On the way home, I happened to pass by the People Power Monument along the corner of White Plains Avenue and EDSA. The image of “Inang Bayan”, with hands raised up in the air, was striking against the backdrop of the summer afternoon skies. I was so mesmerized by the imagery that I grabbed my phone and tried to grab a clear picture of it.
Incidentally, we are only a couple of days away from the commemoration of the event that freed us from the hands of a dictator some 31 years ago… as what we have been told. Where has this famous “People Power” revolution led the Filipinos and the country, three decades after?
The claim-to-fame of the bloodless revolution was it overthrew the dictatorial regime of the late Ferdinand Marcos. It overthrew an oppressive government whose alleged crime involves corruption, human rights violations, mysterious disappearances, and brutal deaths. Crimes that Filipinos hope and pray would stop after the Marcoses flew to the US to escape the fiery emotions of Filipinos that was oozing along EDSA.
The EDSA revolution kicked out the dictator “daw”.
Although true to their claim of having successfully kicked out the former President and his family, it is interesting to note that the same family is back in the order of things in Philippine politics. What is REALLY funny is the tremendous noise created by EDSA 1 personalities and their “believers” on the controversial burial of the former President and yet they only managed to simply ring the bell as the Marcos family slowly got back to power. The culmination, so far, is having Marcos Jr. finishing 2nd in the Vice Presidential race and now has a pending election case in court. I have no words for these EDSA personalities. They feared the dead more than the living Marcoses. Truth be told, EDSA 1 definitely kicked out the Marcoses TEMPORARILY.
The EDSA revolution brought back power to the Filipino “daw”.
School text books and prominent EDSA personalities brandish that the said revolution gave power back to the people. We have been overwhelmed by pride for this grand declaration for years. Imagine having ordinary people numbering to thousands, and possibly millions, in one gathering demanding for change. But was power really transferred to us or was power transferred from a few to a broader few? Come to think of it, all national and local elections from then on have been mired by alleged electoral fraud. Why? Because some people wanted to retain the power with them. We have been blinded that the EDSA revolution gave power back to us but reality is, it never did. It just gave birth to a new and broader batch of power-yielding families who simply infatuated us by blasting us with the propaganda that the EDSA People Power was for the people by the people. Reality… they asked Filipinos to go to the streets to transfer political and economic power from them to a bigger them.
The EDSA Revolution was the road to justice “daw”.
People Power was a sigh of relief for the thousands of Martial Law victims. It was a turnaround for them to finally start their search for justice. But 30 years after, some of these victims still has to receive their compensation after winning a landmark case. In fact, it was only a few months back that PDuts have given the nod to start the release of these compensations to its rightful owners. Yes… justice still has to close its loop for these victims. Well how can we expect justice to be served fast when even after two Aquino Administrations, we are still in the dark on the mastermind behind the death of their patriarch, Ninoy Aquino.
The EDSA revolution gave way to reforms “daw”.
The hope when common people occupied EDSA was a hope for reforms. Reforms that would trickle down to the majority of Filipinos. But I guess most of these reforms remained as a hope, some 31 years later. Case in point, while the Cory Aquino administration brandished its success on Agrarian Reform, the vast land in Tarlac owned by them remained in their stead. And when the Supreme Court upheld its ruling to distribute it to the farmers, the PNoy Administration retaliated by having the SC Chief Justice Corona impeached from office. To this day, we have yet to see the actual implementation of the reform by the family of the former Philippine President who signed it into law.
Some may say that there were a lot of reforms in place and it is true. But far from these reforms are those that needs to be implemented and felt by the common Filipino. The Agrarian Reform is a just example of the many hypocrisies of some of the ruling parties in Philippine government. Reforms that would make the lives of common Filipinos better are being held in bay in favor of the ruling class’ whims to hold on to power.
The EDSA revolution gave Filipinos their freedom “daw”.
We were made to believe that the People Power Revolution gave back to the Filipinos our freedom. Sadly, the freedom that we claim to have regained is the same freedom that we make as an excuse to justify our wrongdoings. Most Filipinos have a skewed understanding of freedom. It does not surprise me that media personalities have gone far with their lies in their field and when apprehended will hide under the guise of “press freedom”. But give them a dose of their own medicine and they will be the first to raise heaven and hell to claim that their rights have been trampled on. It is only in the Philippines where our rights and freedoms get to change depending on one’s convenience.
I hate to say it but the EDSA Revolution managed to blind a lot of Filipinos with hypocrisy. As a GRAB car driver placed it neatly, EDSA was simply used for our mind conditioning. It infatuated us enough that we lived in helm that it was a pride that we all stood up against a dictator and that we regained our freedom. What it doesn’t show is the fact that it paved the way for a larger scale of oppression for common Filipinos. The “diwa ng EDSA” bounded us to the whims and tantrums of the ruling class. That is probably the reason why it has lost its flame because there was none to begin with. The generation who got drunk from its popularity eventually realized that there was really not much difference from the old to the new except that you have more people sharing the power. They realized that it was starting to be an embarrassment when the same problems propped up and it was better not to talk about it. It was the same feeling that I felt after participating in EDSA Dos and then see the rise of Erap back in power. The efforts of heeding the call to go to the streets led to simply nothing.
The People Power Revolution is ONLY for the books to make Filipinos feel our “alleged” freedom. But truth been told, we have never been free from the oppression of the government. It simply shifted power from a dictator to a larger group called Oligarchs.
Yes, there were changes that happened but I wonder how life would have been without Kris Aquino screeching on TV.
Mommy Meng died in the hospital at the age of 57. She died on a hospital bed surrounded by the people she selflessly loved and who loved her back even more. She lived a meaningful life – one where she chased her passion and owned it.
Mommy Meng chose a career that many women probably won’t even consider at this day and age. She chose to be a full-time housewife and has been one until her untimely demise. The economical challenge to raise a family have resulted for most partnered women to take jobs as the family’s breadwinner or help in generating income for the family.
In the article “How Working Moms Defines Success” published by CNN Philippines on May 21, 2015, working moms define success by balancing supporting the family, career fulfillment, and maintaining a healthy relationship with their kids. However, the same survey by CareerBuilder also yielded that a substantial number of their working mom respondents felt that they were unable to find the balance in all three measures. The survey also showed that the mom-children relationships are affected by their work, more than their male counterparts.
In the case of Mommy Meng, she chose a life that was traditionally defined by Philippine culture – a life where the mom stays and cares for the home. She was the homemaker. She was in-charge of making sure that everyone woke up and came home to a hot meal, made sure that the kids are guided right, ensures that the family’s finances are managed appropriately, and she had to make sure that everything is running smoothly at home. She was a manager-on-duty for 24 hours and 7 days a week.
If there was one thing where Mommy Meng really stood out, it was her complete love for her four “marias”. She wanted and drove them to be successful in their chosen fields. She accepted them for who they were and was always there to guide them. Of course, there were times where she had arguments with one of her daughters but her being a mother always surpasses whatever heartaches she may have felt during those times. She was often heard saying that she would be okay after her “bunso” graduates from college. The fate of her daughters mattered dearly to her.
She had spent many sleepless nights for her daughters, be it trying to figure out where to get the money for their tuition or for challenges that she was facing with them. There was one incident where one of the “marias” ran away from home. The family did not know where she was. She spent many sleepless nights reaching out to her daughter’s friends who can help them find her or, at least, give them any news that her daughter was fine. There were a lot of times where you would catch her staring blankly… worrying whether her daughter has already eaten or has taken the maintenance medication that she needed on a daily basis. I guess, Mommy Meng was the most relieved person in the family when her daughter finally went home.
Mommy Meng’s motherly love goes beyond the four corners of her house. She was a mother even to her extended family, neighbors, and even to complete strangers. She was the busiest person during family gatherings making sure that everyone was comfortable or had their full from the meal. She was the last person to eat because she was so busy attending to everyone that she forgets that she also had to dine with the family. Everyone remembers her as the Mommy Meng who will not stop offering you the last piece of fried chicken even if you are already full. The only way to stop her insistent prodding is for you take and eat the last piece. With that, you simply made her happy.
It should not come as a surprise that Mommy Meng has touched a lot of lives, even to regular people that you see in the streets. The vegetable street vendor will always find a willing customer from Mommy Meng, even if she has a full cupboard. It is her way of helping out. She will not hesitate to give what she can give to someone in need. It was very easy for her to give an extra free shirt when a stranger buys from her garage sale. She will always find a way to help or be generous despite just having enough.
Dressing up was one thing that Mommy Meng loved. Every occasion was an opportunity to be fashionably beautiful. This was how she pampered herself. She just had to be beautiful in her cute and funny way. She was often chided by family members whenever she goes to the market because she goes there prepared – prepared in the most fashionable way. But that makes Mommy Meng unique. She shows you that there is nothing wrong with being beautiful whenever you do things, even the mundane ones.
Mommy Meng had her own funny moments which her daughters loved to capture on video. She was funny in her own little way and, often times, in the most unguarded moments. She had her own mishaps which gets everyone rolling with laughter but she would always join in the fun. She was not afraid to laugh at her own mistakes or to make fun of herself. I guess, she never knew that she was a natural comedian.
She may be bubbly and carefree but Mommy Meng is her own biggest critic. She criticizes herself more than anybody else. And when she critics herself, it takes a very long time to convince her that it is not really the way she thinks it is. She loves to cook and the kitchen is probably her favorite spot inside the house. This is also where she criticizes herself to the brim. She would always be the first one to claim that the viand that she dished out lacked a particular taste even if no one has even tasted it.
If there was one word to describe Mommy Meng, she was selfless. She lived a happy and fulfilled life in a chosen career where she gave more than what she can actually receive. She offered herself to a career where she was always on-duty for her family and friends. She was not defined by the societal norms but it was her who designed her role the way she wanted it to be. She chose being a housewife and passionately owned it. It was a career that only a few can handle and Mommy Meng did it excellently.
As the cries of loss echoed along the hallways of hospital, the spirit of Mommy Meng echoed with it. She echoed the spirit that women can be good at their chosen career as long as you are passionate about it. She echoed that you cannot let society dictate on what you can be and what you can do. She imparts a very strong message that it is only YOU that defines how you live your life so live it!