MANILA, Philippines – If there was one common message that panelists at an online forum – “EDSA on My Mind: Remembering the 1986 People Power Revolution” – on Tuesday, February 22, would like to tell the Filipino people, it is this: never let the late dictator’s son reclaim their power in the Philippines.
At the forum hosted by Ateneo de Manila University, four speakers – namely Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, economist Solita Monsod, journalist Ed Lingao, and retired general Emmanuel Bautista – shared their experiences on the dark chapter in the Philippine history that led to the EDSA Revolution which toppled the late dictator.
“Why think of the people power revolt that happened 36 years ago? We revolted against a Marcos then, are we going to allow his son to be president now? They are made of the same cloth,” Monsod said.
The renowned economist debunked claims that the Martial Law period was the golden years of the Philippine economy. (READ:[ANALYSIS] Hindi ‘golden age’ ng ekonomiya ang Batas Militar)
“Why did we revolt against Marcos? Because he led the country for 20 years and brought it down to its knees with a collapsed economy. Inflation rates at 50%! Foreign debt was close to a 100% GDP (gross domestic product). Now, at 60% people are already panicking. Years back, GDP was at 100% and what we found later to be a very serious poverty problem,” she said.
This year’s commemoration of EDSA Revolution is taking a different turn as the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is seeking the presidency to reclaim their power. He has been leading poll surveys since he declared his bid last year.
“I hope you never forget that glorious moment in our history that saved our nation from violence. I hope we never forget the sacrifices of many unsung heroes and martyrs who worked hard for the peaceful restoration of our freedom. Because if we do so, we will lose the respect of many countries that followed our example of a non-violent means of achieving social change through what became known then as people power,” David said.
EDSA Revolution in 1986 was the “bloodless” series of protests that overthrew the 20-year regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Under the late dictator’s rule, he effectively put the entire power of government under the rule of one man: his own. He was to lead the nation and direct the operation of the entire government. He ordered the armed forces to prevent or suppress any act of rebellion. Curfew hours were enforced, group assemblies were banned, privately-owned media facilities shuttered.
Those considered threats to Marcos were rounded up and arrested by members of the military and the notorious Philippine Constabulary. There were some 70,000 people detained, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed during martial law. The Marcoses also plundered the country’s coffers, with various estimates putting the amount at between $5 billion to $10 billion. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history)
‘Was EDSA a failure?’
During the forum, Lingao said that EDSA Revolution is a reminder to make people’s voices heard and for them to make their own choices. He also took a swipe at people who said that the uprising was a failure.
“EDSA was not about telling people who to vote for after 1986, it was just giving you the chance to vote and to speak. And now we have the voice to speak with, and we misuse it. And now people have the vote to choose with, and unfortunately they also misuse it,” he said.
He added, “Was EDSA a failure? No. I suppose we were the failure.”
Meanwhile, Bautista called on the Filipino youth to accept the challenge for change.
“I call on our youth to play an important role, to take the side of the Filipino people and to secure the future of our country. After all, this is our future. I have faith in the Filipino youth, its intelligence and sound judgment, its patriotism, its desire to make a difference,” he said. – Rappler.com