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August 5, 2009
Thousands mourn Philippine “mother of democracy”

Tens of thousand of Filipinos turned out in Manila on Wednesday for the funeral of the woman they called the mother of democracy — Corazon Aquino.

Aquino led the pro-democracy People Power revolution in the 1980s and was president of the Philippines for six years.

Worldfocus partner Al Jazeera English reports on the funeral and what the future holds for politics in the Philippines.

Filipina blogger Aileen Siroy describes what Aquino meant to her and the country:

Why I cried buckets when Cory died and while watching the necrological service and requiem mass was because I was sad at the passing of an amazing woman who sacrificed a lot to bring back democracy and freedom to this country. She has given us these amazing gifts which we are enjoying now, and I feel like I’ve lost someone very close to me.

I cannot imagine living in fear. I cannot imagine waking up realizing I have been or any of my loved ones kidnapped, murdered, or disappeared without a trace.

I cannot imagine a life without freedom to express my opinions and thoughts. I cannot imagine even basic rights being suppressed. If Ninoy and Cory did not choose to give their lives, I might have already been a prisoner (or worse killed) for rebellion. Rebelde ra ba gyud kaau ko.

I don’t think another leader will have another funeral procession like this.

View a slideshow of mourners in the Philippines from Flickr user thepocnet under a Creative Commons license.

Vince Celeste attended the mass on Wednesday and provides an account of the experience:

It really feels different to be there near the casket of Cory who was lying in state just few meters away than watching it on the television just like yesterday. I contently stood up at the right aisle of the Cathedral near the choir’s place until I went out. Walking together with the people going out from the Cathedral up to the main street made me feel proud to be in solidarity with those who were not able to get inside during the requiem mass. It worth the presence.

This attendance completed my sense of being a Filipino, and made me proud being part of the crowd admiring Cory Aquino’s legacy. In solidarity with all the Filipino people, I must say, “Mabuhay ka, Tita Cory!”

Watch a video from a gathering earlier in the week, when Aquino’s casket was transferred to the Manila Cathedral:

Blogger Ryan Ericson Canla describes the leader’s legacy:

I was born during the time that the martial law was still in effect. I was a toddler when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated. I saw his funeral and his coffin was placed in a truck as well same as his wife Cory Aquino’s funeral march. I grew up to know and admire President Cory Aquino. I will long to treasure and cherish these memories for as long as I live. We only get to pass this life once and we only get to have a Cory Aquino once in a lifetime. We are lucky to have witnessed her life until the very last day that she remained faithful and hopeful to God, to the Nation and to the Filipino People. Besides, she is too blessed after all to be forgotten… Thank you President Cory Aquino!

A blogger at the “Pinoy Sounding Board” argues that Aquino’s death will have political ramifications:

There will be elections next year; a legacy that Mrs. Aquino has certainly affirmed with her death.  People will certainly not permit another abuse against democracy and freedom and the masses of people gathering these past days to give their final respect to Mrs. Aquino is only a glimpse of the millions of people who will certainly proceed to voting precincts to cast their votes.

Goodbye dear President.  In your death, you have revived the slumber of a nation and had sent the proud to their knees.

Blogger James Perez takes a more skeptical tone, writing that the mass mourning for Aquino will not translate into real change for the Philippines:

right at this very moment, most Filipino people are being overwhelmed by the death of former president aquino, well not me. one thing that Ive noticed for the past several days, may it be from the media or any random people i met, is that they see this “event” as an “awakening” a “democratic cry” or for exaggeration purposes, “rebirth.” surely her death caused thousands and thousands of people to gather but it doesn’t mean that life will change after this. of course, i have high hopes for our country,in fact, i really don’t want to go abroad to work, but we’ve seen this instance a lot of times, people gathering around from all walks of life trying to compensate for their irresponsible behavior by participating on such. yes, i understand that, standing for three hours or more under the rain just to see the woman behind the yellow persona, is such an amazing experience but how would that bring about change, if after which, we’re going to again, be the same old Filipino’s, mrs. aquino prays for. i feel for the aquino family, my lolo passed away weeks ago and i also feel for my fellow countrymen, you mourn, you grief, you pray and you pray really hard but still those are not enough for change. only one thing is for sure, life goes on, with or without the color yellow.

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