Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Philippine democracy icon and former senator Bengino “Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. and a group commemorated the occasion by also holding a Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the West Philippine Sea.
U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance Marianas Chapter chair Dr. Celia Lamkin said her group is taking its cue from the sacrifices made by Aquino, whose assassination on Aug. 21, 1983, led to the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“Ninoy Aquino went back to the Philippines after three years of exile in the U.S. to restore democracy in the Philippines. We commemorate the anniversary of his assassination because he inspired the Filipino people to rise up against the Marcos dictatorship to restore democracy in the Philippines as proven by the People Power Revolution on Feb. 25, 1986. As a result, Filipinos proved to themselves that people have the power to change the government and do system change.”
Lamkin hopes that Filipinos, including those abroad like in the CNMI, can once again unite, this time to counter the People Republic of China’s intrusion into the Western Philippine Sea, which she said is clearly Philippine territory because it falls inside the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
“His martyrdom shows that Filipino people can stand up against oppression. And if all Filipinos can unite and have one voice, we can still show that China cannot get our territories.”
The Global Day of Prayer for Peace was held at the Minatchdom Atado Pavilion Wednesday night and drew a total of 50 participants.
Lamkin read a message from USP4GG national chair Loida Nicolas Lewis where she urged the crowd to fight China with “worship” and not “warships.”
Rudy Francisco, a native of Palawan, which is close to Scarborough Shoal, also spoke and said that Chinese fishing boats have been entering and illegally fishing in Philippine waters for many years now.
There were also video showings about the West Philippine Sea and Ninoy Aquino’s life.
Lamkin said they could’ve had more attendees but heavy rain resulted in a lower number of participants, unlike the July 24 rally when Saipan had one of the largest number of attendees outside of the Philippines.
“Despite not having a Chinese consulate on Saipan, there were more than a hundred participants in the July 24 protest rally against China. In the Philippines, there were more than a thousand participants; in New York, 150; San Francisco less than 500 and Saipan, more than a hundred. Protests in other countries and other U.S. cities had less than a hundred participants.”