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Thank you, PNoy

By BṺM TENORIO JR., The Philippine STAR Published Jul 02, 2021 6:00 am

For 30 seconds, I looked at your face as I sprinkled holy water on your coffin. 

For 30 seconds, I felt peace; I saw peace in your face. Your aura registered readiness. I thought I saw a little smile of goodbye on your lips.

For 30 seconds, I cried; my tears fell unbidden. Those were tears of gratitude. Those were tears that reminded how you made me proud as a Filipino.

On the day you died, a nation grappled with its loss. Days of tears followed. It felt like a light had been turned off at home. Nights of grief ensued. We will never be able to replace the light. But we will always remember how you shone in our homes, in our hearts, in our lives. 

We will remember you for your patriotism and courage. We will remember that, during your tenure in Malacañang, the Philippines filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague against China regarding issues in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines won the case. The Filipino people won. Thank you.

Your death is the rebirth of our patriotism. That the leaders we will put into power next year should be those who can guard our lands and waters with hail and might.

 The late former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. STAR file photo

We will remember that the country enjoyed stable economic growth during your term. Experts said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) during your term was considered the highest in four decades. In your first year in office in 2010, reports said the GDP was recorded at 7.6 percent. In 2016, it was at 6.9 percent. 

Your death will remind us that the economic gains during your term were the floodgates that resulted in more trust by the investors in the country. Thank you.

Your death is a revisit to our conscience. Have we somehow lost our dignity as a people? Your death restores what we have lost inside us. Your death restores what we have lost.

We will remember you for signing into law the Reproductive Health Bill. It was presidentiable, despite the odds and criticisms, to promote and provide free quality reproductive health care services to the poor. Thank you. 

Your death will revivify the courage we sometimes lose because some forces are strong. We will remember how you fought head-on with issues that were not popular among many — be it contraceptives, or the right to sovereignty.

We will remember you for the K-12 program, for eradicating the corruption-consumed pork barrel, for the conditional cash transfers, for the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, for the Data Privacy Act. We will remember you for these and more. We will not forget. All the more we say, “Thank you, PNoy.”

Your death is a revisit to our conscience. Have we somehow lost our dignity as a people? Your death restores what we have lost inside us. Your death restores what we have lost.

 Military honors at the burial rites for President Noynoy Aquino at Manila Memorial Park.

You fought for the rights of our country and its people without death threats, without mean and hurting words, without profane language. You invoked passion and compassion in fighting for us, bearing in your heart and mind respect for the democratic process.

We bid you goodbye and with it is the resolve that we will fight for a better country.

You stood the ground with decency. We will remember you for your incorruptible nature. For making us feel that whatever tax we remitted to the government was not spent unscrupulously. Thank you for upholding the highest principle.

We bid you goodbye and with it is the resolve that we will fight for a better country.

We bid you goodbye with gratitude. To show our gratitude to you, we will help encourage the 40 million members of the youth, ages 18 to 39 (according to advocacy groups pushing for youth registration up to September 2021), to register for the May 2022 elections.

The youth hold so much power in their hands. The youth hold so much potential in safeguarding our democracy. This is the democracy that your father, Ninoy Aquino, fought for. This is the democracy that your mother, Cory Aquino, fought for. You said, “The Filipino is definitely worth fighting for.” You fought for us. Thank you, PNoy. And if we are a grateful nation, we will go out to register and vote.

There is an inexplicable grief with your passing. We cried with your family and friends because we also lost a part of us. Our tears are our symbol of gratitude, of love, of goodbye.

 People waited on the streets to bid PNoy farewell.

At the Heritage, when your casket was brought to the door that led to the crematorium, my heart leapt out of my chest. There was reverence in collective silence of the people who were there. Most eyes were not dry. But their spirits were perhaps buoyed by the many beautiful, joyful memories they had of you. In grief, strength was found because of your legacy with integrity. It was a moment filled with gratitude.

When the honor guards entered the room to be by your urn, people stood up. Silence. Dignified silence ensued. The cadence of the honor guards pierced the momentary sepulchral silence in the room. In collective silence, my heart and mind seemed to hear the people’s clapping. There was love — pure, solemn, sincere — at your one-day wake at Room 10 of Heritage Park.

People lined up on the streets to get a glimpse of your urn at the Church of Gesu in Ateneo to pay their last respects to you. It was important for them to bid you goodbye.

People lined up along the streets again to bid you goodbye on the day of your inurnment. The people you served were out on the streets. Quiet no more. Their expressions were a summation of gratitude, appreciative of the honor and propriety you afforded them in your tenure.

Thank you, President Noynoy Aquino — for your honesty, for your decency, for your courage, for being incorruptible.

We will wipe away our tears. We will remember you.

Photos by BÜM TENORIO