Reason to celebrate?

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By Carlos Legaspi Jr.

Questions that Matter

Thursday, February 20, 2014


IN OUR lives, there are significant events that we need to celebrate and rejoice. However, there are non-significant events that are often celebrated or made as a national holiday to commemorate shame and fraud.

In the Philippines, many people celebrate useless and shameful events in history. Take the case of the “fall of Corregidor and Bataan” which had been renamed as “Araw ng Kagitingan” or “day of courage and bravery.” The Liberation of Negros which is fraudulent is being celebrated as a victory but looking at it, it could have been one of the greatest and bloodiest battle in history. It was a good thing that Spain was already losing the battle for world superiority over US.

This coming February 25, the nation once again celebrates the “Fall of a dictator – Ferdinand Marcos” through a popular non-bloody revolution – Edsa People Power. My wife told me the other day that if she was a relative of the Marcoses, she would laugh at the celebration. Looking at the scenario today, the people had not totally eradicated the Marcoses from running the state. Bongbong is a senator; Aimee and Imelda are still in the political scenario and are freely roaming around the country. Is it because the Filipinos are forgiving or is it because we see no significance in the fall of the dictator?

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I was saddened by the fact that the young people of today are not that aware of what had happened way back in 1986. I am now handling a History class and when I discuss something in reference to the dictatorship, I see blank faces. It seems that they have not heard of what the Marcoses had done to us. Asking some students about Edsa, they talked about Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and the Edsa Shrine. Among the 10 college students I asked, no one related Edsa with Marcos. I think we have to look at how History is taught in high school. We missed the point in the discussion of Edsa that it was a successful overthrow of a dictator through a non-bloody revolution. We have to focus on this rather than on the personalities involved in that event. Are we on the right track in our celebrations of Edsa?

The faith aspect of the event is a non-issue. The Catholic Church had really played and portrayed its Prophetic role during the Edsa Revolution. Jaime Cardinal Sin was a good figure head during the event and so were other bishops of the dioceses outside of Manila. The Diocese of Bacolod was among the most colored and colorful diocese in the Philippines during the Marcos regime. Bishop Antonio Fortich and the clergy were united in their stand against the dictator. Fortich’s leadership was instrumental in letting the spirit of justice and peace sip into the hearts of the poor as well as the rich (those who are only involve in social transformation). Negros was a wood in the throats of the Marcoses and his crocs. Negros was really a force to be reckoned with during the dictatorship.

The diocese was known to be a great mover during the dictatorship. The diocese then stretched its jurisdiction from Bacolod to San Carlos (north) and Hinobaan (south). When the bishop with cause-oriented groups call for a protest march, people from the farthest parishes would attend and show their protest. Welgang Bayan and rallies were popular at that time. Oppression and militarization were the tools used by Marcos in order to curtail development and transformation of society. Martial law extended beyond its lifting. Philippine Constabulary personnel were abusive and oppressive to those whom they suspect as insurgents. Negros was really one of those left behind.

Not only Bishop Fortich but also the governor was one of those who are known to be a lukewarm supporter of Marcos. The late Alfredo Montelibano Jr. was running the province independent of national policies.
So, is there a need for us to celebrate Edsa?

St. Ezekiel Moreno, Lorenzo Ruiz, and Pedro Calungsod, Blessed John Paul II, Mons. John Liu and Su and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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