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1986 Marker: Remembering Corazon Aquino

Posted By Xavier Cortada, Saturday, August 1, 2009
Updated: Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Markers

National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Artist and Writers Program awardee Xavier Cortada marks the passage of time by exploring important world events that have moved the world forward during the past 50 years.

1986 Marker: Corazon Aquino leads People Power to end Marcos regime in the Philippines



August 1, 2009

Philippines, Southeast Asia, Mourn Death of Former President Aquino

01 August 2009

Filipinos view remains of Mrs. Aquino at La Salle school in suburban Mandaluyong, east of Manila, 01 Aug 2009
Filipinos view remains of Mrs. Aquino at La Salle school in suburban Mandaluyong, east of Manila, 01 Aug 2009
The Philippines is mourning the death of former president Corazon Aquino, who succumbed to cancer early Saturday morning. Mrs. Aquino is remembered as the icon of democracy in the Philippines for leading a "people power" movement against dictatorship. But, Mrs. Aquino also inspired democracy beyond the Philippines.

The Philippines is planning ten days of public mourning, masses and overnight vigils to honor the passing of former President Corazon Aquino.

She died Saturday at the age of 76 after a year-long battle with colon cancer.  Corazon Aquino was known affectionately as "Cory" and was the Philippines first female president.  

Mrs. Aquino's son, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, told journalists he never asked his mother how she wanted to be remembered. But, he said he believed Corazon Aquino would be thought of as someone who did her best to help others and never gave in to the temptation of power.

Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino in 2008 file photo
Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino in 2008 file photo
"She really put into practice defending not only the rights of her friends but even those who would oppose you, relinquishing her power as fast as possible with adoption of the 1987 constitution. And, then, I can go on and on," he said.

Corazon Aquino is widely respected for leading a peaceful and popular movement in the late 1980s that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The "people power" movement that swept Corazon Aquino into the presidency was felt not just in the Philippines but also across the world.

Southeast Asia in the 1980s was marked by communist governments and military dictators.

Teuku Faizasyah, a spokesman for Indonesia's department of Foreign Affairs, says Mrs. Aquino helped to inspire Indonesia's own movement to become a stable democracy.

"We are close neighbor," he said. "We watched the development in the Philippines at that time. And, certainly, there are a lot of resemblance-what happened in late 90s Indonesia and what happened in the late 80s in Philippines. People learned that by being together we were able to make a change in our political landscape."

Singapore's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Mrs. Aquino will long be remembered and respected both in the Philippines and internationally for her devotion to her people.

Even after retiring from politics, Mrs. Aquino actively challenged Philippines politicians she saw as corrupt.  

She joined the Catholic Church and army in helping to oust President Joseph Estrada. And, until she became sick last year, Mrs. Aquino supported street protests against his successor, current President Gloria Arroyo.

But, even those Mrs. Aquino opposed had good things to say about her.

Mr. Arroyo, who was in the United States on an official visit, praised Mrs. Aquino for helping restore democracy and the rule of law.  

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was deeply saddened by Mrs. Aquino's death. 

Image below:

Artist:  Xavier Cortada

Title:  1986 MARKER: 14'37"N, 121'00"E

Location: South Pole

Year: 2007

Flag at the location on the moving ice sheet where the South Pole stood in 1986.

In 2007, Miami artist Xavier Cortada planted fifty-one differently colored flags 10 meters apart on the moving ice sheet that blankets the South Pole. Each flag marked where the South Pole stood during each of the previous 50 years, when humans first permanently inhabited it.

Each flag displays the coordinates of the location on the world above where an important event that took place during that year.

The flag for 1986 marks the efforts of Corazon Aquino as she helped bring democracy to the Philippines through her "people power" movement.

See more at

Tags:  Antarctica  Corazon Aquino  People Power  Phillipines  The Markers  Xavier Cortada 

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Xavier Cortada
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Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


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