Aquino: People Power began in Cebu

Paterno Esmaquel II
President Benigno Aquino III defends his decision to mark, for the first time, the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution outside Metro Manila

DIFFERENT CELEBRATION. President Benigno Aquino III inspects the bunkhouses in Barangay Cogon, Loon, Bohol on Feb 24, 2014, the eve of the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. Photo by Rolando Mailo/Malacañang Photo Bureau/PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – Finally, Cebu got the credit it had always deserved in relation to that historic uprising.

On Tuesday, February 25, the son of democracy icon Corazon Aquino marked the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution in Cebu and not in Metro Manila – the first chief executive to do so. 

In previous years, Philippine presidents celebrated the People Power anniversary along EDSA, the iconic highway that saw thousands of Filipinos ousting a dictator on Feb 25, 1986.

In a speech in Cebu, President Benigno Aquino III explained: “Para sa akin ho, kung sasabihin natin kung ang huling yugto o huling kabanata ng pakikipaglabang maibalik ang demokrasya ay nangyari sa EDSA, puwede nating sigurong masabi, ang unang yugto, nag-umpisa naman sa Cebu.”

(For me, if we would say that the final chapter of our struggle to restore democracy happened in EDSA, perhaps we can say that the first chapter began in Cebu.)

Aquino recalled it was in Cebu that his mother, Corazon, launched a civil disobedience campaign against then President Ferdinand Marcos.

At panatag po ang aking loob, na dahil nasa Cebu ang aking ina, siya ay nasa mabuting kamay, pangangalagaan ng mga Cebuano. ‘Yong mga nagtatangka ng masama, hindi magtatagumpay dahil nandoon siya sa piling ng ating mga masugid na kakampi, at ulit po, maraming salamat sa inyo,” he said.

(And I had peace of mind that because my mother was in Cebu, she was in good hands, and Cebuanos would take care of her. Those who had evil plots wouldn’t succeed because she was with our most ardent supporters, so again, I thank you.)

People Power not only in Manila

In an interview with reporters later on Tuesday, Aquino said Filipinos didn’t only stage the People Power Revolution in EDSA. The revolution also happened in Cebu, Davao, and other places across the country, he said.

At palagay ko naman time na rin, di ba, after 28 years ma-recognize iyong contribution ng iba’t ibang lugar. Pag-aalsa ng taumbayan ‘yon sa buong Pilipinas at hindi lang sa Metro Manila,” Aquino said.

(And I think it’s about time, right, 28 years later, to recognize the contributions of other places. It’s a revolution of the people in the entire Philippines, not only in Metro Manila.)

Holding the anniversary rites in Cebu, he said, will also counter revisionists who say the People Power Revolution only happened in Manila.

Aquino said he will spend the rest of the day in areas affected by recent disasters.

These areas include Tacloban, the city worst hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and also a bailiwick of the Romualdezes, the family of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.