Aquino Says Philippines Are ‘Free and Full of Hope’
President Corazon Aquino proclaimed the nation “free and full of hope” during Independence Day festivities today, but ousted ruler Ferdinand E. Marcos predicted it was doomed to a communist takeover.
“The situation in our country can be summarized in two words: free and full of hope,” Aquino, 53, said in a speech after reviewing a four-hour parade marking the 88th anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence from Spain.
“This day should be a celebration of what the Filipinos have done for independence and freedom,” Aquino said, recalling the revolt that ousted Marcos and swept her to power Feb. 25.
The crowd chanted “Cory, Cory” and “Long Live Freedom” as Aquino spoke from a grandstand overlooking a seaside park festooned with banners and yellow balloons.
Reporters estimated the crowd throughout the hot and overcast afternoon numbered between 50,000 and 250,000. But government radio put the figure at 500,000 and the state-run news agency said 1.2 million packed the park for the holiday.
Marcos loyalists, heeding calls by their leaders to stay home, canceled three planned Independence Day rallies the military had vowed to disperse.
Marcos, living in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii, issued his own Independence Day message, his voice crackling over radios in the homes of his supporters as he insisted he was the legitimate president.
“The unthinkable has happened,” Marcos said. “The freedom that we have paid for with the blood of our heroes has now been suddenly grabbed from our hands and an open, as well as, confessed dictatorship and tyranny have been imposed.”
“What is she up to?” he asked in his taped message, which was aired several times during the day over the pro-Marcos DZME radio. The radio described it as a “public service announcement to the silent majority.”
“She is fulfilling a promise she made during the election campaign and before long we will be hearing the Communist Party taking over the powers of the government,” Marcos said.