Philippines marks 25 years since 'People Power'

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that the struggle for good governance and the fight against the corruption that characterized the brutal regime of Ferdinand Marcos continues 25 years after the late dictator's ouster in the "People Power" revolution.

In a speech to mark the four-day revolt in 1986 that restored democracy and ended Marcos' 20-year regime, Aquino recalled that Marcos ruled with an iron fist as he enriched his family and associates amid the nation's poverty.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii three years after his ouster. Poverty, corruption and insurgency are still major problems in the Philippines.

Aquino said the revolt raised hopes that democracy would also bring prosperity and a government that would safeguard the people's money, but said that did not happen in the decade under his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"There were some who betrayed the public trust and raided government coffers," he said. "With good governance to fight corruption, we can free our people from poverty."

Arroyo held power for nine years, surviving several coup attempts by disgruntled military officers and impeachment bids by the opposition, who accused her of corruption, election fraud and human rights abuses. She has denied the charges.

Aquino is the son of the country's two democracy icons. His mother, Corazon Aquino, claimed victory against Marcos in the fraud-marred elections two weeks before the revolt, and was installed as his successor. His father and Marcos' archrival, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, was assassinated by soldiers in 1983.

A third of Filipinos live on a dollar a day. Lack of jobs at home has forced an estimated 10 percent of the 94 million Filipinos to work abroad, sending home billions of dollars that help shore up the country's economy.

Aquino has resumed peace talks with communist insurgents and Muslim separatist rebels to end more than four decades of armed conflict that has also stunted the country's economic growth.