Duterte calls on gov't officials, citizens to emulate Ninoy Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – On Ninoy Aquino Day, President Rodrigo Duterte said the late democracy icon's commitment to freedom and his country should serve as a guide for government officials.

"Let us take this opportunity to reflect on his sacrifice as we honor the courage and patriotism that Ninoy demonstrated during his struggle. May his dedication to his cause serve as a guidepost for our current leaders in government as they advance the welfare of our people, especially the oppressed and marginalized," Duterte said in his Ninoy Aquino Day message on Tuesday, August 21.

He also called on Filipinos to emulate Aquino who fought to "restore peace and democracy."

"In this time of real and lasting change, we need more citizens like him so we can steer our country towards the direction where a brighter and better future awaits us all," the President said.

LOOK: #PresidentDuterte says Ninoy Aquino's love for country, struggle for freedom must serve as guidepost for country's leaders. Read his Ninoy Aquino day message below. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/5dSG7UFZNM — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) August 20, 2018


He also recalled the People Power Revolution sparked by Aquino's assassination on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport (now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) upon arriving from a 3-year self-exile in Boston, Massachusetts. (READ: LOOK BACK: The Aquino assassination)

"His profound love of country has inspired a revolution that altered the course of our nation's history and gave birth to the freedoms we enjoy today," Duterte said.

The former senator was one of the most prominent voices who fought the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. His assassination on the airport tarmac drove Filipinos to the streets to join what is now known as the EDSA People Power Revolution. (Watch Aquino's undelivered arrival speech here.)

His wife, Corazon Aquino, was elected president in 1986. His son, Benigno Aquino III, also served as Chief Executive before Duterte. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.