MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III on Friday led the commemoration of the 32nd martyrdom anniversary of his father, the late former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
President Aquino went to the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City to join family and friends in offering prayers for his father who was assassinated.
The President was joined by his sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino-Dee and Pinky Aquino-Abellada in offering prayers for their martyred father.
Liberal Party standard-bearer Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Budget Secretary Butch Abad also attended the activity.
Groups also commemorate the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino by offering flowers at the tarmac of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) where he was killed on August 21, 1983.
Last Thursday, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma Jr. said the commemoration of the 32nd death anniversary of Ninoy reaffirms every Filipino’s responsibility to help achieve freer society and national development.
Coloma said Ninoy Aquino, who selflessly offered his life for the restoration of democracy in the country, continues to inspire generations of Filipinos to overcome difficulties and challenges in attaining their aspirations for a better future.
August 21 is a non-working holiday which commemorates the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983. It is known as the “Araw ng Kabayanihan ni Ninoy Aquino.”
Aquino was a prominent critic of former President Ferdinand Marcos. When Marcos declared Martial Law in September 1972, Aquino was one of those imprisoned.
While in prison, he continued to campaign for democracy and even stood for election.
In 1980, he suffered two heart attacks and was permitted to seek medical treatment in the United States, where he remained in exile for about three years.
He wanted to challenge Marcos in a parliamentary election and on August 21, 1983, while he was being escorted off the airplane at the former Manila International Airport, he was shot dead.
The assassination led to a major political upheaval in the Philippines and in 1986, after a snap presidential election, his widow Corazon Aquino was elected president.
The holiday was first celebrated in 2004 after the issuance of Republic Act 9256.
The holiday was included in former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “holiday economics” policy, which adjusted holidays to form longer weekends to promote local tourism.
It was however moved back to its original date of August 21, in 2010 by President Aquino.