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No holiday, no problem.
Malacañang’s decision in October 2023 to exclude the EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary from the list of holidays in 2024 prompted democracy advocates to push back harder and mount numerous commemorative events this year, according to the grandson of democracy icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino.
“A fire was lit under us when the holiday was canceled, which was questionable because other holidays that fell on a weekend like the Chinese New Year were recognized as a holiday,” Kiko Aquino Dee said.
“This year, in particular, it is clear that there is an effort to set EDSA aside, and that’s something we stand against,” he added.
So far, the Buhay ang Edsa campaign network has listed the following events later this month:
- February 23: National Day of Prayer and Action for EDSA
- February 24: Kapihan at Talakayan sa Naging Papel ng August Twenty-One Movement noong People Power Revolution
- February 25: Freedom Ride, Multimedia Assembly, and Concert
The culmination of the bloodless revolt on February 25, 1986, kicked dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos out of Malacañang after an iron-fist rule that lasted more than a decade. His family soon went on exile in Hawaii, an experience that his son Marcos Jr. described as among the darkest days of their lives.
A decades-long project to rehabilitate their family’s image ultimately led to the Marcoses returning to power, capped by Marcos Jr.’s ascent to the presidency in 2022.
For 2024, the Palace downplayed its removal of the EDSA Revolution anniversary from the list of holidays, saying there would be “minimal socio-economic impact in declaring this day as a special non-working holiday since it coincides with the rest day for most workers and laborers.”
A fight against charter change
This year, democracy advocates are also using the EDSA revolution anniversary commemoration to amplify their opposition to charter change.
“We cannot talk about EDSA without defending the Constitution that made the victories of EDSA enjoyed by the people,” Aquino Dee said.
The present Constitution was completed months after the 1986 uprising, and ratified through a nationwide plebiscite in February 1987.
It replaced the 1973 Constitution, which helped Marcos justify his prolonged stay in office.
Around 78 student council organizations across the country have banded together to reject attempts under the Marcos administration to amend or revise the present Constitution.
“It is our firm belief that charter change will not address the worsening education crisis where our learners are failing globally in reading, mathematics, and science,” said Kris Felices, a member of the alliance. “We fervently urge the government and other policy makers to concentrate their efforts in addressing pressing concerns affecting the youth.” – Rappler.com
(Quotes in Filipino were translated into English.)