MANILA, APRIL 25, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Aquino is optimistic that the country would be able to rise from darkness and the Calvary of corruption with the government and the people working together.

"I am one with the Filipino nation in celebrating the Lord's resurrection from the dead as He saved mankind from sins," he said in his Easter message released yesterday.

Aquino said the people should not waver in their faith in God and must continue following His lessons.

"This is the first Easter celebrated by the new administration," he said.

"No matter how dark the episode we had been through, the advancement of honest and good governance, along with strong faith and cooperation, would be our foundation to overcome the Calvary that we have to deal with as we came in (government)," he added.

Aquino said the people must intensify charitable works to manifest God's love and compassion.

"Let us continue to remember the real meaning of His great sacrifice," he said.

"Each and everyone of us can contribute to the end of corruption to lift our people from poverty and difficulties. It is only through this that the people would feel the real light of change," he said.

Aquino wished all Filipinos a peaceful and blessed celebration of Easter.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said Easter should bring renewed hope and optimism to the people.

"Easter never fails to strike a note of triumph in our national soul. That is as it should be: The first resurrection event showed that the boulder that kept the Nazarene in death's darkness was rolled away - and it delivered a powerful message: Christendom's Christ can roll away our deepest problems," he said.

"The message of Easter to us in these trying and challenging times is this: We can together roll away the boulder of problems that bedevil our national existence. Hope will replace despair, a sure sense of triumph will banish defeatism, and a regime of people's well-being will overcome dehumanizing poverty. Good is stronger than evil, courage is mightier than fear, and light more powerful than darkness," he said.

Binay: May Christ inspire Pinoys

Vice President Jejomar Binay is hopeful that the passion of Jesus Christ would inspire Filipinos, especially government officials, to serve fellow Filipinos out of "genuine love and selflessness."

In his Easter message, Binay said the Filipino people would only realize the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Philippines through "unity and cooperation."

"On Easter Sunday, I pray that the Passion of Jesus Christ would move us to offer ourselves for the sake of other people," he said.

"May He inspire us to serve our fellow Filipinos out of genuine love and selflessness. Through our unity and cooperation, I know we will soon bring the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Philippines to reality," he added.

Belmonte: Easter fulfilled God's promise

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday Easter is the fulfillment of God's promise to redeem mankind from sin.

"It is the completion of the Messiah's mission, His triumph over evil and conquest of death," he said.

"It is the culmination of Christ's suffering and passion, the affirmation of His Divinity, His infinite love for humanity, and the beginning of our life free from sin and under God's mercy.

"This Easter, may we realize that our faith is built upon a love so powerful, one that compelled the Father to send His only begotten Son to deliver humanity from Sin; the same love that emboldened the Son to repudiate his own Divinity and fully embrace mortality, with all its failings and pains, that He may show the world the way to redemption.

"This Easter, May we be reminded of the fundamental pillar of our faith, and follow the teachings embedded in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. And may we be filled with courage to manifest and share the love that God has so generously bequeathed upon us, that we may carry on the mission that Christ, upon his ascension, entrusted to each of us," he said.

Aquino pays respects to Ayala

President Aquino flew to Davao City on Maundy Thursday to pay his last respects to the late banana magnate and industrialist Jesus Ayala, who also served as the legislative liaison of his late mother, President Corazon Aquino.

Ayala was also Mrs. Aquino's close adviser.

She sought Ayala's advice before running for president in the 1986 snap elections.

Her son also consulted Ayala before he decided to run in the May 2010 polls.

Aquino said he was hoping to pay Ayala a visit before he died last Tuesday.

"I was hoping to somehow visit him and I was hoping my schedule would allow me until I received a text message telling me that he's gone," he said.

Aquino arrived on board a private plane at around 11:15 a.m. and immediately proceeded to the Ayala residence at Juna

Subdivision, where he stayed for two hours and 30 minutes.

Aquino was actually expected to depart for Manila at 12:30 p.m. However, he stayed till 2 p.m. at the Ayalas and spent another 30 minutes mingling with military and police officials at the Technical Operations Group before finally flying out.

Aquino was accompanied by his sister Pinky during his visit. His two other sisters Ballsy and Viel paid their respects to Ayala the day before.

Ballsy said Ayala was like a father to them as his advice was always sought by the family.

Aquino described Ayala as "always a good person" who was always helping "the entire clan" even during the time of his mother.

"He was always giving without expecting anything in return," he said.

Aquino said he felt a bit guilty that he might have also added to the stress of Ayala who was already ill at the time that his advice was sought.

Aquino said that when he ran for senator in 2007, he already had a network of support in Luzon and the Visayas but hardly any in Mindanao.

"So if I've been making any inroads there, it was because of the trust, confidence and efforts of people like Tito Chito," he said.

Aquino said Ayala was the linchpin during the presidential polls last year.

"You would miss the presence of people who are 'positive' unlike others who are more pasanin (burden)," he said. "His comforting presence will surely be missed."

Ayala owned and founded the JVA Group of Companies that has under its wings a number of agriculture companies such as Eden Fruits and Farm Products, banana plantations, as well as leading tourist destinations in Davao City such as Eden Nature Resort, Buenavista Island Resort, High Ponds Resort and the MTS Entertainment Complex.

Ayala was considered to be the "father of development" in Southern Mindanao since he served as Regional Development Council chairman for a rather long time.

Ayala's close affinity with the Aquinos also paved the way for his having led the "Yellow Friday" movement in Davao City against the Marcos administration.

Aquino cited Ayala's continued development work even after his illness started to affect him. - With Jose Rodel Clapano, Jess Diaz, Edith RegaladoASTER


President Noynoy Aquino's Easter Sunday Philippines message April 24th, 2011

Here is President Noynoy Aquino's Easter Sunday message for Filipinos:

Kaisa po ako ng sambayanang Pilipino sa pagdiriwang nang pagbangon ng Panginoon mula sa kamatayan, nang tubusin Niya ang sangkatauhan sa kasalanan.

Sa pagwawakas ng Semana Santa, hindi sana magtapos dito ang ating taimtim na pananalig sa Panginoon. Ipagpatuloy natin ang pagtupad sa Kaniyang mga aral at lalo pa nating paigtingin ang ating pagkakawanggawa.

Ito ang unang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay na ipinagdiriwang ng ating bagong administrasyon. Gaano man kadilim ang kabanatang ating dinaanan, ang pagsusulong ng tapat at mabuting pamamahala, kaakibat ang matibay na pagtitiwala at pagkakaisa, ang pundasyon natin upang malampasan ang kalbaryong ating dinatnan.

Patuloy nating alalahanin ang tunay na diwa ng Kaniyang dakilang sakripisyo. Bawat isa sa atin ay may maiaambag sa pagtuldok sa katiwalian upang maisalba sa hirap at pasakit ang marami nating kababayan. Sa pamamagitan lamang nito, mararamdaman ng bawat Pilipino ang tunay na liwanag ng pagbabago.

Isang mapayapa at mapagpalang pagdiriwang ng Pasko ng Pagkabuhay sa ating lahat.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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