EDSA SHRINE, MANILA, February 26, 2004
(OPS) As the nation celebrated the 18th anniversary of the first People Power Revolution today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act No. 9256 declaring August 21 of every year as Ninoy Aquino Day, a special non-working holiday.

The law finally gave due recognition to the heroism of the man whose selfless efforts and supreme sacrifices moved millions of peace-loving Filipinos to march to EDSA and collectively claim democracy back for the Philippines in 1986.

The new law is a consolidation of House Bill No. 5525 and Senate Bill No. 2586.

After the signing ceremony at the People Power Monument at EDSA, Former President Corazon Aquino thanked President Macapagal-Arroyo for signing the bill, sponsored by no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, into law.

"I hope we will remember the sacrifices of Ninoy," Aquino said in acknowledging the display of statesmanship and multi-partisan collaboration of the two chambers of Congress who recognized Ninoy Aquino as a hero through the law.

The President started the celebration of the 18th anniversary of EDSA I with the traditional flag raising ceremony at the People Power Monument.

Former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Aquino, Edsa People Power Commission Chairman/Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo, Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, Jr. attended the occasion.

There was also the raising of municipal colors under the supervision of Metro Manila Develoment Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando while Ang Bayan Ko was being rendered by Ivy Violan.

Ramos, one of the principal heroes of EDSA I, delivered a special message, saying the celebration has become nationwide and universal.

"It was the non-violent, peaceful power revolution of the Filipinos in February 1986 that sparked the light of freedom all over the world," Ramos said.

President Macapagal-Arroyo led in recitation of the Pledge of Commitment to live the spirit of EDSA People Power:

"Before Almighty God and my beloved nation, I pledge to be always thankful for the nationís freedom regained in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, born by the mercy of God and the unity of millions of Filipinos who stood their ground, in the face of danger and death, to defend the rights of their fellow Filipinos, and to show the world that the way to freedom and democracy is the path of peace."

A final song, "Heal our Land" was sung by Tex Ordonez, while confetti from two helicopters showered the people attending the ceremonies.

Also attending the flag-raising ceremony were other members of the cabinet, top police and military brass, and the family of former President Aquino who witnessed the signing of the Ninoy Day law at the People Power Monument.

The President was to attend the Eucharistic mass at the EDSA shrine together with former Presidents Aquino and Ramos at 12:15 p.m.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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