BY JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR AND EVAN ORIAS
THE 31st anniversary commemoration of the EDSA People Power next week will be a simple and quiet ceremony on February 25, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said yesterday.
Abella said the details are still uncertain but initial plans include a mass to commemorate the event and “simple rites in Malacañang.”
He said this year’s theme is “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building,” which aims to encourage everyone to stop being “stuck in the past” and to start moving towards the future.
“Basically, the whole thrust is moving the nation forward from just looking back at what has happened in the past, but moving forward to the future of the Philippines as everybody is encouraged to cooperate in nation-building,” he said.
Former President Fidel Ramos has said the event would be low-key and held in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City instead of the People Power Monument.
Abella, when asked about the change in venue, reiterated it is time to move on.
“It’s time to move on from just celebrating the past, remembering the past and to move on into the whole aspect of nation-building, to give it a more positive outlook and to make it --- give a more positive understanding,” he said.
Abella also declined to say if the President’s agreement to the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani was a factor in this year’s simple celebration.
He reiterated it is time “we move forward and not look back to the past.”
In 1986, Filipinos gathered in EDSA that led to the ouster of Marcos from power and the catapulting to the presidency of Corazon Aquino, the widow of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
Ramos, during the launching of the book, “FVR XYZ Files” by Melandrew Velasco last Wednesday, said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed him that the celebration of the EDSA anniversary will be “smaller” this year so that the event will not add to traffic congestion.
“Walang `emergency powers’ kuno e. Doon na sa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo para hindi na makasagabal sa trapik,” he said.
Ramos played a key role in the EDSA People Power. The book talks about his life and stint as president from 1992 to 1998.
Duterte earlier asked Congress to give him emergency powers to solve the traffic problem in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
Ramos slammed the EDSA People Power Commission under Medialdea for its failure to release any guideline for the program.
Ramos is hoping that Duterte will sign the executive order creating the EDSA Learning Center, an interactive museum that aims to educate the public about the events that led to the EDSA Revolution.
He said the administration can make up for the lapses this year by constructing the center for next year.
He said his administration failed to construct the museum during his time due to lack of funds.
During the event, Ramos also expressed opposition to Duterte’s plan to revive the Philippine Constabulary to augment the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, adding the former has already served its purpose.
The PC merged with the Integrated National Police as part of the transition to the PNP which under the 1987 Constitution, should be civilian in character.