‘Holiday or not, remember 1986 people power revolt’

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
�Holiday or not,  remember 1986  people power revolt�
Members of organizations from different sectors gathering at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan where Corazon Aquino was sworn in as the 11th Philippine president on Feb. 25, 1986.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines —  Filipinos should still commemorate the 1986 EDSA people power revolution even though its anniversary this year was not listed as a holiday by Malacañang, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) said yesterday.

According to Ian Christopher Alfonso, officer-in-charge of the NHCP’s research, publications and heraldry division, Filipinos should remember and honor the uprising that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and forced his family into exile.

“A holiday or not, the essence of the EDSA People Power revolution should be remembered. Remembering does not only happen during wreath-laying or flag-raising ceremonies; this is embodied in our everyday lives. What is the spirit of EDSA, what became of it, what was the benefit for the Filipino people?” he said in an interview.

The NHCP led a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the People Power Monument yesterday morning, which was attended by officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Quezon City government.

“We hope that the memory remains, especially what we benefitted from the 1986 Revolution. We hope Filipinos will continue to appreciate it,” he said.

Apart from the government, several groups also gathered at the monument, including members of the August Twenty One Movement (ATOM), of which one of the founders was Butz Aquino, the brother of slain senator Ninoy Aquino.

ATOM president Volt Bohol said Filipinos should continue celebrating the EDSA revolution anniversary amid efforts “to really make us forget about this very important event in our history.”

To combat these efforts, Bohol said several groups are joining initiatives to commemorate the uprising, not only in Metro Manila but also in provinces. These groups, he said, would coordinate their activities across the country.

In a statement, human rights group Karapatan decried how Feb. 25 was “crossed out” from the list of holidays this year and the attempts of the administration to “erase the names of those killed, disappeared and imprisoned under martial rule.”

“While this move is hardly a surprise, coming from Marcos, it remains a travesty of history and a direct insult to the people. It is also a reflection of Marcos Jr.’s rule: he tries so hard to win the people over with his flowery speeches and ‘presidential’ image, while doing everything in his power to make the people forget about the evils of Marcos Sr.’s rule. Like dictator father, like wannabe dictator son,” Karapatan said.

Anti-revisionist group Tanggol Kasaysayan said the month of February is a significant month for democracy as it was also during this month that the 1987 Constitution was ratified.

Now that political forces are moving toward revising the Constitution born out of the lessons of the Marcos dictatorship, Tanggol Kasaysayan said Filipinos need to actively voice their opposition to erasing EDSA from history.

“Defending the 1987 Constitution symbolizes the preservation of learning from history. This is part of recognizing the success of the EDSA Revolution of 1986 where the people became the well of resistance and hope at a time when legal institutions were being exploited for personal interests,” Tanggol Kasaysayan said.

Karapatan also scored how the administration views Charter change as a priority while Filipinos remain struggling.

“But if there is one thing that we learned from People Power – it is that no tyrant, no dictator remains in power forever. People Power was not only EDSA. As long as injustice remains, and tyranny and dictatorship exist, People Power is and should be a continuing reality for our times,” the group added.

As part of the youth sector, Emilio Aquino, the grandson of Butz, said commemorating the EDSA revolution is “really about remembering what the people stood for in 1986.”

“EDSA is not just about politics, it’s really about values. A lot of young people really have strong beliefs. I think that can be translated to having a sense of pride in our country, valuing democracy. I think that can be an opportunity we can penetrate into as we move along, as we continue to remember EDSA every year at this time,” he said. – Neil Jayson Servallos, Mark Ernest Villeza, Bella Cariaso

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