Sunday, August 9, 2009

Remembering Corazon Aquino

After losing her battle with cancer, does the rest of the world still care about Tita Cory’s contribution to the betterment of Philippine society?

By: Ringo Bones

To those Filipinos old enough to remember the hardships of the “Marcos Dictatorship”, the banning of the 1970s era anime called Voltes V was probably the last straw. Never mind the late, former dictator’s first lady Imelda Marcos’ tacit complicity (or was it really her idea) to assassinate Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. (Corazon Aquino’s husband) back in August 21, 1983 after returning to his homeland to start a peaceful revolution against the Marcos dictatorship.

The assassination of his husband – which is still unsolved till this day by the way - is primarily what dragged a nondescript Filipino homemaker named Corazon “Cory” Aquino into the limelight of Philippine politics. After running against then Philippine “President for Life” Ferdinand E. Marcos and losing against him in a sham election. Corazon Aquino managed to pull of a miracle when the entire Philippine nation rallied with her – remember the yellow ribbons and confetti - in a bloodless coup that finally put an end to the Marcos dictatorship back in February 25, 1986. That became famously known as the EDSA Revolution, not to mention after being sworn in as the new President of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino was chosen as Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 1986. Not to mention her approval in allowing to display Imelda Marcos’ abandoned 3,000 pairs of shoes in an ad hoc “museum of infamy”. Corazon Aquino will forever be inexplicably linked to Imelda Marcos’ Filipino-poverty-funded “shoe fetish”.

During her presidency, Corazon Aquino’s term in office was probably the most coup-infested administration in the history of the Philippines. Even though her economic reforms made a majority of Filipino’s improve their economic status by a few notches the corruption culture that was set-up during the Marcos Dictatorship was still there. And this is still an on-going social justice issue that is driving the corruption and extra-judicial murder spree during the Estrada Administration. The Philippine labor force were “Going Galt” in droves so to speak (like in that famous Ayn Rand novel), by choosing cushy jobs overseas. Making patriotism still synonymous with poverty till this day.

Even though every Filipino old enough to remember the EDSA Revolution of 1986 will forever owe her a debt of gratitude after freeing us from the thrall of the Marcos dictatorship, an overwhelming of Corazon Aquino’s critics still question her overuse of her policy of reconciliation. Especially those in the small business community where they loss between 1.5 to 3 million pesos (about US$30,000 to 60,000) a year during the corruption plagued presidency of Joseph Estrada. Corazon Aquino’s “reconciliation” with the “ethically challenged” former president Estrada is probably one of her –if not – her greatest political mistakes. Add to that the increasingly “politically empowered” Catholic Church which many ethnic Muslims are now questioning the increasingly “Papist leaning” Philippine political system at a time where a thriving Islamic community from various parts of the world has been increasingly doing their part in strengthening the economic prosperity of the Philippines in recent years.

Even though her administration did create scores of politically unintended consequences that still haunts us to this day – i.e. an increasingly Papist leaning state – we “older” Filipinos still chose to remember the former Philippine President Corazon Aquino as our savior that delivered us from the clutches of the Marcos dictatorship. Especially at a time when the Reagan Administration became very busy propping up dictators around the world that loved the smell of American money. Tita Cory (Aunt Cory) will forever be remembered for her People Power revolution, a bloodless coup that ended a 20-year reign of terror.