Friday, July 31, 2009

I’m Not Sure How I Look in Yellow

Hours ago, former Philippine President Corazon “Cory” Aquino died from cardiac arrest, a complication from her fight with colon cancer. Rest in peace.

Cory Aquino became president after running against President/Dictator Ferdinand Marcos when called for snap elections in 1986. Marcos was declared the winner of that election but outside observers and members of the election commission accused the vote of being manipulated. A People Power Revolution occurred and Marcos was forced to flee.

Although Aquino is credited with restoring democracy to the Philippines, she was a pretty ineffective president. She wanted to continue a good relationship with the Americans despite the fact that the United States had supported Marcos during his earlier years in power. The legislature, and especially the Senate, didn’t and she was unable to keep the US from being booted out of their military bases. Her peace overtures to the communist and Muslim rebels were unpopular with the conservative members of the government and she made little effective efforts in trying to help the poor.

After her presidency, she was involved in other political movements. She helped to overthrow President Estrada who was accused of plunder, a move she later regretted. She also had called for current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down as her government is accused of corruption.

Philippine politics is not a subject that I bring up with my mom’s or bio-mom’s families. Based on what I’ve observed, however, I don’t think that they are going to be mourning President Aquino’s passing. Both families come from the Illocos region which is where President Marcos was from. I think provincial loyalty to the Marcos family runs strong. When I was last there with my family we visited the Marcos house and even went to see the guy’s body. Yup, they’ve got him preserved and on display. I can understand why they liked Marcos. When you see it from their perspective, Marcos did bring some positive changes—and money to their area. Now the region is just another in a long list of regions in terms of political power. Plus, they don’t even have the money rolling in from the military bases either.

Yeah, sure, there is a lot that you can criticize Cory Aquino for. And if you’re like my family you can probably even argue that the Philippines of today is no better than it was under Marcos. But in the end, she did help bring about the end of a dictatorship. If the Filipino is worth dying for then I would hope they realize it themselves enough to take charge of their own futures. Maybe she was just that small spark—that hope for something more and better. If history judges her to be that, I think she's fine with it.

h/t to the Associated Press for putting up this video on youtube.

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