I acknowledged that I owed my presidency to the People Power. I resolved during my presidency that I would in turn empower the people.
Corazon Aquino

Corazon “Cory” Conjuangco  Aquino was born in Tarlac, Philippines on January 25, 1933. She earned her degrees in both French and Mathematics from the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. She was studying Law in Manila when she met Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and the two got married in 1954 and had 5 children. Ninoy became a political prisoner during the Martial Law, under the presidency and dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, as he was very vocal about his derision against the Marcos regime.  Cory, being the supportive wife, stood by her husband side until his exile. Ninoy returned to Philippines three years after his exile and was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon his arrival at the airport.  Marcos was presumed to be the man behind Ninoy’s death which galvanized waves of protests, then into People Power that ousted Marcos from his office and the land. The People Power catapulted Corazon Aquino into the presidency and catalyzed democracy back into the country.
This plain housewife, as Corazon Aquino usually described herself, hesitated to take the presidential seat. She also doubted her capacity to lead similar to how her husband would have led the country of which she knew what the Filipinos so desired. However, it was the battle cry of the revolution, hence, she said yes. Just as she was loyal to her husband, she was also subservient to the people and took on the role. She became the mother of her fellow countrymen and had no other intention but to know the needs of her children and sacrificed to achieve them. Did she succeed? Given the reborn democracy, it was a steep climb for her and the country, we all know that, but she had to do what she needed to do.

President Corazon Aquino Inauguration

Corazon Aquino takes the Oath of Office before Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, Sr. in Club Filipino, San Juan on February 25, 1986

How many of us realize that leadership is not about the leaders, but about the people who put the leaders onto their seats? It is not about having more power or authority, but it is all about using that power to achieve what the people deserve to achieve. Leaders are just catalyst not the outcome. The people are the product, the people gets the credit. Leaders are merely the reagent to the chemical reaction. Let us empower the people who made us leaders. Listen to where they want to go and help them get there.

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Fran

Learning and Culture Director at Stellar Philippines
Franelyn Saguindang Riego de Dios, MS has been in training and leadership development for more than a decade now. In earning her Master of Science in Biology degree, she joined the College of Science and Mathematics faculty of MSU-IIT and published her studies in Asia Life and Philippine Scientists Journals. For her, moving into the corporate world felt odd at first but with the scientific method and discipline in her backpack, it has become a fulfilling experience. You may also visit her personal Science Blog Site at Live Well. She also enjoys music (sings and plays the piano) and art (portrait sketch).
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