Millions of Filipinos around the world are mourning the death of former Philippine president Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III yesterday (June 24).
In a press conference today (June 25) fronted by the former president's sisters and other relatives, Aquino died peacefully in his sleep. He was 61 years old.
His sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada said that he was pronounced dead in a hospital in Quezon City due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. She noted that they weren't able to make confirm the details immediately due to Covid-19 related protocols that had to be followed beforehand.
“No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take for us to accept the reality that he is gone. Mission accomplished, Noy," she said.
Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, also known as 'PNoy' and 'Noynoy', was the 15th president of the Philippines, serving the maximum three terms, from 2010 to 2016.
He was the son of politician Benigno Aquino Jr. and former president Corazon Aquino.
The Department of Foreign Affairs circulated a statement on social media honouring Aquino's legacy.
"During his term as the 15th president of the Philippine republic, President Aquino elevated the country’s conduct of foreign relations, steered foreign policy towards a principled direction that earned international respect and esteem, and invigorated the foreign service with a collective sense of patriotism, commitment to service, and professionalism." the post stated.
International news coverage also highlighted his role in transforming the nation's economy.
A Bloomberg article wrote, “Under Aquino’s six-year presidential term, the nation’s economy grew an average of 6.2% and twice exceeded 7%, the fastest pace since the 1970s. His administration pursued tax evaders, narrowed the budget deficit from a record level, and enabled the Philippines to clinch its first investment grade score from a major credit rating company," Cesar Purisima, who served as finance secretary under Aquino, said in a statement.
“The turnaround story of the Philippines -- from Asia’s sick man to Asia’s bright star -- is without doubt one of his greatest legacies ... his six years in office was proof of his fundamental thesis: that good governance delivers great economics.”
Aquino made an official tour to Australia in 2012, visiting the Rizal Park statue in Campbelltown and meeting with the local community in the area. He also made a speech at the Asia Society Australia dinner at Sydney’s Shangri La during the trip, where he also met local Fil-Aussie businesses and investors.
Sydney-based Jim Paredes posted on Instagram: "I have experienced 11 Presidents. He was the best overall. Goodbye Pnoy, my leader and friend. You were true to the end."
Mission accomplished, Sir.
Further reading: Seven most quotable quotes from PNoy during his Aus and NZ visit