Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus pays tribute to PNoy
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Honesty, humility and hard work.
These are how Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus Antonio J. Ledesma summarized the character shown by the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Ledesma on Saturday celebrated a Mass at the Saint Augustine Cathedral here to mark the ninth day after Aquino’s death, or the end of the traditional nine-day novena or pasiyam.
The Mass was held with a limited audience due to health restrictions. It was, however, broadcast over radio and streamed on social media.
The Mass was sponsored by various organizations and agencies, including the Commission on Human Rights, Tulay Kalinaw Mindanaw, Balay Mindanaw, Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Balaod Mindanaw, Citizens Watch for Good Governance, labor group Sentro, Catholic Women’s League, National Confederation of Transport Unions, Akbayan, and the farmers in Sumilao, Bukidnon.
In his homily, Ledesma cited Aquino’s strong will in pursuing social, economic and political reforms that benefited the Filipinos way beyond his six-year presidency.
Ledesma noted that despite facing a host of crises such as the succession of devastating typhoons, the Bohol earthquake, the Zamboanga siege and a bloody police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Aquino maintained “the steady course of daang matuwid” he charted for his presidency.
The retired prelate particularly pointed to the former president’s legacy of reforming the country’s education system by introducing the K-to-12 curriculum, and in ramping up resources available to improve learning facilities and personnel.
“Where many previous administrations feared to tread, President PNoy showed the political will to accomplish this. This same courage and determination he showed in the passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Bill, despite vocal opposition from many church groups,” Ledesma stressed.
Ledesma also hailed Aquino’s drive to lessen poverty incidence by expanding the conditional cash transfer program and in fighting corruption that led to the jailing of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. for involvement in the pork barrel scam.
He also cited as longer-lasting legacies the peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the ruling by the arbitral tribunal against China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea which, he said, “is the crucial bargaining chip of the Philippines in its diplomatic battle with a giant neighbor.”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.