy Aquino Day

via: Jun Acullador

Today, many of the younger generations simply see Ninoy Aquino Day as another welcome break from school activities or office work. But for those who lived through the dark days of Martial Law, Ninoy Aquino Day is truly a day of remembrance. Such was the impact of his death that to this day many people still remember what they were doing when they received the tragic news of his death. Both local and overseas (many of Marcos’ rivals had to flee the country) Filipino communities celebrate it with quiet solemnity or with joyous pomp. Aside from remembering Aquino’s untiring campaign to restore democracy to the Philippines, people also take this as an opportunity to hold gatherings and acknowledge other lesser known people who also sacrificed many things for their country’s freedom. It is common for societies and organizations to hold celebrations on this day and give out awards to deserving members of the community. For them Ninoy Aquino isn’t just another break but a day to remember the price many heroes had to pay to regain our democracy.

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  1. Holidays in the Philippines 2012 || GoodBuyHolidays.com - [...] 21, 2012 – Ninoy Aquino Day / Ngoy Anquino Day / Araw ng Kabayanihan ni Ninoy [...]

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