Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Yellow Ribbon for Tita Cory

by Carl Carino Taawan

The very first thing I remember about Aquino’s rule was when I was creating my own city on the ground as a child. I was playing with other children carving roadways from the dirt infront of our house loading our little trucks with pebbles and sands when suddenly we were mesmerized by thousands of armed men in trucks passing by the road. Later on I found out that they were the group of Balweg going down the mountain to talk peacefully to the newly elected president.

It was during her time that the solidarity of the Communist Party of the Philippines was shattered. Part of the party were in favor of her and to amnesty yet some were against it. The party was divided and their strength built during Marcos’ regime was never regained again as described in the book “The Journey of Edgar Jopson and the First Quarter Storm” by Benjamin Pimentel Jr.

Some would say Aquino wasn’t intelligent enough to be the president. She herself admitted it when she said "I don't know anything about the presidency” a year before she run against Marcos. And yes, when she was the president, there were stories about the manner she does things like she's doing chores in her own house. At one time I read about a joke told by James Baker that she didn’t get.

She may not have the IQ of many yet, I believe she started something that was denied to the Philippines for a long time, real freedom; one particular was the freedom of speech. Although Philippines have a high percentage of killings of journalists, I believe we do have the best freedom in the whole of Asia after the so-called iron-hand rule was ended.

Described by many as an iron-hand or dictatorship rule, many have bled to fight Marcos' regime and many lives were sacrificed. Marcos stunned the nation in November 1985 by calling a snap election in a bid to shore up his mandate. The opposition urged Aquino to run but the results favored Marcos. Journalist, foreign observers and church leaders alleged massive fraud.

Her fight after the snap election was the most dramatic in the history Philippine politics. During that time the citizens were called to help defend the military groups who mutinied against Marcos. "For the first time in the history of the world, a civilian population has been called to defend the military," Aquino said during the first people’s power revolution. Photos of nuns and civilians stopping tanks became icons etched in our minds.

On February 25, 1986, Marcos fled to the states and Aquino was sworn as president. Yes, a housewife who lead the Filipino people to a historic revolution that humbled a powerful enemy.

Her rule may not be the best that happened in the Country for like the others, there were many flaws. Even the Military group who put her to power tried to bring her down. But there is only one Edsa revolution and it may never happen again. And like the old country song where the yellow ribbon tied on the old oak tree was a symbol of hope, the yellow color symbolized the time when a nation’s hope for reform was realized.