Duterte gov’t to hold ‘simple, quiet’ EDSA anniversary

Pia Ranada
Duterte gov’t to hold ‘simple, quiet’ EDSA anniversary

King Rodriguez

'The emphasis has shifted. It is no longer a celebration of the past; it is now a reflection on what can happen in the future. We are moving on from those things,' says Malacañang on the theme of the 1st People Power commemoration after the hero's burial for Ferdinand Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – The first EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary to be held under the Duterte administration will be “simple and quiet,” and will focus on “moving the nation forward” rather than celebrating the past, Malacañang said on Thursday, February 16.

“It’s going to be very simple and very quiet… It will be about a reflection on nation-building,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a Palace news briefing on Thursday.

Abella said the public can also expect a “shift” in focus in this year’s celebration on February 25 – from shining a spotlight on the past, to looking toward the country’s future.

“The emphasis has shifted. It is no longer a celebration of the past; it is now a reflection on what can happen in the future… We are moving on from those things,” he said.

The theme of the 31st EDSA anniversary is “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building.”

Taking the lead in organizing the events is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea,  the new head of the EDSA People Power Commission. 

‘Time to move on’

This year’s celebration will also be the first after the hero’s burial for strongman Ferdinand Marcos who was toppled by the People Power Revolution in 1986.

President Rodrigo Duterte initiated the controversial burial to keep his campaign promise to the Marcoses and Ilocanos that he would have the former president interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Duterte is close friends with the dictator’s children, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In keeping with Duterte’s desire to hold public events without interfering with the daily lives of the public, the main commemoration activity may be held in Camp Aguinaldo instead of the traditional venue, the People Power Monument along EDSA, said former president Fidel Ramos in an ABS-CBN report.

When asked about this, Abella explained, “It’s time to move on from just celebrating the past, remembering the past, and to move on into the whole aspect of nation-building, to give it a more positive outlook and to… give a more positive understanding.”

“The whole nation is evolving; we can’t get stuck in the past,” he added.

How will Duterte participate in the celebrations? Abella said the President might attend small related events in Malacañang.

“Hopefully, if it’s done within the grounds, and I think they’re having some simple rites in Malacañang. I think there’s a planned Mass or something like that,” he said.

While Duterte initiated the burial of the former dictator, he has often reminded the public that his late mother, Soledad Roa Duterte, was one of the prominent Davaoeños who opposed the Marcos dictatorship. 

It is not yet known whether the government has scrapped the template used in previous EDSA anniversary celebrations, which included a reenactment of the historic “salubungan” that depicts the union of forces against the dictator in EDSA.

For the 30th EDSA anniversary last year, related events began as early as February 15. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.