EDSA People Power Revolution

Duterte on EDSA 36: Honor those who fought for democracy

Pia Ranada
Duterte on EDSA 36: Honor those who fought for democracy

REMEMBERING PEACEFUL REVOLUTION. President Duterte issues his last EDSA Revolution message as president. Malacanang photo

Malacanang Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte issues his last People Power Revolution message as the country's Chief Executive

MANILA, Philippines – On the last EDSA Revolution Anniversary he will commemorate as Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte asked Filipinos to honor the memory of the country’s peaceful revolution to uphold democratic freedoms.

“It has been 36 years, but the events of the People Power Revolution remain vivid in our memory, when millions of Filipinos gathered at EDSA to reclaim our nation’s democracy,” said Duterte in his EDSA Revolution message, sent to media on Friday, February 25.

“This celebration serves as a strong reminder that with unity, cooperation, and faith, there is nothing that we cannot collectively achieve for the greater good of our country,” he added.

Duterte is not scheduled to attend any EDSA Revolution commemorative activity.

He called on Filipinos to “honor and thank” people who “continue to keep alive” the legacy of the 1986 People Power Revolution which contributed to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos and the end of his two-decade rule. During the Marcos dictatorship, 70,000 people were detained, 34,000 were tortured, and more than 3,000 people were killed, according to Amnesty International.

Duterte said that, in the present day, it’s government frontliners, healthcare workers, and calamity responders who embody the “true essence” of People Power.

“Let us emulate their heroism, selflessness and compassion as we strive to recover from our present challenges and march forward to a better Philippines for all,” said the President.

The next People Power Anniversary will be commemorated under a different president. If recent voters’ preference surveys are the basis, that president would be Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator.

Marcos and his supporters have sought to downplay the atrocities and government corruption during his father’s rule, helped by a barrage of online disinformation. Martial Law victims fear that a Marcos presidency would seek to revise history and erase the human rights abuses they and their kin have suffered. They fear that efforts to recover the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth would also be abandoned.

In 2018, Duterte even described Marcos Jr. as his ideal successor, but in 2021, he called the presidential candidate a “weak leader” who has used illegal drugs. – 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.