CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- "Our martyr Ninoy Aquino changed the track of this country forever when he sacrificed his life for democracy," said Mayor Oscar Rodriguez.

The City Government and multi-sectoral groups led by Free Masons, students from as far as Arayat, officials and employees of City Hall commemorated former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.'s 27th death anniversary at Heroes Park.

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A "Ninoy" photo exhibit from the collection of Jaime Corpuz and a film showing of the martyr-senator, who was assassinated on August 21 at the then Manila International Airport, followed the wreath laying ceremonies at the park where the father and mother of President Benigno Aquino III have monuments.

"I could have been with the party welcoming Ninoy but because five peasants were massacred in Candaba that same day, I stayed behind. Later, when I heard the sound of helicopters continuously flying in the skies, I felt something was wrong. True enough, I saw it on the news that Ninoy was assassinated," narrated Rodriguez, adding "Kasama akong naghinagpis noong araw na iyon sapagkat naging kasama ako sa mga galaw ni Ninoy noong panahong iyon."

Rodriguez said: "I cannot forget him and his importance to Kapampangans and Fernandinos because it was a fellow Kapampangan who sacrificed his life to bring back democracy and the freedom we enjoy today."

He said Ninoy had sacrificed family, wealth and life to change the country's course of history.

"Because of Ninoy lumakas ang loob ng mga Filipino na lumaban sa diktadura and Cory became President where she brought back peoples' liberties. And now their son clamors for change. Ang lahat ng ito ay bunga ng kontribusyon ni Ninoy," he quipped.

Rodriguez, recalling the 27 years past, said that Ninoy, as a first generation Aquino, had passed on the baton to second generation Noynoy, to continue much needed reforms and changes in government.(Jovi T. De Leon)