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.