ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The Iloilo provincial government is set to hold a huge commemoration of the 36th anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolution this Friday, February 25.
Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. issued Executive Order No. 136 on Monday, Feb. 21, ordering the celebration of the revolution that toppled the almost-21-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
The commemoration comes with the theme, EDSA 2022: “Pagtutulungan Tungo sa Sama-Samang Pagbangon Mula sa Pandemya” (Helping Each Other Towards Rising Together from The Pandemic).
Activities include a display of the Philippine flag until February 25 in the provincial capitol and all Iloilo provincial government offices, as well as in other government offices, establishments, sectors, and households.
The provincial government will also spearhead a Freedom Rally on the 25th at the capitol, which will include a Freedom Countdown, a People Power Noise Barrage, and a Freedom Caravan.
The Freedom Countdown will start at 8 p.m. and will end on 9:25 p.m., the exact time when the Marcos family fled the Philippines for Hawaii.
The People Power Noise Barrage will follow the countdown, with all government agencies, establishments, sectors, and households enjoined to participate. The province has also reached out to all churches to ring their church bells at 9:25 p.m.
The People Power Caravan will be the last part of the commemoration. Vehicles participating in the Freedom Rally will disperse and hold a motorcade to different points in the city and province of Iloilo.
Minimum public health standards will be observed during the Freedom Rally.
The new edict is based on Memorandum Circular No. 2022-012 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The circular encourages local governments to commemorate the 1986 revolt in their own backyards.
In a press briefing on Monday to announce EO No. 136, Defensor said that the celebration was “meant to safeguard the truth of history during the Martial Law years, and remember the struggle for freedom and democracy during those times.”
“We want it to be remembered that People Power did not only happen in EDSA but all over the country and also in Iloilo. We want to remember. We don’t want to forget. And we don’t want it to change,” said the governor.
The governor also clarified that since it was based on a DILG issuance, there would be no reference to any political color.
He likewise denied that this was a response to 2022 presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s scheduled visit to Iloilo on the 24th in Barotac Viejo town.
“It is an event to preserve the legacy of People Power as an ultimate assertion of the will of the people that charted the course of the country’s history and restored democratic institutions,” he said.
“This event does not mention the campaign of [former senator Marcos Jr.]. This is on the EDSA People Power revolution anniversary. This will happen on the 25th,” he added.
But the governor hinted at his position on the historical revisionism being tied to the Marcos Jr. campaign.
“For any attempt to change [history], I know [the existence] of historical revisionism. I was there [during the Marcos regime]. I’ve been rallying since I was in high school. We want to refresh the [people’s memories] on what had happened in 1986,” he remarked.
He did not confirm whether or not Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan, who will be in Iloilo on the 25th, are expected to attend.
His father, former governor Arthur Sr., was appointed to the the Presidential Commission on Good Government in 1989, taking charge of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
Their family including current Iloilo 3rd district representative Lorenz Defensor who endorsed Robredo in the 2022 national elections. – Rappler.com
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism fellowship.