11 August 2009

GUEST BLOG: Corazon Aquino delivered democracy

Please take a few moments to read this guest blog by my longtime friend and collaborator Mila Glodava. Having introduced me to her homeland in the Philippines in 1993, Mila last year appointed me to the board of the Metro Infanta Foundation she founded to assist people in the Philippines. Mila is a much-decorated dreamer and a doer.

Corazon Aquino promised and delivered democracy far beyond Philippines
By Mila Glodava

When Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino became president of the Philippines in 1986, she sent me a letter thanking me for my expression of support. In that letter she also appealed to my “sense of patriotism” to do what I could in my sphere of influence to support her in her enormous task of nation building. As she suggested, in my own small capacity, I found ways to make a difference. Mrs. Aquino inspired me—and countless others--so her passing deeply saddened us.

Corazon C. Aquino, widow of Filipino charismatic leader and martyr Benigno Aquino, led a civil disobedience act against Dictator Ferdinand Marcos, when the latter decided to steal the election. The result was a toppling of the corrupt autocrat. Moreover, the revolution set a new standard because the movement was bloodless. Mrs. Aquino’s agenda was backed by what became known as “people power” and credited to the Filipino people’s steadfast faith in God. The turnabout was one of the most dramatic achievements in modern history. People Power toppled a powerful dictator and restored democracy, a feat that not a few world leaders would want to have on their resume.

Mrs. Aquino—the Filipina answer to Joan of Arc—set the stage for motivated uprisings in Burma (Myanmar), Pakistan, Eastern Europe, and South Korea, among other nations. These achievements alone have assured Mrs. Aquino and the Filipino people a special place in history –– to inspire generations upon generations to come.

Mrs. Aquino became the symbol of strength and integrity which she manifested during her term as president of the Philippines and even as she battled her illness from colon cancer. The world remembers her as "an icon of democracy."

In her effort to rebuild the country, she weathered at least nine coups, yet she persevered until she was able to turn over the presidency to a democratically elected president. Certainly, there is still much to be done in the islands of the Philippines, where change does not come easily after more than 20 years of alleged plunder and economic mismanagement, not to mention the effects of more than 380 years of foreign domination, including stretches under the thumbs of Spain, the United States, and Japan.

Mrs. Aquino gave the Filipino people what they only had dreamed of, or simply talked about, six years before she led the revolution to topple a dictator. Mrs. Aquino laid the foundation for progress in a truly democratic form of government. Like many Filipinos, I pray that her successors now benefiting under the democratic process of free election will continue what Mrs. Aquino started and will lead the country forward to what the Philippines once was before martial law.

In her death, Mrs. Aquino is, once again, reviving the spirit she inspired in 1986. Her death has reminded the Filipino people of that once glorious feat of courage. Perhaps her death will cause a conversion of heart for traditional politicians who are caught in the web of graft and corruption that now plague the country.

Mila Glodava, a native of the Philippines, lives in Arvada. A woman’s advocate and author of Mail Order Brides: Women for Sale, she founded the Metro Infanta Foundation to assist her homeland and Filipino people in need.


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