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'Good to Be Back,' Aquino Tells Cheering New Yorkers

September 19, 1986|United Press International

NEW YORK — Philippine President Corazon Aquino, fresh from her triumphant visit with Congress, was greeted today by chanting yellow-clad supporters at City Hall and vowed to continue her slain husband's mission for freedom.

She was presented with the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.

Aquino, who was graduated from Mount St. Vincent's College in the Bronx, is expected to return to her alma mater during her three-day stay in New York, which includes an appearance with world leaders before the U.N. General Assembly.

"It is good to be back in New York," said Aquino as she was greeted by Gov. Mario Cuomo, Archbishop Cardinal John O'Connor and Mayor Edward Koch at City Hall.

Yellow--the official color of Aquino's campaign--was the dominant color at City Hall. About 300 people crowded into the City Hall chamber and another 1,000 swarmed outside, chanting "Cory, Cory," and wearing "I love Cory" buttons.

As she did before Congress, Aquino referred to her husband, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., a strong opponent of Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was assassinated in 1983.

"I am here to continue the mission he started," Aquino said.

She arrived at Kennedy Airport at 10:20 a.m. from Washington, where she spoke before a joint session of Congress on Thursday. (Story on Page 6.)

Her plane touched down to a warm welcome by New York's business community, which bought three pages of advertisements in the New York Times for greetings to Aquino.

"Never did I see anyone take the Congress by such storm as this president took them," Koch said of Aquino, referring to a House vote Thursday providing for $200 million in additional foreign aid to the Philippines.

Medical Supplies Given

Before she left Washington, the Reagan Administration and a private relief agency gave Aquino a $20-million send-off: a planeload of medical supplies for soldiers fighting communist guerrillas.

"I know that the Filipino people who will be receiving this will know what a true friend America is," Aquino said as she stood at Andrews Air Force Base before the U.S. military transport plane.

The medical supplies, which will also be used to help Filipino civilians who can't afford their own health care, were purchased with a $10-million U.S. government grant and an equal sum from the relief group Americares.

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