MANILA, Philippines - I was in 3rd year college the year Ninoy Aquino was killed in 1983.
It was an awakening of sorts — since my batchmates included the likes of Rep. Erin Tanada, Sen. Koko Pimentel, and Rapa Lopa, the head of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation.
I joined the long walk from Sto. Domingo Church to Luneta on the day of the burial of Ninoy Aquino, whom I have to thank for bringing to life in me a love for this country.
In 1986, I was at EDSA. Like the millions who were there, I too stood guard over Camp Krame and prayed with nuns and priests as we walked up and down EDSA. I even slept on the sidewalk of EDSA; I would head home briefly only to change my clothes and use the toilet.
When Ferdinand Marcos fled on February 25, 1986, I took a jeepney to Malacanang and walked through the great halls of the Palace. I remember seeing people jumping up and down on the family photos of the Marcoses. I also distinctly remember the electric cars that Borgy Manotoc used to ride as a child parked in one of the rooms in the palace.
In 1986, I went all out and voted for Cory Aquino and all her senatorial candidates. I thought then that change was coming.
Young and very idealistic, I wanted to do all I could to help the country. So I joined the Senate as a staffer of Sen. Vicente Paterno. I stayed on in the Senate after Paterno’s term ended in 1992. I worked as a part time staff in the office of Sen. Alberto G. Romulo.
Fast forward to 2013.
I am no longer the idealist I used to be. I guess many can say I have become a little cynical about so many things that have become of the country where I live and the people who have been chosen to run it.
Don’t get me wrong — there is no other place I would rather live in, for now. Yet I know now at 51 that serving the country comes in many forms, not just running the government like many people seem to think.
Here’s a list of 10 things I learned from EDSA 1986:
1. Be idealistic
It helps spring you into action. In my early 20s I wanted to serve, so I started out as a teacher in the school where I graduated high school from. I taught religion and social studies.
It was not enough, so I left and worked at the Senate. Numerous NGO jobs followed. But it was youth and idealism that moved me to want to be of service to the country.
2. Promises are made to be broken
I heard them all when I worked in the Senate, each senator promising something better for the country.
But only a few delivered; many others only delivered speeches.
3. Sleep on the streets for what you believe in
Do this even if just once, because it keeps you in touch with the people who really matter – your fellow Filipinos.
4. 2013 is not 1986
Yes, now that I am 51, I believe service for the country does not come in voting for the jokers who seem to think they know what is best for the country.
I am no longer a registered voter. I only voted once, in 1986.
5. Stand up for what is right, no matter how small
Change is what we make of the things that present themselves to us every day.
I know that if I don’t litter, waste water from the tap, and don’t gossip, I am helping the country become a better, saner place.
6. Share what you have
It was when I was waking along EDSA in 1986 that I saw just how united we could be as a country.
That lesson has never left me, so I find it important to share what I can with those who need them.
7. Vote only if you believe
That’s why I don’t vote. But that is my choice.
Voting is your right so exercise it. Participate and be part of carving our country's future.
8. No President has a monopoly of answers to the country’s woes
Cory Aquino didn’t and neither did anyone who came after her.
The sad thing is more often than not they think they do.
9. Continue to have faith in the country
Although I don’t vote, I still believe we are a great nation.
10. Make every day count
1986 taught me that — and I have been the better for it. - Rappler.com
(Kathy Moran is a veteran journalist and our Sunday #RapplerPets contributor, among others. She normally writers about pets, rescuing animals, and animal rights; but on the anniversary of EDSA 1, Kathy went back and recalled these lessons that she is sharing with us today.)
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