Vote buying works in a loop of poverty. The poor need money and the politicians give them money.
I was 13 when People Power altered the course of history in February 1986, too young to completely understand its repercussions yet old enough to realize that what had transpired was unique and extraordinary.
If I couldn’t grasp EDSA revolution’s relevance in its entirety while in the midst of it 27 years ago, what more then for you, the youth of today, born long after it took place? You have to rely on history books, grainy videos, and second-hand accounts, not knowing enough to distinguish between history that is real and history that has been conveniently revised.
Our challenge as your parents and mentors, therefore, is to ensure that you know exactly what happened and to make the event relevant to you today.
The basic facts of the EDSA story should be familiar to you by now and need not be discussed at length, but let me tell you what it personally felt like during and immediately after the peaceful revolution.
The series of events leading up to the dictator’s flight was truly a case of all the pieces coming together at the right place and time. Can you imagine such a quick, spontaneous, and relatively peaceful undertaking without the benefit of today’s internet-driven social media?
Clear and honest communication was the glue that kept everything together. Citizens were reached through radio broadcasts (Radyo Veritas, Radyo Bandido) and later, via free-to-air television after the takeover of a state-run TV station by the “rebels.” Without this, there would be no people’s revolution to speak of. It was nothing short of a miracle.
When the dust had settled, the positive energy in the country was palpable. Media was awash with messages of hope, unity, and pride. Being Filipino meant something. We could hold our heads high and be proud of the fact that we had accomplished something the world had never seen before. There was a genuine sense that 1986 was the tipping point for great things to occur in our country.
Don’t lose hope
Nearly 3 decades later, though, we find ourselves asking: what have we really accomplished since then? Has anything truly changed? In the face of poverty, injustice, constant political grandstanding, and corruption, there is great temptation to believe that nothing has changed, that the situation has worsened, and that it would be easier simply to give up.
Arguably, some of that may be true. But even then, my appeal to you is the same appeal that pervaded for years before the culmination of the 4-day miracle of 1986: don’t lose hope.
Even if much of what you see in the news is negative, don’t lose hope.
Even if the poor and weak fight an uphill battle against poverty while dishonest politicians line their own pockets with taxpayers’ money, don’t lose hope.
Even if the constant bickering among the numerous factions in our country continues to roar deafeningly, don’t lose hope.
Think about this for a moment: what if, after Ferdinand Marcos had been “officially” declared the winner of the 1986 snap election, the opposition had simply shrugged their shoulders and conceded defeat?
What if, after Radyo Veritas was shut down by the government, Radyo Bandido had not started broadcasting from the RJ studios?
What if, after Jaime Cardinal Sin had given his instructions to protect the rebels from oncoming military troops by barricading EDSA, nobody arrived?
Do what is right
History is a permanent part of us, but it doesn’t completely define us, either. That is why we need to keep our dreams for the country alive and continue to do what is good, right, and just. Because no matter how bleak the future seems, hope gives us the power and perseverance to change it.
Who knows how long it will take? We may have to wait 30 more years before all the right pieces fall into place again. But to even have a chance for that to happen, we have to put in the work, mold the pieces, and fasten them together, one by one.
Many of us adults have not been the most ideal role models, and I apologize. But there are those of us who have kept up the fight or have died trying. Learn from them, follow their lead.
And in the same way people came together by the thousands to form the world’s first People Power revolution many years ago, so will we all band together again. Maybe not physically on the streets, but morally and spiritually, all focused on pursuing the dream of making our country united and proud once more. - Rappler.com
Michael Gohu Yu is a doting father who can transform into Homer Simpson the next minute. He likes writing about parenting.