was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history
2nd President of the Fourth Republic
1st President of the Fifth Republic
became the first woman president of the Philippines when she grabbed victory over her rival Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuancgo-Aquino was born on January 25, 1933 to Jose Cojuangco, Sr. and Demetria Sumulong.
Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines is her hometown
One of the wealthiest and most prominent land-owning families in the Philippines.
She was born in Manila and is the fourth of six children.
She then studied law at the Far Eastern University in the Philippines and her honorary degrees include:
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas (Manila)
Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, from Stone Hill College (Massachusetts), University of Oregon, Seattle University, and San Beda College (Manila)
Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from College of Mount Saint Vincent (New York), Ateneo de Manila University, and Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines)
Doctor of International Relations, honoris causa, from Waseda University (Tokyo), Fordham University, eastern University, and Boston University.
She married Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. in 1954 and they had five children.
Her husband Ninoy became a mayor and governor in Tarlac, where he soon got elected as a senator.
Under the dictatorship of then President Ferdinand Marcos, Ninoy got arrested, was sentenced to death, and went into exile in 1980 together with Cory Aquino.
Aquino freed 441 political prisoners and forced 22 pro-Marcos generals to resign.
She also restored the writ of habeas corpus, which is the right of a prisoner to appear before a judge, and she also eradicated the government’s prerogative to arrest and detain people at will.
In March 1986, she declared a provisional Constitution and then a commission was appointed to write the new Constitution, which was designed to safeguard the country against dictatorship.
In 1987, Aquino laid programs for land reform and expanded land reform to sugar lands, wherein she issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order 229.
She established Republic Act 6657 known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which also introduced the idea of profit sharing, wherein landlords were able to dispense small lots to tenants.
When Aquino became president, she inherited a weak economy. The Philippines was bankrupt and debt-ridden after twenty years of the Marcos regime.
She also moved quickly to tackle the issue of the US$26 billion foreign debt incurred by her predecessor.
Since 1986, the Aquino administration has paid off $4 billion of the country's outstanding debts to regain good international credit ratings and attract the attention of future markets.
The economy posted a positive growth of 3.4% during her first year in office.
In her final year in office, inflation was raging at 17%, and unemployment was slightly over 10%, higher than the Marcos years
Overall, the economy under Aquino had an average growth of 3.8% from 1986 to 1992 .
But in the aftermath of the 1989 coup attempt by the rightist Reform the Armed Forces Movement, the Philippine economy remained stagnant.
Nevertheless, the administration borrowed an additional $9 billion, increasing the national debt by $5 billion within six years time since the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
It was crucial for the country at that time to regain the investors' confidence in the Philippine economy.
I don't have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy. All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It's always the people who make things happen.
National leaders who find themselves wilting under the withering criticisms by members of the media, would do well not to take such criticism personally but to regard the media as their allies in keeping the government clean and honest, its services.