It's been a week since former President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III passed away at the age of 61, that shocked the Filipino community in Los Angeles, California.
"Gone too soon, my idol, the best President the Philippines had, same as his mother," said Kres Go.
The Philippine Consulate has provided a condolence book for the public to sign to be given to the Aquino family.
Diplomats, staff and community members have personally signed the book.
"I said his loss, especially for us outside the country, is really deeply felt and we are very saddened for this untimely passing of our beloved president. As a kababayan, he’s our role model and he will always have a special place in my heart," said Perla Santos of Mother Movement.
Many of the consulate members, including Consul General Edgar Badajos, have had a chance to work with Aquino during his presidency.
"We felt so sad and we were shocked because we had an opportunity to work with the former president. In my case, I was then with the Philippine embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. And I remember the president coming to Thailand to attend the ASEAN summit. And we provided technical and substantive support to his team. So we felt bad and sad to learn about his passing," said Badajos.
Among his overseas trips, Aquino had paid a pair of visits to Los Angeles where he spoke to audiences of Filipino community leaders, fellow elected officials, and even received an honorary degree at Loyola Marymount University.
"We were excited to meet him. It was the first time to meet him personally. There were so many people and we felt privileged to be one of those guests. We were so happy to be there," said Santos.
The consulate encourages people to sign the virtual book available through the Los Angeles consulate’s Facebook page.
US President Joe Biden described Aquino as a "valued friend and partner to the United States."
"President Aquino’s steadfast commitment to advancing peace, upholding the rule of law, and driving economic growth for all Filipinos, while taking bold steps to promote the rules-based international order, leaves a remarkable legacy at home and abroad that will endure for years to come," Biden said in a statement posted on the White House website.
Aquino had visited the United States at least 7 times during his presidency, and had worked with then-US President Barack Obama on economic deals and bilateral cooperation agreements.
Read more on Balitang America: