President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred on Saturday morning the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Supremo on the late Joaquin “Chino” Roces and five Legion of Honor Awards with the rank of Commander to the late Teodoro Benigno and the late U.S. Rep. Stephen Solarz, as well as Fr. James Reuter (SJ), Napoleon Rama and Billy Esposo.
The awarding was held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang as part of the weeklong celebration of the 25th anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution.
In a speech, the President said it has recently become fashionable to point out the unfulfilled promises of EDSA with some daring to say that “maybe a one-man rule was not such a bad idea, never mind the oppression and the lack of liberties.”
“It is true that much remains to be resolved. But at the same time, who could deny what we have already achieved? Are we not better off today than we were a generation ago? Have we not finally regained the respect of the global community as a beacon of democracy? Are we not on the way to becoming a more equitable society,” he asked.
The President said he disagreed because “I do not think we would have become another Singapore had we stayed the course with Marcos. Singapore is one of the richest countries in Southeast Asia; it’s a place where poverty has become an exception, and where there is a growing room for artistic expression. This was not the case during Martial Law. During those dark years, inequality worsened and free expression was stifled. We were far from becoming another Singapore. Were it not for EDSA, we probably could have become another Libya,” he said.