Noy: People power will see us through
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - People power helped the country survive even the worst of calamities, President Aquino said as he highlighted the spirit of the EDSA People Power revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship 28 years ago today.

“Like what we showed in 1986, we again proved to the world the extraordinary concern of a Filipino for a fellow Filipino. It’s really a great honor for me to serve as President of a country that is unshakeable, and whose spirit of cooperation becomes stronger in times of challenges. I am confident, with the help and guidance of the Lord God, we can overcome any challenges that we have to face,” Aquino said yesterday in Cateel, Davao Oriental, which was devastated by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012.

The President said it was clear that solidarity among the Filipino people was yielding good results.

He stressed this kind of unity and concern for others would be needed to continue to succeed in rising above the tragedies that befell the nation.

Aquino chose to conduct the activities celebrating the EDSA revolution in the areas whipped by calamities, including Cateel, Loon in Bohol that was hit by a powerful earthquake, as well as in Cebu, Leyte and Eastern Samar, which were lashed by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The President explained he chose to celebrate the EDSA anniversary in calamity-hit areas to broaden its meaning and spirit.

Filipinos who are trying to rise above challenges wherever they are in the world carry the spirit of the revolution, Aquino said.

In the face of trials, Aquino said Filipinos would not sulk in a corner, wait for miracles to happen and hope that things would be back to normal the next day.

“Instead, we moved with our arms linked,” the President said.

Aquino said to be honest, it could not be helped that tragedies would come and there was no technology to stop them. But nothing is impossible with people working together, he said.

During the EDSA revolution, Aquino said awakened Filipinos took to the streets and declared enough was enough and that it was time for change.

Aquino emphasized the people who were even strangers to one another stood there, not for their own sake but for a renewed Philippine society.

The President said the Filipinos were now facing different kinds of challenges, including those from nature, and it was the right decision for him to tour the areas hit by disasters to relive the spirit of EDSA.

He said these calamities only made Filipinos stronger and more prepared.

Aquino acknowledged the “thank you’s” from survivors but noted he was just an instrument to effect changes.

He said it was the people’s decision for him to serve them and he was glad to do so with the help of his Cabinet.

“No Filipino is alone,” the President declared as he spoke later before a crowd in Loon.

In his speech, Aquino said “Filipinos freed fellow Filipinos” from the dark consequences of tragedies by making them feel they would always be ready to help one another.

He said it was important to sacrifice and uplift one another in times of difficulty. With unity and cooperation, Aquino said no trial or tragedy could bring the Filipinos down.

“We make the impossible possible,” the President said, noting the foreign government officials and their representatives who had told him how impressed they were with the resilience of the people.

Instead of sulking and isolating themselves asking why things happened, Filipinos would always choose to reach out and give more to others even if it meant less for themselves.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon welcomed President Aquino and some Cabinet members in Cateel.

In her speech, Malanyaon said they consider it a “great honor and privilege” to have Cateel chosen as one of the venues for this year’s celebration of the EDSA revolution.

“The historical incident of EDSA was triggered by political upheavals, yet it has a striking similarity to the climate-related Pablo incident our province had experienced,” she said.

“The EDSA revolution was a story of resiliency, of faith and hope, of rising from the rubble; our ‘building back better’ is also a story of resilience, of faith and hope that we shall overcome, and of rising from the devastation of Typhoon Pablo,” Malanyaon said.


Binay at EDSA rites


Vice President Jejomar Binay will attend today the 28th anniversary celebration of the EDSA revolt at the People Power Monument in EDSA.

He is expected to join other leading personalities of the People Power revolution during wreath-laying rites set at 10 a.m.

Binay was a human rights lawyer during the Marcos regime and was a close friend of the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of President Aquino.

He was among the first to be appointed by President Corazon Aquino as officer-in-charge of Makati when all mayors were ordered to resign after Marcos was ousted from power.

Binay said that eradicating poverty has remained a challenge for government and the citizens 28 years after the EDSA revolution.

“True democracy cannot thrive in a society whose population lives in poverty. It is our duty – government and citizens alike – to make sure that the economic gains of our country are felt by all,” Binay said.

Binay said that the spirit of EDSA “must live on in the sustained triumph of one of the people’s most fundamental freedoms: freedom from hunger and fear.”

The military unit tasked to secure the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City has been placed on red alert status in preparation for the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the alert status took effect last Sunday and only covers the Headquarters Support Command (HSC), the unit in charge of Camp Aguinaldo’s physical security.

About 100 soldiers belong to the HSC, which includes the military, police, K-9 units and explosive ordnance division.

“The red alert status was declared here at Camp Aguinaldo at the headquarters service level because the People Power Shrine is located within the environs of general headquarters,” he added.

The red alert for the HSC started on Feb. 23 at about 5 p.m. and will be in effect until the commemoration of the People Power anniversary ends, Zagala said in a press briefing yesterday.

When a unit is placed on red alert status, all its personnel will be placed on standby to ensure enough manpower in the event of an emergency.

Zagala said other Camp Aguinaldo-based units like the General Headquarters Staff, Joint Task Force National Capital Region and the joint, technical and personal staff remain under normal alert status.

The military said the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 should give a lesson to communist rebels, saying that the historic event reflected the Filipinos’ opposition to armed struggle as a means to achieve change.

“The non-violent EDSA People Power 28 years ago was the loudest expression of the Filipino people’s rejection of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) armed struggle to attain social change,” Zagala said.

He claimed that elections have also proven wrong the rebels’ claim that a violent ouster of government is the way to real change.

“The succeeding democratic elections have continuously and repeatedly crushed the validity of the CPP line that only through violent overthrow of government can real change be achieved,” he said.

The EDSA revolt toppled the Marcos dictatorship and paved the way for the restoration of democracy in the Philippines. It is widely regarded as a shining moment for Filipino nationalism.

The military has repeatedly called on the communist rebels to abandon the armed struggle and to talk peace with the government.

Communist leaders, however, have refused to return to the negotiating table, citing the supposed failure of the government to honor previous agreements.

The negotiations hit a snag after the two sides failed to reach a consensus on the NDF’s demand to free jailed communist leaders with pending criminal charges. The NDF represented the rebels in the peace talks.  With Edith Regalado, Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero, Jose Rodel Clapano

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