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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government officials hail achievements of Philippines' Aquino

Government officials hail achievements of Philippines' Aquino

Ruling party and opposition figures hailed the achievements of former Philippine president and democracy icon Corazon Aquino, who died Saturday following a long battle with colon cancer.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Sunday that Prime Minister Hun Sen had sent condolence letters to the Manila government and to Aquino's family, but he could not elaborate on their contents.

Others said Aquino, as the first female president of the Philippines, was instrumental in increasing the involvement of Asian women in politics.

"Women in Asia and around the world have greatly regretted the passing of Aquino," said Som Kim Suor, a secretary of state in the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

"She was a heroine of democracy in the Philippines."

Democracy champion
Aquino, popularly known as "Cory", became a figurehead of the democratic opposition to authoritarian president Ferdinand Marcos after her husband, opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr, was assassinated in 1983.

Following a disputed election in 1986, a series of peaceful mass demonstrations - later known as the People Power Revolution - lifted Aquino to the presidency, a position she held until 1992.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua, herself a former Minister of Women's Affairs, said that Aquino made up for what she lacked in personal charisma by serving as a symbol for social change.

[CORAZON AQUINO] was a heroine of democracy in the Philippines.

"She was known for believing in her people, and [the idea] that People Power is linked to democratic change," she said.
She also warned that Cambodia was on a similar trajectory to that of the Philippines before Aquino's People Power Movement toppled Marcos, who had been in power for two decades.

"We're at a different stage, but on the same path," she said.

"It's like a bubble coming up from boiling water.... We don't want to have bloodshed or social turmoil, but we do want change."

Aquino is set to be buried in Manila on Wednesday.



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