Filipinos across the UAE turn to pay their last respects to Corazon Aquino, their former president, who died on Saturday.
Filipinos pay tribute to Aquino
Filipinos across the UAE turned out yesterday to pay their last respects to Corazon Aquino, their former president, who died on Saturday. Books of condolence were opened at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and at the consulate in Dubai. Most Filipinos who signed the book in the capital reminisced in their entries about Mrs Aquino's contribution to democracy. Fe Cabactulan, the wife of Libran Cabactulan, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, wrote: "President Corazon C Aquino: the Icon of Democracy. We will keep forever the legacy you left us. May you be in the palm of His precious hands."
Claro Vera, 64, a Filipino architect who came specially from Al Ain, was hesitant at first to enter the embassy. "I had to ask the staff at the embassy if ordinary people like myself could also sign the book," he said. "I'm really at a loss for words. She's one of a kind and a mother to all of us." He finally wrote: "Thanks for all that you had done for our country." "Thank you Madame Cory for bringing back democracy to our beloved country. You made our country proud," Rio Vanessa Locsin wrote.
Cynthia Santos, a 38-year-old Filipina nurse from Al Gharbia, said she felt special that she was allowed to express her sadness at Mrs Aquino's passing. "May the spirit of the good Lord guide your family to carry the sorrow of the loss of one of the most wonderful and nicest persons in the Philippines, one whom we can be proud of," she wrote. The books will be available daily from 9-11am and 2-4pm until August 10. Flags at both diplomatic missions will fly at half-mast during the 10 days of national mourning announced in Manila by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
A special mass was held last night at St Michael's Church in Sharjah. Many of those attending wore yellow ribbons, the symbol of Aquino's opposition to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Another special mass will be held at St Mary's Church in Dubai tonight at 8pm, with another scheduled for at St Joseph's Cathedral at 8pm tomorrow. firstname.lastname@example.org More coverage, pages a16, a19