By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
Thousands of people in yellow on Friday gathered at the Ninoy Aquino monument in Makati City to mark the 26th death anniversary of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino on Ayala Avenue.
Friday’s event was just as much a celebration of the life of former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, who died last August 1 after a year-long battle with colon cancer.
The present use of yellow gave new meaning to the color that has been identified with the martyred opposition leader and years later, his widow who toppled the Marcos dictatorship and rose to become the country’s president.
The program’s message on Friday remained the same: Injustice and oppression continue to linger and it must be fought.
This message was imparted to the 2,000 people who took part in the ecumenical service for the 26th death anniversary of Ninoy, who was gunned down at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport upon his return to the country from the United States in 1983.
The program consisted of a concert, candle-lighting, and release of balloons. It was organized by the Concerned Citizens’ Movement, the August 21 Movement (ATOM), and Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change.
Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who arrived around 5:20 p.m was warmly welcomed at the event.
Noynoy delivered a speech with the theme, “Dilaw sa Pagbabago (Yellow for Change).
A mass was celebrated by Father Joe Dizon as some 100 police and 30 security volunteers stood by to ensure peace and order.
The priest also formally launched the “Dilaw para sa Pagbabago,” a movement calling on all Filipinos to attach yellow ribbons to trees, their homes, cars and practically everywhere else.
“This is our mission and warning to those who oppose democracy. Aalisin natin ang mga mapagsamantala, hindi tayo mananahimik,” Dizon said.
For his part, Father Rex Reyes of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines hammered the point home, saying, “There is tyranny in our midst.”
“Ninoy, Cory showed us that a better Philippines is possible. The memory of these two will remain as memories unless we use their example in our own lives,” Reyes said.
In the middle of the ecumenical celebration, confetti in the form of small P500 bills bearing the face of Cory beside that of her beloved Ninoy were sent raining down the BPI building nearby.
Because of this, the amused people were momentarily distracted from the proceedings and began picking up the “cash” from the pavement. They turned their attention back to the service after pocketing a few of the souvenirs.
The area was filled with vendors of various Aquino memorabilia while Ayala Avenue corner Herrera, Ayala corner Paseo de Roxas, Ayala corner Makati Avenue, and Paseo de Roxas corner Dela Rosa were closed to traffic for the duration of the program. (PNA)