35 years since EDSA, groups warn against threats to democracy
This undated file photo shows the EDSA People Power Monument
Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file

35 years since EDSA, groups warn against threats to democracy

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - February 25, 2021 - 11:56am

MANILA, Philippines — Groups on Thursday urged Filipinos to resist threats to democracy and scored rights violations in the country as the Philippines marks 35 years since the removal of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

At least a million Filipinos took to the historic Epifanio delos Santos Avenue for four days in 1986 to protest electoral fraud and call for the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos, whose rule for more than two decades plunged the country into poverty, saw human rights abuses by the police and military, and ended in his fleeing the country for Hawaii.

But more than three decades later, a group of Martial Law survivors described the present situation as reminiscient of the 1970s, where violations "are lamentably heightened every single day." 

Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto said in a statement that "government is again focused on spreading fake information and creating its own demons in the guise of 'counter-insurgency programs' and outright red-tagging."

Government officials, including from the military and the anti-communist task force, have increasingly linking of people and activists groups to the armed communnist movement with the passage of the controversial anti-terror law, which the Supreme Court has been holding oral arguments on.

Selda also hit President Rodrigo Duterte's fostering of close ties with the Marcos family as it pointed out that former first lady Imelda has not been arrested despite a 2018 conviction at the Sandiganbayan. The case is under appeal at the Supreme Court.

The family returned to power in the 1990s and members have held various elective positions on the local and national level. Marcos' daughter Imee is a sitting senator, while her brother Bongbong is a former senator and who lost the vice-presidential race in 2016.

"Now more than ever, we must not only forget: we must assert our right to fight back — to defy and resist this unbridled and worsening assault on human rights and democrcay," said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of rights group Karapatan.

Leaders' call for unity

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, in his message for the EDSA anniversary, called for "renewed hope and optimism towards the realization of our shared aspirations as a nation."

"May this serve as a constant reminder for all of us to remain vigilant in safeguarding out democratic institutions, preserving our values and upholding our rights as Filipinos."

He called on Filipinos to set aside differences and to work together "in building a legacy that we can proudly leave behind for future generations of Filipinos."

In her EDSA Day message, Vice President Leni Robredo said the promise of People Power has yet to be completed.

"Our democracy, ever fragile, is still under constant threat. There are efforts to revise history for the personal agenda of a powerful few. We are still in the process of forging the nation we dreamt of, and fought for, on EDSA."

"The challenge now is this: We must find within ourselves that strength, that faith, that fire to continue to the work that remains to be done."

The country's No. 2 also called for the same unity that Filipinos showed in 1986 to respond to the ongoing health crisis, which has infected over 566,000 in the country and killed more than 12,000.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with