- President Aquino reminded Filipinos to protect the country’s hard-won freedom and prevent the repeat of martial law
- Aquino hosted his last Independence Day address as president of the Philippines
- He will be stepping down as president while Duterte takes office on June 30
Weeks before the new administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte takes over, President Benigno Aquino III urged Filipinos to defend their freedom and democracy, to remain vigilant, and warns of the horrors of martial law that could happen again.
Speaking on the 118th anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence, Aquino said Filipinos must prevent a repeat of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s 20-year rule, as per an article published by Manila Bulletin.
“Minsan nang inagaw ng kapwa natin Pilipino ang ating kalayaan. Ibig sabihin, kung hindi tayo magiging mapagmatyag, maaari uli itong mangyari,” Aquino said in his last Independence Day Vin d’Honneur speech as chief executive.
[We were once robbed of our freedom by a fellow countryman. This means if we are not vigilant, it could happen again.]
“As we enter a new chapter in our history, let us never forget: Freedom must be defended and protected. Everything that is of value must be worked for and fought for. As the writer Edmund Burke said: ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,’” he added.
A video script was played narrating, through the eyes of a young Aquino, the detention of his father the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. during martial law up to the latter’s assassination and the People Power Revolution of 1986 when then-President Ferdinand Marcos was ousted.
As Aquino prepares to hand over the presidency to Duterte in June 30, the incumbent president boasted of his administration’s achievements — claiming that he is leaving the country in better shape, as per an article published by GMA News.
Aquino said in his toast: “To our hard won Filipino freedom: Earned by the blood and sacrifice of martyrs, nurtured by the vigilance of an empowered people, may it never again be challenged, diminished, or negated.”