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EDITORIAL - Still an unfinished revolution

EDITORIAL - Still an unfinished revolution

(The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2021 - 12:00am

The dictator who was ousted in the revolution now lies in the heroes’ cemetery, and his only son and namesake is said to be considering a stab at the presidency. Efforts to recover the billions stolen from public coffers during the Marcos regime have had spotty success. Part of the mind-boggling ill-gotten wealth has been recovered, but none of those accused of amassing the loot has ever gone to prison.

Corruption, as President Duterte has lamented, is deeply entrenched, from petty graft to large-scale plunder. The past five years have seen more people killed by police, ostensibly for resisting arrest in a brutal war on drugs, than the number of people, as listed by human rights groups, who were summarily executed in the entire dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos.

With two of the biggest plagues of the Marcos dictatorship that fueled the 1986 people power revolt still very much around, it can be frustrating to consider that 35 years have passed since the peaceful uprising. It can be even more frustrating to consider that over the past three decades, the country has been overtaken in economic progress and many human development indicators by several other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Democracy is a difficult system that needs a lot of heavy lifting to work. The reforms needed to make democratic institutions function well do not automatically fall into place after a revolution. Integrity and efficiency in public service, the rule of law, respect for civil liberties, social justice and the creation of a merit-based society do not happen overnight.

People empowerment also transcends revolutions, through quality education for all, equitable public health care, and the provision of decent livelihood opportunities that will make it unnecessary for Filipinos to seek employment overseas.

One of the surviving leaders of the EDSA revolt, former president Fidel Ramos, is reminding the nation that people power served as an opportunity for Filipinos to “make things right, to do things right.”

“The revolution is not over and the work remains unfinished,” Ramos said on the eve of the 35th anniversary of people power, which he described as a “resplendent moment for it represents the best of Filipinos.”

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