Today, 25 February 2022, the Philippines celebrates the 36th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
Almost four decades hence, this event is still significant to the country especially with the upcoming national elections in May 2022. Four decades hence, the issue is still a hot topic for debate and discussions, with both sides having supporters and with similar societal issues affecting the country, then and now.
36 years ago, the reign of a power-hungry Philippine President ended through a bloodless revolution. Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. became the Philippines’ 10th President in 1965, was reelected in 1969, and imposed Martial Law in 1972. He wielded power for 21 years (15 years more than the lawful 6 years Presidential term) until that fateful day, 25 February 1986, when hundreds of thousands of Filipinos from all walks of life trooped to the streets, and when major figures in the Philippine military and Philippine clergy publicly declared support for the revolution.
With many scholarly articles written about EDSA and news features on the commemoration, plus the fact that I am not an expert in the field, I do not intend to write an informative piece on EDSA but rather to share some views as a concerned citizen of my beloved Philippines:
- Despite the wealth of research done on the subject and the first-hand accounts of victims during the martial law period, a good number of Filipinos still have the flawed belief that Ferdinand Marcos was the best President and the Martial law era was a great period in Philippine history because “the people were disciplined” and “the citizens were afraid to break the law.” The people with this belief that I personally came across come from different sectors–an educated lawyer, a taxi driver, a teacher, a student, etc.
- Infrastructures built during the presidency of Marcos are used by his and his family’s supporters as proof of the magnificence of his time. Common lines would be “Huwag kang dadaan sa ____.” (Don’t pass by _______.) “Huwag kang pupunta sa building ng ____.” (Don’t go to the ________ Building.) My God! This is another problematic view. The country’s infrastructures are funded by the citizens’ taxes and they should not be considered the personal favor of the country’s leader or built mainly out of the goodness of the heart of any President. Worse, because of the huge foreign debt incurred during that time, honest and hardworking taxpayers in the Philippine are still bearing the consequences until the present of other people’s greed from decades ago.
- Burying former President Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in 2016 was an honor he did not deserve. He could have been laid in a place significant to the family and with the full respect accorded to him in the Philippine traditions, but not in the heroes’ cemetery. Those hallowed grounds should be only for heroes. Sadly, there are justifications for the decision but these do not change the fact that it was a moral and ethical mistake.
- The issue of EDSA Revolution is not just between two families as what some people portray it to be. It is an issue of the power-hungry leaders versus the citizens of the country who wanted change.
There is still plenty to write but I realized that writing about this topic can be emotionally tiring and may even invite attacks of rabid Marcos supporters. But, on this day, the anniversary of EDSA People Power revolution, we should do more than reminisce. We should take part in countering misinformation. We should speak out for what we believe to be lawful and true.
I repeat, #NeverAgain. No to oppression. No to human rights violation. No to corruption.
For further reading/study, please see these links:
“The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos” http://rizalls.lib.admu.edu.ph:8080/ebooks2/Primitivo%20Mijares.pdf
“The Kingmaker” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzTdND43-G4