MANILA, AUGUST 2, 2011, (STAR) By Aie Balagtas See  (Photo - President Aquino pays tribute to his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, during a concelebrated Mass in commemoration of her second death anniversary at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City yesterday. WILLY PEREZ)

Two years after her death, former President Corazon Aquino remains a guiding light for her son President Aquino, who thanked her yesterday for her “constancy.”

“No matter what travails we go through, no matter how impossible the situation we’re found in, somehow just by talking to one or either of them would produce such tremendous comfort in all of us,” Aquino said in a four-minute speech before his parents’ tombs at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

He said the same “constancy” characterized the life and struggle of his father, slain senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

The President said his parents led such “exceptional lives” that he could not help but feel thankful for their influence in him.

He said an example of his parents’ constancy was their strong faith in God. He said despite the agonies his parents suffered in life, their faith never waned.

“And that is a lesson really taught to me... through the demonstrations in their lives,” Aquino said.

The President admitted missing his mother, who succumbed to colon cancer at age 76. Aquino said he would still call out to her during “frustrating” situations.

He, however, could not afford to feel depressed for long given the challenges that his job entails.

Yesterday’s Mass was attended by the Aquino clan, the President’s Cabinet secretaries, supporters, and close friends. The weather was gloomy just as it was when Cory died.

In his homily, Fr. Catalino Arevalo SJ, a good friend of the former president, praised Cory for her strong faith in God.

Arevalo recalled that one afternoon, when Cory “was near the end,” he saw serenity in her , ”with the rosary in her hands.”

“For me she was incredibly beautiful then at that hour of utmost nobility, self-giving and grave. That’s why I never looked at her in her coffin, because I want to remember her always as I last saw her, in suffering, faith, and prayer,” Arevalo said.

“Her memory fills me with a sense of depth and a sense of prayer, yes a sense of holiness. We don’t want to forget her greatness, the grandeur of her love for her people and for God, and the splendor of the legacy she has left for us to celebrate and to cherish,” he added.

The President, meanwhile, said he finds solace in the people’s untiring support.

“I’m comforted by the fact that in really going on the tuwid na landas route, there are those of you who have been with us even before it was called tuwid na landas. And your constancy will make sure that we’ll get there sooner rather than later,” he said.

He said he was about to deliver a four-page speech but was reminded of “my mom’s admonition that anything you say in more than 10 minutes is a waste of other people’s time.”

“President Cory Aquino continues to inspire all of us with her faith in God and the Filipino people. She epitomized commitment to the public good and an unshakeable belief in the capacity of Filipinos to rise above poverty,” Vice President Jejomar Binay said in his message from Sweden where he was attending the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. With Jose Rodel Clapano

P-Noy: I'm like a psychiatrist curing Pinoys' bad attitudes By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated August 01, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino compared his job last Friday to that of a psychiatrist trying to cure damaged attitudes among people.

“When I was listening to the opening prayer, I was slowly getting very depressed. But I assure you, the problem that we face... I will have a lot more to face as the day progresses. So it is sometimes, in this occasion, it’s clearer where you are rather than where I am,” the President said in his speech at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Psychosocial Rehabilitation and 27th Post-Graduate Course and 22nd Midyear Conference of the Philippine Psychiatric Association in Makati City.

Aquino said he was aware that over 100 million people around the world were diagnosed with debilitating mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or even Alzheimer’s, among other complications, and could only imagine the difficulties these people are facing.

“As much as I want to share some ideas of my own, I am not a psychiatrist. But I do see that there are some similarities between your jobs and mine, in that we are both trying to mend damaging attitudes: you on an individual level, and us, on a national level,” he said.

“This is rooted in the same idea I shared when I addressed my countrymen three days ago. For the past years, our people had been mired in a damaging pessimism – the idea that government is not there to help them; and the idea that, no matter how hard they work, things will not change. This is the attitude we seek to change,” the President added.

He stressed that “changing a mindset cannot be done overnight, nor can it be achieved through empty words and mere rhetoric.”

“As it is in your field, the government must do what it can to empower its people and to foster an environment in which each and every one of them can thrive. To do this, we have chosen to change the system into one that is more capable of empowerment – one that saves our people from the fatalism and the so-called crab mentality that has for so long stunted our progress as a nation,” Aquino said.

He said the government was investing in significant interventions and social services in order to help the most disadvantaged and to give the means to improve their situation.

“We are also continuously pursuing the corrupt, who have not only redirected public funds to their own bulging pockets, but have also given our countrymen the notion that the powerful are above the law. We want to change this notion. We want our people to change their mindset toward corruption – from one that acknowledges it as a harsh reality, to one that expects the corrupt to be tried and put behind bars,” he said.

“These are the small psychic shifts we want our people to take, because however small they may be, they teach our countrymen once again how it is to hope,” Aquino said.

The President said the government was working with different groups to improve the lives of the people and thanked the association for its contributions.

“Our administration similarly wants to reach the unreached – we want to give livelihood to all Filipinos, from those dwelling in the streets of Manila to those in ramshackle houses in far-flung provinces. We want a nation that is united by hope. We know the important role you play in the lives of millions of people around the world – and in that regard, we not only give our support, but we are working to make your jobs easier. We are indeed behind you,” he said. – With Sandy Araneta

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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