EDITORIAL - Remembering, 38 years later

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Remembering, 38 years later

The nation marks today the 38th anniversary of the people power revolt with new personalities organizing or participating in mass gatherings against the administration. At the EDSA Shrine, groups identified with the opposition during the 1986 peaceful revolt intend to gather to amplify calls to protect the Constitution from self-serving amendments.

Ratified in 1987, the so-called Freedom Constitution was designed to prevent a return of the authoritarian rule, state abuses and large-scale corruption under the elder Ferdinand Marcos. Opposition to Charter change, which is currently being pushed by the House of Representatives, is also the cause taken up by groups that are expected to gather in Cebu today, led by former president Rodrigo Duterte together with his family and supporters.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has admitted that the ouster of his father and namesake and their exile were “dark days” and “a very trying time” for their family. He entered politics, he said at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last year, “to defend ourselves politically,” to protect his father’s “legacy” and for his family’s “own survival.”

Following his election to the nation’s highest office, marking his family’s dramatic political comeback, Marcos has often called for unity. Unlike the Lunar New Year or other special events, however, he has not declared a holiday for the EDSA anniversary commemoration. But Marcos Junior is showing so far that he is no autocrat like his father. In the human rights department, he is also seen as a major improvement from his predecessor. Former senator Leila de Lima, who is finally out on bail, sees the current Marcos administration as a “breathing room” from the “authoritarian regime” of Rodrigo Duterte.

Filipinos may have lost their appetite for people power, but this should not diminish the significance of the event 38 years ago that inspired other democracy movements around the world. The event showed what Filipinos united behind a worthy cause can achieve. This spirit can be harnessed for the many reforms that are still urgently needed to strengthen democracy, promote inclusive growth and realize the promise of an unfinished revolution.

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