ED­I­TO­RIAL! Pars­ing Edsa

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! -

YES­TER­DAY was the sec­ond “spe­cial (non-work­ing) day” of the year 2019, as in­di­cated in Procla­ma­tion 555, signed by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte on Aug. 15, 2018.

The Edsa Peo­ple Power Revo­lu­tion was piv­otal for Filipinos, ac­cord­ing to his­tory writ­ers. This year marks the 33rd an­niver­sary of the “Yel­low Revo­lu­tion,” which “re­stored and ush­ered po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, and eco­nomic re­forms” in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Procla­ma­tion 555.

Yet, to go by on­line searches, the sig­nif­i­cance of yes­ter­day can be summed up in a telling phrase: “long week­end.” Stu­dents are spared the usual Mon­day blues. Em­ploy­ees know it means “no work, no pay” but, ac­cord­ing to law, if one is re­quired or opts to work, he or she can ex­pect full pay plus 30 per­cent of the ba­sic pay, in­clud­ing an ad­di­tional 30 per­cent of one’s hourly rate for hours ren­dered beyond the reg­u­lar eight-hour stint.

Com­mut­ing woes await wage-earn­ers stay­ing home. A three-day week­end means also re­treat­ing from the ur­ban jun­gle.

In a nut­shell, “es­cape” has come to be as­so­ci­ated with Feb. 25, a far cry from the con­tin­uum of events that eroded the Filipinos’po­lit­i­cal ap­a­thy with the Aug. 21, 1983 as­sas­si­na­tion of Benigno “Ni­noy” Aquino, Sr. and cul­mi­nated with the mass­ing of cit­i­zens sup­port­ing govern­ment troops re­belling against the op­pres­sive rule of Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos on Feb. 25, 1986.

The civil dis­obe­di­ence of fam­i­lies, youths, men, women, the re­li­gious, and other cit­i­zens “armed” only with rosaries, flow­ers, and songs was demon­strated along the 54-kilo­me­ter stretch of Epi­fanio de los San­tos Av­enue (Edsa) in Metro Manila, and repli­cated by sim­i­lar protests in Cebu, Davao, and other cities in the coun­try.

Yet, the “blood­less revo­lu­tion” in Fe­bru­ary 1986 did not come with­out cost. Since Mar­cos im­posed mar­tial law in 1972, civil lib­er­ties were sus­pended, ac­com­pa­nied by the ar­bi­trary ar­rest, de­ten­tion, dis­ap­pear­ance, tor­ture, and death of govern­ment crit­ics, the op­po­si­tion, and even the po­lit­i­cally neu­tral. While the Left ini­tially led in re­sist­ing and fight­ing the state, vo­cal crit­ics and mo­bi­liz­ers in de­nounc­ing and coun­ter­ing the abuses and ex­cesses of the govern­ment even­tu­ally came from the mid­dle class, the well-off, and the church.

Key fig­ures un­doubt­edly played in the Peo­ple Power Revo­lu­tion; the prom­i­nent roles played by Ni­noy Aquino and his widow Cory were later used by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo

Duterte to cast a po­lit­i­cal taint on the Edsa Peo­ple Power Revo­lu­tion as an oli­garchic ma­nip­u­la­tion of mean­ing-mak­ing in our his­tory.

The Yel­low Revo­lu­tion may have failed to over­haul and re­make our so­ci­ety, but the gen­er­a­tions that lived through the dark years of Mar­cos rule have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to make the gen­er­a­tions born af­ter the Edsa Peo­ple Power Revo­lu­tion re­turn to the lessons of our past, deal with the present and an­tic­i­pate the fu­ture.

It was not only per­son­ages that gath­ered at Edsa and other key cities to fight for democ­racy with­out giv­ing in to vi­o­lence com­mit­ted against fel­low Filipinos. Ev­ery Filipino took a stake in is­sues that con­cerned the na­tion, shak­ing off the ap­a­thy and class-in­flu­enced self-in­ter­ests that mocked ex­er­cises in po­lit­i­cal self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, such as elec­tions and p l eb i sci t es.

Dif­fer­ences in po­lit­i­cal be­liefs and af­fil­i­a­tions were sus­pended when Filipinos united to de­nounce and re­sist the sup­pres­sion of civil lib­er­ties, pri­mar­ily the free­dom of ex­pres­sion, the right to a free press, and the un­ham­pered ex­er­cise of le­git­i­mate dis­sent and pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in gover­nance.

These times bring a bad case of déjà vu in its sim­i­lar­i­ties to the very con­di­tions that trig­gered the Edsa Peo­ple Power Revo­lu­tion: ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, sup­pres­sion and oppression of govern­ment crit­ics, cor­rup­tion, abuse of po­lit­i­cal pow­ers and per­se­cu­tion of the marginal­ized and the dis­em­pow­ered.

We may pre­fer to dis­miss Feb. 25 as just an­other long week­end for es­cape. Will we be able to ac­count to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions how we con­ducted our­selves as Filipinos dur­ing our watch?— Sun­nex

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.