Marcos waxes nostalgic in Hawaii
HONOLULU — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. waxed nostalgic on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) after he returned to Hawaii where he and his family lived for five years after his father was ousted in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution 32 years ago.
Speaking before a gathering of Filipino Americans at the Hawaii Convention Center, the President said he could have flown directly to Manila from Los Angeles after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco.
“[But] I said, we have to go down, we have to land in Hawaii,” said Marcos who lived in Honolulu from 1986 to 1991. “The Filipinos and the Filipino Americans in Hawaii hold a very special place in my heart for all the wonderful experiences that we had here.”
“When my mother found out that I was coming to Honolulu, she said you make sure that you go back to all of those people who went out of their way to keep us comfortable, to keep us alive, literally alive,” he said.
The entire Marcos family was flown from Malacañang Palace to the Andersen Air Base in Guam and then to Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu in February 1986.
Although his father and namesake, former President Ferdinand Marcos, died in 1989, the entire Marcos family was not allowed to leave Hawaii until 1991, when they were allowed to return to the Philippines.
The president recalled that they literally had nothing when they landed at Hickam and Filipinos in Hawaii, many of whom were of Ilocano stock, provided the Marcos family with everything, from clothes, appliances, and other necessities.
“That is something that I will carry in my heart, that the Marcos family will carry in our heart,” the President told his applauding audience, which included some former members of the Presidential Security Command (PSC) that provided security to the Marcos family during those times. The PSC is now known as the Presidential Security Group.
“We tell our children about this and how wonderful you all were to us in the time that we were here. We could not have survived that very difficult period if not for you. These are the people who kept together the Marcos family’s body and soul,” the President said to resounding applause.
The president also commended the Filipino-American community for their acknowledged contributions to the economic development of the island state.
“Over the years, Filipino-Americans and Filipinos have contributed such a great deal to Hawaii’s economic development,” Marcos said in his speech at the Hawaii Convention Center.
The Filipino community in Hawaii dates back to the start of the 20th century when sugar plantations imported workers from the Philippines, mostly Ilocanos, the ancestors of Hawaii’s community of some 371,000 Filipino Americans.
“We see now, many very successful second- and third-generation Filipinos as well as present-day migrants who are an indelible part of Hawaiian society,” he said. “Because of you, the Philippines enjoys a very positive image in Hawaii. Thank you for all that you do for our country.”
“Even from the time of my father, you have been by our side in our quest to serve the country. From the bottom of my heart, I must say thank you for trusting me, for believing in this leadership, and in return, I and my administration will be hard at work and have been hard at work from day one to ensure that we accomplish all that we have set out to do,” he said.
Before flying for Manila on Monday, the president is scheduled to visit a US defense facility, observe capability orientation on the West Philippine Sea, join a barge tour and a wreath-laying ceremony, as well as a roundtable meeting at the Daniel Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.