In a time of political turmoil and prices of necessities skyrocketing, we must envision the possibility of a more just society and an economy where we are more than barely surviving
We cannot talk about the Aquino parents-turned leaders without talking about the son. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who passed away rather quickly and shockingly on June 24, 2021 at 61 years old. Like his mother, he was successful at becoming president.
It seems a lot of his presidential victory was attributed to the popularity of his parents who were both deemed People Power heroes.
Notably, a year before the presidential elections, his mother, former president Cory Aquino, passed away too.
Her 40th day gave him a platform to announce his decision to run for the presidency.
Undeniably, these were huge factors to his win.
However, Noynoy Aquino himself led a strong campaign, utilizing the Filipino people’s feelings about Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s governance at the time.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration was tainted with scandal, corruption, and human rights violations.
The Hello Garci scandal alone, which erupted in 2005, was enough for Noynoy Aquino to build a campaign that pivots in an entirely opposite way.
He ran a campaign hinging on good governance with slogans like “matuwid na daan” and “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”
This campaign built on honesty also served as an implication that Noynoy, later called PNoy upon assuming presidency, will be the leader GMA was not able to become.
The political climate favored Noynoy Aquino perfectly.
I believe, though, that we must also recognize Noynoy Aquino’s achievements as president, outside of his electoral campaign or his parents.
First, he actually brought his anti-corruption campaign to the government when he was president. Under Aquino, top officials including three senators, were arrested for corruption. His government also prosecuted corruption within the military.
He made sure to give attention to the economy as well.
We achieved 6.2 percent GDP growth as well as investment-grade credit ratings encouraging economic growth.
With the economy expanding, it stimulated job creation and decreased poverty incidence from 26.3 percent to 21.6 percent.
Another presidential feat Noynoy Aquino faced was the pursuit of the West Philippine Sea, supposedly a part of South China Sea.
His administration courageously filed a case against China’s claims of the territory before The Hague. This was the same case that Manila won in 2016, after Aquino stepped down.
I will always admire Aquino standing firm to fight for Philippine sovereignty and territorial rights.
This is especially relevant today as we are plagued by questions on sovereignty and territorial integrity. In a time where the government appears to want to pit sovereignty and justice against each other, a reminder that they don’t have to be on opposite sides is good to have.
Like his parents, and like the presidents that came before him, Noynoy Aquino was not a perfect leader. His name was also marred by violations and questionable decisions.
We must not forget this either.
But I will always have space to appreciate what he has done for the Philippines, a space to commemorate his achievements.
I can only imagine how much harder it is for Noynoy Aquino, given that he was the son of two icons. When you have parents who are heroes, you are automatically on a pedestal.
And you have to either be as good as they are, or even better, to remain on the pedestal.
I admire his commitment to leadership despite the difficulty of filling in such big shoes, an honest form of leadership at that.
Noynoy Aquino is also a good reminder that we are never our parents.
We are our own people.
In the same vein, we must remain accountable for our actions—whether it is related to our parents’ previous actions or not.
I believe this is even more relevant to keep in mind today with the current administration.
In a time of political turmoil and prices of necessities skyrocketing, we must envision the possibility of a more just society and an economy where we are more than barely surviving.
Cory Aquino assisted in a future like this; her son, Noynoy Aquino did as well.
This only means that good possibilities remain on the horizon.
There are leaders who will steer the Filipino people towards hope, towards better lives, towards a better state of the nation.
In the meantime, we must remain steadfast in our beliefs and fight in the ways that we can.
Noynoy Aquino did exactly this.
We can too, whether we are Aquinos or not.