MANILA, Philippines – This year's celebration of the EDSA Revolution anniversary may be more "simple" and "quiet" compared to previous years, but several groups vowed to ensure the spirit of People Power will stay alive.
Instead of the usual February 25 ceremony at the People Power Monument, the Duterte administration's 1st EDSA celebration will be held a day ahead at Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
But Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the "simple" and "quiet" celebration does not mean the government is giving less significance to the EDSA Revolution. (READ: Robredo: EDSA anniversary deserves more than a quiet celebration)
Duterte supporters are also organizing several gatherings in the country and abroad, saying they want to mark the changes brought by People Power, and also show support for the President.
Two anti-Marcos blocs, meanwhile, are spearheading rallies to remember the 31st anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. (READ: Robredo hopes for united EDSA anniversary celebration)
Here's a list of the rallies on Saturday, February 25:
Organizers: February 25 coalition composed of the Coalition Against the Marcos Burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (CAMB-LNMB) and 71 other organizations
Time and venue: 4 pm, near the People Power Monument along EDSA corner White Plains Avenue
Statement: Aside from remembering the EDSA Revolution, the coalition will also push for human rights amid the extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs.
"We call upon all citizens to assert our sovereign will and resist all efforts to subvert civilian democratic rule and to revive dictatorship in new forms... We call on our government to respect the basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution, and to uphold the value of every individual life. Stop the killings!" said the coalition.
Organizers: Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma), in partnership with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)
Time and venue: Contingents will meet at EDSA-Connecticut at 9:30 am to march to the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas Avenue by 10 am. They will hold a brief program there before they march again to Camp Aguinaldo, where they will hold another program in front of Gate 2.
Statement: The Left-leaning bloc will remember the day by rallying for "genuine peace" with the call to continue peace talks with communist rebels.
"While EDSA toppled the dictatorship, it did not truly change society. The rotten system of bureaucrat capitalism, political patronage, and accommodation were not dismantled. It is because of this that the Marcoses were able to stage a political comeback," said Carmma.
Organizers: millennial-led #BlockMarcos Movement
Time and venue: Assembly at the People Power Monument at 9 am, start of caravan to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig at 10 am
Statement: The group will reiterate their call for the exhumation of Marcos' remains from the Libingan. They are also opposing the "repressive measures" of the Duterte administration.
"Following Marcos' lead, he is pushing for a range of repressive measures – death penalty, curfews, criminalizing the youth – etc that lay the ground for an undeclared dictatorship," said the group.
Organizers: Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Council (MRRD-NECC), headed by Interior Undersecretary John Castriciones
Time and venue: 6 pm, prayer vigil and performances of pro-Duterte artists at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. There will also be a gathering on February 26, 6 am, at the same venue, where there will be a parade and another set of performances.
Simultaneous gatherings will also be held in Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, and even abroad in Hong Kong, London, Dubai, and Canada.
Statement: "We would like to show that the support for the President is not waning and that there is really strong support for the President because a lot of people really think the President is doing the right thing in order to stamp out illegal drugs," said Castriciones.