Tag Archives: noynoy

“The Filipino is Worth Dying For” (What Ninoy really said)

Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. '50: Statesman. Hero. Upsilonian.

“The Filipino is worth dying for”

This simple yet powerful statement, attributed to Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino, Jr., is one of the most popular quotes in Philippine society. It is quoted by great statesmen in their speeches, it is reprinted on thousands of t-shirts – but in truth, Ninoy never said this, at least not verbatim.

The full text of this statement, which Ninoy delivered before the Asia Society on August 4, 1980 in New York City, goes deeper than the oft-quoted truncated version implies.

The following is the full statement:

“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?

I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource.”*

In its full form, Ninoy’s statement gains eloquence and a deeper meaning lacking from the six-word truncated version – it is no longer a mere one-liner espousing blind nationalism and sacrifice for heroism’s sake. In the full passage, Ninoy honestly considers the sobering doubts and limitations of the Filipino people, yet despite this his resolve wavers not; For Ninoy, despite all of the Filipino’s faults, the Filipino is worth dying for because he is the future of this nation.

As we again celebrate Ninoy’s legacy this August 2010, let us remember the wisdom of what he was really trying to say when he said “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

*Text of Ninoy’s August 4, 1980 speech sourced from the Asian Journal

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A Warning to the Yellow Army

Dear Yellow Army:

You know who you are. You are the millions of yellow-clad supporters of a certain presidential candidate who cannot bear the face the fact that your candidate just might legitimately lose this election. Therefore, you are threatening to take to the streets in rabid protest against any election returns that are not in your favor, thereby making a complete mockery of Philippine politics.

I strongly warn you against taking this brash course of action.

After all, the Philippines is a democracy. There is no such thing as a monarchy or royal family. Thus, you simply cannot anoint the son of the Modern National Hero and the so-called “Saint of Democracy” as our next president, no matter how impressive his family legacy may be. No amount of self-righteousness can overrule a bona fide vote count.

Also, kindly refrain from using the prior surveys as proof that you candidate was cheated, in the case that he does actually lose. Those surveys only count the opinions of 3,000 people at a time. That’s the reason why we have elections – so that we can take account of the opinions of every single Filipino that chooses to include themselves in the political process.

This is not 1986. There is no overriding consensus within the Filipino people that would justify such a drastic course of action. People Power is not a brand name that can be used just by anyone, nor is its ownership passed by heredity. People Power belongs to all Filipinos, and any cheap attempt to re-create it in this instance would be sacrilege.

Quite frankly, I think your candidate will win the election anyway. However, just in case he does not, please don’t get any foolish ideas about starting EDSA 4. The mandate of the Filipino people is not with you this time.