Edsa where?-A A +A
Questions that Matter
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I WAS 2nd year High School when the infamous event at the tarmac happened: the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr. It was the start of my becoming a socially conscious being. At the height of my teenage years, when my classmates were busy collecting paraphernalia or the Ninoy souvenir items to add to collections, I went out of my way to talk to the ordinary people and this opened my eyes to the harsh realities beyond the tall walls of our home and our school. My encounters with the poor people made my horizon broader and wider. Soon, I found myself in the streets calling for the ouster of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
In the 1986 snap elections, I and a handful of my classmates volunteered for NAMFREL. With all enthusiasm and vigilance, I served NAMFREL as a runner. I was in my 4th year when the historic elections came. Soon, I found myself once again shouting with the people, calling for Marcos to step down and to invalidate the election results. This really opened my eyes to the harsh realities and lies inside the government. Together with the masses, we fought the dictatorship of Marcos and threw him away. The birth of the EDSA revolution unfolded before our very eyes as the dictator went off to Hawaii.
In Negros, the people started the revolution immediately after the snap elections. Rallies here and there were staged to educate the people. The Church in Negros was so active and supported any opposition against the Marcos regime. At the height of the EDSA revolution, all walks of life were already rallying against Marcos.
Then Bishop Fortich asked the faithful for civil disobedience. The good bishop was very vocal against Marcos. If we could recall, the Kabankalan incident led to the imprisonment of 9 lay leaders and 3 priests (the Negros 9). This was a form of harassment, telling the bishop and the clergy to shut up. But the incident brought fire to the ember.
In other parts of the country, the opposition were gunned down and hunted by Marcos Dobermans-The Philippine Constabulary. Negros had its share of murdered men like Col. Wilfredo Geolingo. I was even apprehensive that time that Marcos would once again declare martial law. However, he could no longer control the other forces of the AFP for there were already defections and disobedience led by some generals.
Enrile and Ramos became instant heroes. Cardinal Sin, the bishops, clergy, religious men and women went out and joined the crowd in EDSA and called for the ouster of Marcos. Many politicians turned their coats and joined the revolution. Those who once dined with Marcos turned away from him and joined the bandwagon. Soon, we heard over the radio that the revolution was over. The people had taken Malacañang and Marcos fled to Hawaii. This was the signal of victory.
Every Filipino who participated in the revolution was so hopeful that the new president will be true to her promises. Genuine land reform, freedom for political prisoners, new breed of politics, and many more promises. The freedom and joy was short-lived. The freedom Constitution was soon changed and a new constitution came out with great grey areas from everywhere. The hope of the people seemed to have been clouded by a very heavy dark shadow. The spirit of EDSA died immediately as personal interests of politicians set in.
Today, what a shame. The legacy of the masses is buried. We no longer have the spirit of EDSA among us. The younger generation could only read the history but could not see the significance of it in politics and governance. The spirit of EDSA has been killed and had been dead for the past 27 years. The new generation can no longer see its significance and its relevance.
So, long people power. Goodbye EDSA revolution. We fought for nothing. We only liberated those who are now in power. The struggle continues somewhere!
St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, San Pedro Calungsod, Blessed John Paul II, and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 26, 2013.