My predecessor set aside democracy to save it from a communist insurgency that

My predecessor set aside democracy to save it from a

This preview shows page 53 - 56 out of 72 pages.

My predecessor set aside democracy to save it from a communist insurgency that numbered less than 500. Unhampered by respect for human rights, he went at it hammer and tongs. By the time he fled, that insurgency had grown to more than 16,000. I think there is a lesson here to be learned about trying to stifle a thing with the means by which it grows. I don’t think anybody, in or outside our country, concerned for a democratic and open Philippines, doubts what must be done. Through political initiatives and local reintegration programs, we must seek to bring the insurgents down from the hills and, 53
Image of page 53
by economic progress and justice, show them that for which the best intentioned among them fight. As President, I will not betray the cause of peace by which I came to power. Yet equally, and again no friend of Filipino democracy will challenge this, I will not stand by and allow an insurgent leadership to spurn our offer of peace and kill our young soldiers, and threaten our new freedom. Yet, I must explore the path of peace to the utmost for at its end, whatever disappointment I meet there, is the moral basis for laying down the olive branch of peace and taking up the sword of war. Still, should it come to that, I will not waver from the course laid down by your great liberator: “With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the rights as God gives us to see the rights, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Like Lincoln, I understand that force may be necessary before mercy. Like Lincoln, I don’t relish it. Yet, I will do whatever it takes to defend the integrity and freedom of my country. Finally, may I turn to that other slavery: our $26 billion foreign debt. I have said that we shall honor it. Yet must the means by which we shall be able to do so be kept from us? Many conditions imposed on the previous government that stole this debt continue to be imposed on us who never benefited from it. And no assistance or liberality commensurate with the calamity that was visited on us has been extended. Yet ours must have been the cheapest revolution ever. With little help from others, we Filipinos 54
Image of page 54
fulfilled the first and most difficult conditions of the debt negotiation the full restoration of democracy and responsible government. Elsewhere, and in other times of more stringent world economic conditions, Marshall plans and their like were felt to be necessary companions of returning democracy. When I met with President Reagan yesterday, we began an important dialogue about cooperation and the strengthening of the friendship between our two countries. That meeting was both a confirmation and a new beginning and should lead to positive results in all areas of common concern.
Image of page 55
Image of page 56

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture