The Philippines need more citizens, such as former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday, while the country is commemorating its 35th anniversary.
Duterte said Aquino "died while fighting to restore peace and democracy to the Philippines."
Aquino, an opposition leader and political prisoner in the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, was killed by a single bullet in the head on the platform of Manila International Airport, now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
"His deep love for the country has inspired a revolution that changed the course of our nation's history and gave birth to the freedoms that we enjoy today," Duterte said.
Aquino was one of Marcos most fierce critics during the years of martial law that became the voice of the opposition against human rights violations under the regime of the late dictator.
Duterte said the Philippines needed more civilians, such as Ninoy.
"In this age of real and lasting change we need more citizens like him, so that we can lead our country towards a better and better future," he says.
"This can only be achieved if we work together to implement meaningful reforms that will put an end to the many social ills that have hindered our path towards a mature and stable democracy," he added.
The president also urged government leaders to pursue Aquino's commitment to serving the country.
"May his dedication to his cause serve as a guide for our current leaders in the government, because they promote the welfare of our people, especially the oppressed and marginalized," he said.
He urged Filippino's to give the Ninoy Aquino day an opportunity to reflect on his sacrifice while honoring the courage and patriotism that Ninoy demonstrated during his struggle. "/ Cbb
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