Edsa – an unfinished Revolution

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


"EDSA and Democracy is not only about ousting a dictator nor just having to have elections but it is about responsible, free and honest elections. It is not only about restoring our democratic institutions but rather, it is about making those institutions work to ensure equitable distribution of power, wealth and resources for the people as well. EDSA and People Power is not just a celebration. It is a continuing aspiration and struggle for change that we can become " OroChange!Org.

On February 25, 1986, the Philippine dictator was announced to have left Malacañang palace after the "People Power" revolution which culminated at EDSA and where a nation was jubilant. I saw, how in Cagayan de Oro, people danced, turned to Divisoria, honked their cars, and celebrated in a party fashion, as if it was New Year.

It was amazing because I saw people raising their fists and hands chanting and waving like they were winning some kind of prized tickets on lotteries. It was more amazing to see many who were there at Divisoria, who I know were dead silent when the terrors of martial rule were still alive.

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The euphoria was like a nation winning a war. It was an atmosphere of a city with a team winning a major championship. Many people today were never born to join the celebration during those times when the mark of terror is pasted on the faces of the men and women in this country by a military government in a country which was once called "a nation of one tyrant and 60 million cowards."

That was not meant to be, because countless men and women died for the cause of that freedom to be restored in our troubled land. That was not meant to be, because millions of people occupied EDSA, a long strait of an avenue in Metro Manila against a battle ready military which was ready to use its weapons against its own people. It was not meant to be, because courage prevailed over a long strait of apathy and fear over the callousness of a culture of plunder, political patronage and waste of public funds instituted by a ruthless regime.

Not long after, the death of our heroes like Cesar Climaco, Evelio Javier and Ninoy Aquino, or the struggles of our long marches to freedom would simply look like it has faded away. Cory could not even muster enough people to march again with her against an institution of corrupted national elections by a disgraced former President. Not too long later, the same politicians were elected and thus ruled the Halls of our government and recycled the same culture of corruption which has chained our people in the same way of life of misery and poverty. Today, not even a President could move to EDSA and ask people to join him because the same ideals which we wanted to install were like gone and buried like history to be repeated.

Yet, we ought to be hopeful; because even Nelson Mandelas " long march to freedom in Africa" is still a struggle today for the real emancipation of his people from the inequities of society.

Today, long after Mahatma Gandhi led his people in India from British colonization, we can still see hundreds of millions struggling in poverty. Today, even as Martin Luther King has declared his dream for America, there are still hundreds of millions in that country struggling to buy their own food, send their children to College or even trying to keep both ends meet.

When I saw Cory installed into power, I thought I was done when I was 26 years old and so for a while I took myself to the sidelines and hoped to build a promising practice in dentistry, after having joined the struggle against the dictatorship when I was still 17 years speaking publicly against it and against the will of my father who was so tormented by the fact that the military could pick me up anytime. Yet not too long later, the struggle continues and the thought of a finished revolution has come to be realized as an unfinished business.

Today at 54 on the 26th of February, EDSA and democracy is celebrated but it is worked out on a daily basis, even away from my country and still, at the height of my priority for this nation. We shall never stop because our enemies never sleep. For a nation to be healed, God made that assurance to us in Scripture, "If my people will humble themselves and pray and change from their wicked ways then, I will have mercy on them, forgive their sins and heal the land." The process of renewal and change is therefore never ending, never perfect and never done.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 27, 2014.

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