Noynoy's intent. Aquino's declaration, my translation

MANILA (09-09-09) - What follows is the transcript of Sen Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III's statement in Tagalog at Club Filipino 9 September 2009 (from philstar.com), edited and with a free translation in English by Frank A Hilario, 9 September 2009. Note that what Noynoy speaks of as 'our mother' is Corazon 'Tita Cory' Aquino, beloved President of the Philippines who died 40 days ago. The use of the editorial 'we' – such as in 'ating ina' and 'ating isipan' – is an attempt by Noynoy to acknowledge what he perceives is the people's identification with Tita Cory (Aunt Cory) as the 'Mother of Democracy.' (I did not translate the polite 'po' expression of one's respect for another in the Tagalog language.)
My brethren, my countrymen:
It has been 40 days since our mother died. That day, many questions shrouded our mind.
First of all, we lost the pillar of our family, the leader. We can say, we lost the guidelight that shows us the road to take. The question becomes, 'How do we carry on the fight?' With that another question emerges, 'Do the people still want to carry on the fight?' The answer we got from the people themselves.
During her wake, during her funeral, we showed clearly that our people want to restore once again full democracy and true freedom.
We saw the return of love for each other and the readiness to sacrifice for the good of the majority. Many voices were heard in the days following the burial of our mother.
When I was walking toward the graves of my parents, someone walked along with me and said, 'Noy, let's go President.' (Or, 'We're President now.')
I looked at his face and I saw he looked serious.
I replied jokingly, 'You know, it's probably difficult to follow Mrs Arroyo.'
He said, 'If we have 1 million signatures, will you say Yes?'
To avoid answering his question, again I replied jokingly, '50 million was the population during the EDSA Revolution. Now it's 95 million.'
He replied, 'Eh, if 2 million, will that suffice?'
But I didn't take him seriously.
Someone texted me, a writer, and he said it was like déjà vu and he had seen it in 1986. I only thanked him and maybe that's all there was to it.
But the voices multiplied and multiplied. Some were pleading, some were angry and saying, 'May the ghosts of your Mother and Father visit you if you let this chance go by!'
With the myriad of voices, I went to the Carmelite convent in Zamboanga, they who seek peace, and when I arrived, the peace seemed to disappear – and I am asking their forgiveness.
The advice of my sister Pinky was right, she asked that I go there and have a religious retreat.
Once I was inside that convent, all those voices seemed to disappear (from those who were urging me to run). I confess that at that point, I didn't feel like leaving the convent ever. And there began to clear what we should be thinking about.
Someone told me that if my decision is right, the path to travel will be easy. One of those, we have a president of our Liberal Party, who has already declared his intention of becoming the leader of our country. And then they called us to a meeting. And for that meeting, I prepared myself for whatever debate or recommendation we would be hearing.
But what I saw was one man who was a true servant of the people. One man who put the good of the country before his own.
What Mar Roxas did was truly unusual, especially if we compare it with the leaders of our country who put themselves first before their country.
Once I came back, after the valuable visit to the Carmelite convent, we talked with many others. I will give you three examples of whom I talked with. Two of them were young ones. In fact, Grade 5. One of them was a boy whom I met in a CD store. He approached me and asked, 'Aren't you Noynoy Aquino?'
I said, 'Yes.'
In turn, he said, 'Where is Kris?'
My reply, 'At The Buzz, working. Don't you watch that show?'
He followed after me, interviewing me. Asking questions, 'Where do you stay?' 'Do you have a car?'
The most important thing about our dialogue, I asked him, 'What is your ambition in life?'
His answer was, 'I want to be a singer.' And I said, 'So that's why you're in this store.'
So I asked, 'Who is your favorite singer?'
He pointed to a new singer, singing rap-style but the song had a social dimension. The song I heard told of someone who took a jeep and saw all the rottenness of society. At the end of the song, he begged, 'Get me off this jeep!'
You have to believe in the boy. While he was just a kid, he was already aware and knows how to select relevant songs.
The other one, it so happened he was also Grade 5. This was in Tarlac in a restaurant. He pointed his parents to me and we had our pictures taken. I will go back there because he wants a solo picture with me, which was what he didn't get last time.
He asked me, 'Are you running now?'
You have to believe in the kid. Only Grade 5 and already he was aware. My reply was, 'You cannot vote for me – will you campaign for me? He said, 'I have already been campaigning for you.'
Maybe, we should just settle for the simplest.
There was one Customs staff who talked with a member of our group (the one who has long been urging us to run). He asked, 'Is he running?' Our member answered, 'He will now!' And the one from Customs said, 'Thank you!' Our member asked why he was thankful. And he said, 'Thanks to you, we can dream again.'
When I was young, one of my teachers was a Jesuit, who I believe Fr Manoling and Fr Arevalo should be talking to, and he said that the greatest sin is to lose hope. Because there is a God who loves us, when we lose hope, we are like saying God has turned his back on us. This may be the biggest sin of all.
We're free to dream. It's shocking that an adult is saying, 'At last, we can dream again.' Is to dream also impossible today?
I have long thought of it and now I feel it's necessary that I declare my intentions today.
I accept the challenge of the people.
I also accept the words, wish and will of my parents.
I accept the responsibility of carrying on the fight for the country.
I accept the challenge of leadership in this fight.
My country the Philippines, I will run for President in the coming elections.
Let us continue the fight. Long live the Philippines!
May God bless us all.
Many, many thanks to you.
Original Tagalog declaration, with editing by this Ilocano:
Mga kapatid, mga kababayan:
Apatnapung araw na ang nakakalipas mula noong namatay ang ating ina. Noong araw na iyon, maraming tanong ang bumalot sa ating isipan.
Unang-una na nga ho roon, nawala ang haligi ng aming pamilya, ang pinuno. Masasabi namin, nawala ang tanglaw sa aming dapat tahakin. Tanong nga, 'Paano natin itutuloy ang laban?' Ito ay may kaakibat na rin na isa pang tanong: 'Gusto pa ba ng tao na ituloy natin ang laban?' Ang sagot po ay nakuha na rin natin sa taong bayan.
Doon po sa kanyang burol, doon po sa kanyang libing, ipinakita natin na walang kaduda-duda na talagang nagnanais muli ang ating bayan na maibalik na ang ganap na demokrasya at tunay na kalayaan.
Nakita natin ang pagbabalik ng pagmamahal sa bawat isa at handang magsakripisyo para sa ikabubuti ng nakararami. Maraming boses ang narinig sa mga sumunod na mga araw pagkatapos ng libing ng ating ina.
Habang ako ay naglalakad papunta sa puntod ng aking mga magulang, mayroon akong nakasabay na isang tao at sinabi, 'Noy, Presidente na tayo.'
Tiningnan ko ang mukha n'ya at tila mukha nga s'yang seryoso.
Kaya’t biniro ko na lang ng sagot, at sabi ko, 'Alam mo, napakahirap yatang sumunod kay Ginang Arroyo.'
Sinabi niya, 'Kung meron ba kaming 1 million signatures, pwede ka na?'
Para maiwasang sagutin ang kanyang tanong, biniro ko na lang at sinabi ko, '50 million lang ang bilang ng tao noong panahon ng EDSA Revolution. Ngayon 95 million na.'
Sumagot s'ya, 'Eh, kung 2 million, pwede na kaya?'
Pero 'di ko siya masyadong sineryoso noon.
Mayroong nag-text sa akin na isang manunulat, at sinabi niya na parang isang deja vu at nakita na niya ito noong 1986. Ako po ay nagpasalamat na lang at baka hanggang d'yan na lang.
Ngunit dumami nang dumami ang mga boses. Mayroong nagsusumamo, mayroong nagagalit at nagsasabing, 'Sana dalawin ka ng Nanay at Tatay mo 'pag pinalampas mo ang pagkakataon na ito!'
Sa dami ng boses na iyon, ako ay nagtungo sa kumbento ng Carmelite sa Zamboanga, sila po na talagang katahimikan ang hinahanap, at sa pagdating ko, tila nawala iyon -- at ako ay humihingi ng paumanhin sa kanila.
Tama ang payo ng kapatid kong si Pinky; ang pakiusap n'ya ay pumunta ako roon para mag-retreat.
Pagpasok ko sa kumbentong iyon, tila natahimik yung mga boses (na nag-uudyok sa akin na tumakbo). Sa dami ng mga boses ay hindi ko na alam kung sino ang pakikinggan. Aaminin ko sa inyo na may bahagi ng kalooban ko na sa mga sandaling iyon, parang ayaw ko nang lumabas sa kumbentong iyon.
At doon nag-umpisa ang maraming kalinawan sa dapat nating pag-isipan.
May nagsabi sa akin na kung tama ang desisyon mo, madali na lang ang lahat ng dapat mong tahakin.
Isa ho roon, may pangulo kami sa aming Partido Liberal, na nakapaglahad na at nakapagmungkahi na siya ang manguna sa ating bansa. At tayo po ay tinawag sa isang pagpupulong. At sa pagpupulong iyon, inihanda ko ang sarili ko sa kung anong debate o mungkahi na ating maririnig.
Ngunit ang nakita ko po roon ay isang tao na tunay na naglilingkod sa bayan. Ang isang tao na inuuna ang kapakanan ng bansa bago ang kanyang sarili.
Talagang kakaiba ang ginawa ni Mar Roxas, lalo na kung ikukumpara natin sa mga pinuno ng ating bansa na sarili nila ang kanilang inuuna.
Noong tayo po ay nakabalik na, pagkatapos ng makabuluhang pagpunta sa Carmelite, marami pa rin tayong nakausap.
Bibigyan ko ho kayo ng tatlong halimbawa ng aking mga nakausap.
Dalawa po dito ay kabataan. Sa katunayan po ay Grade 5.
Isa po sa kanila ay isang batang lalaki na nakilala ko po sa tindahan ng mga CD. Nilapitan ako at tinanong, 'Hindi po ba kayo si Noynoy Aquino?'
Ang sabi ko ay, 'Oo.'
Ang sabi naman niya ay, 'Nasaan po si Kris?'
Ang sagot ko, 'Nasa The Buzz, nagtatrabaho. Di ka ba nanonood noon?'
Sinundan niya ako nang sinundan sa tindahan, ini-interview ako. Mga tanong n'ya, 'Saan ako nakatira?' 'May sasakyan ba ako?'
Pinaka-importante doon sa aming dialogo, tinanong ko siya, 'Ano ba ang ambisyon mo sa buhay?'
Ang sinagot niya ay, 'Gusto ko maging singer.' At ang sinabi ko, 'Kaya pala nandito ka sa tindahang ito.'
Kaya’t tinanong ko, 'Sino ang paborito mong singer?'
Tinuro po niya ang isang bagong mang-aawit, kumakanta sa istilong rap ang mga awitin pero mayroong social dimension. Ang kanta na napakinggan ko ay mayroong isang tao na sumakay ng isang jeep at nakita lahat ng kabulukan sa lipunan. Sa dulo ng kanta, ang pakiusap noong tao ay 'Ibaba nyo ako sa jeep na ito!'
Bilib ka nga naman sa batang ito. Kahit bata pa lamang siya, mulat na at marunong pumili ng maka-buluhang tugtugin.
Yung isa naman, nagkataon ay Grade 5 din. Ito naman sa Tarlac sa isang restaurant. Itinuro niya ako sa kanyang mga magulang at kami ay nagkaroon ng picture-taking session. Babalikan ko nga kasi gusto niya ng solo picture, dahil siya lang po ang hindi naka-solo picture.
Tinanong niya ako, 'Tatakbo na ho ba kayo?'
Bilib talaga ako sa batang ito, Grade 5 pa lang ngunit mulat na. Ang sinagot ko naman ay, 'Hindi mo naman ako iboboto – ikakampanya mo ba ako?' Sabi niya, 'Ikinakampanya ko na po kayo.'
Siguro ho, dito tayo sa pinakasimple.
Mayroong isang tauhan ng Customs na nakausap ang ating isang kasamahan (Na matagal na tayong inuudyok tumakbo.) Tinanong niya, 'Tatakbo na ba?' Ang sagot naman ng ating kasamahan ay, 'Tatakbo na nga!' At ang sinabi ng taga-customs ay, 'Salamat!' Tinanong siya kung bakit siya nagpapasalamat. At ang kanyang sinabi ay, 'Salamat naman at pwede na po muling mangarap.'
Noong ako’y bata pa, itinuro sa akin ng aming guro, isang Heswita na tila kailangang makausap ni Fr. Manoling at Fr. Arevalo, sinabi po nila na ang pinaka-malaking kasalanan ay ang pagkawala ng pag-asa. Dahil mayroong Diyos na nagmamahal sa atin, at parang sinasabi natin na tina-talikuran tayo ng Diyos kung mawalan ng pag-asa. Tila ito ang pinakamalaking kasalanan.
Libre ang mangarap. Nakakagimbal na nasa wastong isip na at sinasabi, 'Sa wakas, pwede na muling mangarap.' Pati ba mangarap, di na pwede sa kasalukuyan?
Matagal ko nang napag-isipan at tila kailangan na nga ho magdeklara sa araw na ito.
Tinatanggap ko ang hiling ng sambayanan.
Tinatanggap ko na rin po ang bilin, habilin at tagubilin ng aking mga magulang.
Tinatanggap ko ang responsibilidad na ituloy ang laban para sa bayan.
Tinatanggap ko ang hamong mamuno sa labang ito.
Bayang Pilipinas, tatakbo po ako sa pagka-Pangulo sa darating na halalan.
Itutuloy po natin ang laban. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Nawa'y pagpalain tayo ng Poong Maykapal.
Maraming, maraming salamat po.

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