MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III admitted Tuesday he still thinks about his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, a lot and even prays to her during problematic times.
“I will admit I still think about my mother a lot of times. I do pray to her quite a lot especially when the problems are more than usual,” Aquino said in his speech during the conferment of a posthumous degree, Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, from the Bicol University.
Aquino said he also wants to remind “certain members of the religious” the essence of The Lord’s Prayer, which was sung during the conferment ceremony. Aquino did not specify to whom will he address this and why.
“If I can borrow the prayer that you had, I want to send it to certain members of the religious who seem to have forgotten what Ama Namin stands for as my Christian duty to them,” Aquino said.
President Aquino accepted the degree from the Bicol University on behalf his mother. The degree was awarded primarily for Cory Aquino’s work in microfinance.
Aquino received the academic robe, hood, cap, diploma, and plaque of commendation during the conferment rite held in Malacañang.
The Bicol University conferred the posthumous honorary degree on former President Corazon Aquino in recognition of her “remarkable and exemplary achievements” as the 11th president of the Republic of the Philippines; for being an advocate of democracy, peace, women empowerment, and religious piety; for having received various awards and recognition; and for her contribution to poverty alleviation through her work in microfinance and giving the poor access to financing for livelihood and skills training, among others.
Bicol University offers the degree Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in Microfinance, subscribing to Cory Aquino’s advocacy for microfinance as a means to uplift the lives of the poor.
“[Bicol University] believes in the advocacy of former President Corazon C. Aquino that microfinance is a potent strategy to alleviate poverty in the country. It is in this spirit that the awarding of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa (posthumous) upon her has been conceived,” the Bicol University said.
A video message of Cory Aquino on microfinance was played during the rite where she spoke about the Pinoy Me (Pinoy Micro-Enterprise) Foundation, which she founded, that aims to raise P5 billion in microfinance for five million poor women in five years. She called on the public to support microfinancing for the poor.
President Aquino thanked the Bicol University for the recognition, saying he is committed to continue the legacy of his mother by giving his administration’s support for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
“Ako po mismo ay nagpapatupad ngayon ng mga aral na napulot ko mula sa pamumuno ng aking ina. Nasabi na po ng ating Secretary of Trade and Industry: ang ating mga programang pang-ekonomiya ay magpapamalas ng ‘preferential option for small- and medium enterprises.’ Naniniwala po kami na walang dapat maiwan, kaya’t tuloy ang buhos natin ng suporta sa mga maliliit na negosyo, na direktang makakapagdulot ng kabuhayan at trabaho sa ating mga komunidad. Sagisag po ito ng ating agenda ng malawakang kaunlaran—hindi kaunlaran para lamang sa iilan; hindi kaunlaran para lamang sa mayayaman; kundi kaunlarang tunay na aabot sa hapag-kainan miski ng mga kababayan natin sa laylayan,” Aquino said.