Nelson Mandela cannot be compared to Filipino ‘hero’ Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr

I think the relevant thing of note to Filipinos on this day of the death of revered champion of human rights Nelson Mandela is that he cannot be compared to “national hero” Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. While Nelson Mandela, like Ninoy Aquino, endured imprisonment (though Mandela’s 27-year term dwarfs the latter’s), Mandela unlike Ninoy went on to survive, serve his country as its president from 1994 through 1999, and achieve as a true statesman. The proof of his greatness is in the actual performance and the results of that performance delivered to his people.

Mandela was often criticised for not doing enough to curb the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in South Africa. Rampant crime was cited by the more than 750,000 South Africans of European descent who fled the country in the late 1990s. However, Mandela remained widely-admired for his contributions to the uplift of living standards of impoverished black South Africans and mitigating the strained racial relations that was a legacy of decades of apartheid.


Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups. In 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant women, a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996. By the 1999 election, the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2 million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.

The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims. The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five. The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace. The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers, while the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.

My colleague Ilda noted a while back,

It was said that sport helped the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela sustain his spirits while in captivity for 27 years as a political prisoner. In 1995, as the president of South Africa, he handed the Rugby World Cup trophy to Francois Pienaar the captain of the victorious South African team . This single act united a nation divided and fractured by apartheid. I wish I could tell a similar story about the Philippines.

Indeed, the late Nelson Mandela is a man who is revered for both (1) enduring crushing personal sacrifice to uphold his principles and (2) delivering undisputedly outstanding results to his country consistent with those principles. Not too many historical figures enjoy a claim to having endured and achieved both respectively.

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” — Nelson Mandela

For with freedom come responsibilities.

Mandela, even in death, continues to speak to all the world’s peoples who remain broken by the unfulfilled promises made on the bases of ill-conceived notions of what “freedom” really means.

But in this one he seems to be speaking to one certain son of a ‘hero’ in particular:

As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the article “Nelson Mandela” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]


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100 Comments on "Nelson Mandela cannot be compared to Filipino ‘hero’ Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr"

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Not Really

Wait…who’s trying to make this comparison?


“For with freedom come responsibilities.”

I just cannot get it why, after the “evil dictator” left, Filipinos see freedom as some sort of license for impunity. Pictures of people ransacking the Malacanang palace comes to my mind, utter disregard of the rule of law while shouting, “kalayaan!” It all went downhill from then on.


I regretfully think you posted this too early, sir.

Indeed there’s no need or even no point for comparison. Whatever contribution Ninoy made is far different from that of Mandela. I am never discounting Ninoy’s fight, however; the difference lies in this- Ninoy is a spark. Was the spark sustained? Yes- for his children but not for the Filipinos he “died for”. Mandela is a leader, who was able to transcend time and provided sustainable change in SA. My opinion, and feel free to disagree; is that both men have qualities that we should adapt- but both men’s path in life is incomparable. Whoever does such would need a… Read more »
The Igorot Journal

You say Mandela cannot be compared with the late Aquino yet here you are comparing the two.

This is actually the first time I heard the two being compared. I get it, you don’t like other people comparing the two but you’ve probably just fueled people to do so.

Why not just write a piece about Mandela without dragging Aquino into it.

Amir Al Bahr

The sad (or disgusting, depending on the point of view) part is that Filipinos will always find a way to insert themselves and to look for something to glorify or “uplift” themselves in something that happened in another corner of the world.

Paul Walker dies – Pinoys made it about them,
and now watch Pinoys make it about comparing one of their “heroes” to Nelson Mandela.

A people not devoid of substance will not seek to make everything about them, or to relate it with their own experience. Rather, they will appreciate other personalities/events/issues simply for what they are/were.


The aquinos and their cohorts revel in death as a marketing opportunity – so i will not be surprised at such ridiculous and inappropriate comparisons. It will just show how sick, insensitive, self-interested, and misguided they are, and how they inhabit a moral cess pit devoid of decency.
only filipino politicians would try such a shameful act.

Roi Vee

You may want to rephrase your comparisons. You better compare the late Benigno and the BS Aquino, then you will get a huge differences. Isang matalinong Ama at mapagmahal na asawa at isang hindi ko alam na anak.

Roi Vee

Noynoy is NOT capable,period!


oops…why did I ever commented on the previous blog? Now, I am stuck in here. I don’t want to waste my time reading and stating my opinions to whatever topic that is in here. Now I understand what you are up to guys…birds of the same feather flock together…I’d rather spend my time and talk about positive things that to read all your opinions and negativism. Don’t judge if you are not a judge:) Enjoys your time guys…LMAO….Philippines doesn’t need people like you…

Johnny Saint

Can we compare Nelson Mandela and Benigno Aquino, Jr.?

At the very least, benign0, you will have to acknowledge that both men were imprisoned for their opposition to autocratic, repressive regimes. Had he lived, Ninoy would have likely implemented a socialist type of government that expanded the welfare state and instituted a similar type of “land reform” program. And while I disagree with their socialist leanings (Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party) they are both revered for being symbols of the struggles their respective peoples had.

Hyden Toro
I extend my CONDOLENCE to the South African people; for they lost a great leader; who is on level with: Mahatma Gandhi of India; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. , a civil rights advocate in the U.S. My eldest brother had a good friend from South Africa. He was an Indian-South African; a businessman. He was in the struggle against Apartheid ; a foot soldier of Nelson Mandela. Apartheid was a law enacted, in South Africa, by the Afrikaners; to separate Whites and Colored people. Colored people, cannot go to where the European White people go; in their own country.… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
I read it through the news grapevine (Daily Tribune and Manila Standard)… The dictator BS Aquino is trying to consolidate his power over the Supreme Court by strongly influencing the honorable justices with impeachment threats. They (BS and his KKK/Liberal party mates, yellow zombies, etc.)want the Supreme Court to heel in the case of the DAP controversy. Once this is done BS will have complete fiscal dictatorship and will ultimately seek total dictatorial control of the entire government without firing a shot or declaring martial law. BS Aquino is truly the worst deceiver, charlatan and hypocrite ever to be elected… Read more »
Pastor Ernie

Ninoy, a TRUE CHRISTIAN, explains GOD to Pastor Pat Robertson:

HA, thatsa laugh and a half, BOTH MEN? GIANTS one lived to see his dream come true, then that dream went backwards into a nightmare. the other? was MURDERED like a dog on an airport tarmac and his dream died with him, if anyone thinks the democracy Ninoy dreamed of became a reality….Well, the jokes on you who think so. The country is just a big SCAM and his Son is part of it. again, both MEN=GIANTS.PERIOD AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T THINK SO IS A DOOSHBAG!and if YOU think you aren’t a dooshbag for thinking either MAN was not a… Read more »

All roads which have taken the country down the route of feudalism, oligarchs, inequality, poverty, corruption, impunity and stagnation lead back to the cojuangco-aquinos.
Not one of them – past or present – is worth pissing upon even if they are on fire.
The brand only appeals to the emotions of the intellectually challenged, and the sheep like mentality of nonentities.

Thomas Jefferson

The dictator BS Aquino threatens to impeach SC Justices. From the Daily Tribune:


…And good riddance he isn’t. Instead of having tolerated these goons long ago after EDSA 1986, when tried and imprisoned or executed, it would have then paved way for a new set of leaders borne out of their natural skill for leadership rather than kinship.

Now where is that DeLorean?


no winder pnoy aquino didn’t attend nelson mandela funeral. he is getting honorary degree in japan.
ninoy aquino was known as the absentee student.
noynoy is the absentee president. warped priorities arising from a warped mind.
and all the honorary degrees will not negate tge fact that he is both lazy and stupid – and not worthy as both oxfird and cambridge universities made vey clear to him.
he should try working.


Maybe if the bullet(s?) that killed him missed him — maybe if he didn’t go back in first place — maybe you’ll be singing a different tune? I mean, it’s great and all that Mandela survived his 27 years in prison, but to use Madiba as a stick to beat senseless a man who couldn’t do what he would’ve wanted to do had he lived on just doesn’t seem right to me.