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Today in History

November 27, 1932

MANILA, Nov. 27 — Senator Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., a popular newspaperman, politician and opposition leader who was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport upon returning from exile in the United States, was born on Nov. 27, 1932 in Concepcion, Tarlac.

Ninoy's death triggered the EDSA Revolution, famously known as the "EDSA People Power Revolution" of 1986 and brought his widow, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, to the limelight and subsequently to the presidency.

Ninoy came from political heavyweights, with his grandfather servingd under President Emilio Aguinaldo, while his father held office under Presidents Manuel Quezon and Jose P. Laurel.

He earned the moniker "Wonder Boy" of Philippine politics for his various achievements — being the youngest mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac, at age 22, youngest vice-governor at age 27, governor of Tarlac at age 29, and made history by becoming the youngest elected senator at age 34.

During his tenure as legislator, he was selected by the Philippine Free Press magazine as one of the nation's most outstanding senators.

He was seen as a contender by many for the highest office in the land, the presidency. Surveys during those times showed that he was the number one choice among Filipinos, since then President Ferdinand Marcos, by law, was prohibited from serving another term.

However, when President Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation 1081 on September 21, 1972, placing the entire country under Martial Law, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended, and Ninoy was one of those arrested and imprisoned along with the other activists for alleged subversion.

He suffered a heart attack while in prison and was allowed to leave for medical treatment in the United States.

In August 1983, Ninoy decided to go back to the Philippines, fully aware of the dangers that awaited him. Warned that he would either be imprisoned or killed, Aquino said, "If it's my fate to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction, or fear of assassination, and therefore stay in the side…"

He died on August 21, 1983 when he was shot in the head upon his arrival at the Manila International Airport (now renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport).

In 2004, the anniversary of his death was proclaimed as a national holiday now known as Ninoy Aquino Day while several monuments were built in his honor, most renowned of which is the bronze memorial in Makati City near the Philippine Stock Exchange, and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill. Meanwhile, on this same day in 1986, Ninoy's widow, President Corazon C. Aquino announced the signing of Executive Order No. 75 entitled “Upgrading the Salary Scales of Foresters and Legal Officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources."

President Aquino said there is a need to motivate foresters and legal officers of the MNR in the discharge of their duties.

She ordered the then Ministry of Budget and Management to upgrade the foresters’ salary by four steps in the government salary scale or approximately equivalent to 20 percent.

Also on November 27, 1911, Fe del Mundo, a leading pediatrician who pioneered pediatrics in the Philippines and was recognized as National Scientist in 1980, was born in Intramuros, Manila.

Del Mundo graduated class valedictorian at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1933. Her exposure to various health conditions afflicting children in the provinces, particularly in Marinduque, led her to choose pediatrics as her specialization.

Accordingly, Del Mundo's practice of pediatrics was not confined to the hospital but to the countryside as well. She sent various medical teams all over the country, constantly sharing her wisdom, expertise and guidance, with younger pediatricians and residents.

Notably, Del Mundo authored more than 150 scientific articles and became the editor-in-chief of the Textbook of Pediatrics and Child Health.

She also founded the Children’s Memorial Hospital in 1957.

On this same day in 1970, Pope Paul VI arrived in Manila for a three-day visit, marking for the first time a Pope's visit to the so-called "only Catholic nation in Asia." (PNA Features)

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