BY Wendell Vigilia and Jocelyn Montemayor
VICE President Leni Robredo yesterday called on the people to safeguard the “fragile” democracy against attempts to revise history as the country celebrated the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution.
“Our democracy, ever fragile, is still under constant threat. There are efforts to revise history for the personal agenda of a powerful few. We are still in the process of forging the nation we dreamt of, and fought for, on EDSA,” she said in a statement.
Robredo, who is expected to be the opposition’s standard-bearer in the 2022 national elections, was obviously referring to the alleged attempt of her political nemesis, former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to change the image of his late father.
President Duterte, meanwhile, urged Filipinos to set aside their differences and work together to build a good legacy for the future generation.
Duterte said the People Power Revolution was one of the countless battles in the country’s history that helped shape the Philippines to what it is now, and the valor and sacrifices of the people that joined the bloodless revolution in 1986 resulted in the liberties we enjoy today.
“As we contemplate the relevance of this occasion, let us proceed with renewed hope and optimism towards the realization of our shared aspirations for our nation. May this serve as a constant reminder for all of us to remain vigilant in safeguarding our democratic institutions, preserving our values, and upholding our rights as Filipinos,” Duterte said.
“Guided by the spirit of EDSA, let us set aside our differences and work together in building a legacy that we can proudly leave behind for future generations of Filipinos,” he added.
The 1986 People Power revolution resulted in the overthrow of the administration of then President Ferdinand Marcos, who was succeeded by the late President Corazon Aquino.
As in previous years, since becoming President, Durerte did not join the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the Edsa People Power Monument.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) head Rene Escalante, and Presidential Adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion led the event at the Edsa People Power Monument in Quezon City. A mass followed at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace or the Edsa Shrine while several youth representatives planted bamboo at the Marikina Watershed in Marikina City.
To keep the spirit of Edsa alive, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, through its Facebook page, launched the “People Power in Color Online Exhibit” and conducted a “Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” online workshop from February 22 to 24.
Robredo reminded the people that 35 years ago, they stood side by side and brought down the abusive regime of the late dictator.
“In the end, we were victorious. Despite the power and iron fist of the Marcos regime, our faith and linking of arms were proven to be the stronger and effective force. Today, 35 years after, we renew our faith in this fundamental truth of Edsa: That our people, standing united, can never be defeated. We affirm this truth, even as we acknowledge that the promise of Edsa has not yet been completely fulfilled,” she said.
The Vice President, the number one critic of Duterte, said the new challenge is to “find within ourselves that strength, that faith, that fire to continue the work that remains to be done.
“Today, we are reminded of what we can do, marching towards a shared horizon, bound not only by the crisis we face, but by our collective resolve to truly achieve the promise articulated 35 years ago—isang lipunang mas malaya, mas makatarungan, at mas makatao (a more free, just and humane society),” she said.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown stressed the importance of giving justice to the people as a way to ensure peace.
“Justice is the foundation of peace in the society,” said Brown as quoted by CBCP News. “So whenever we can to promote justice in society, we are promoting peace.”
By justice, Brown said it is necessary for all people to be treated fairly and equally.
“In order to have peace in society, there needs to be justice. People need to be treated fairly, Fairness and justice means that equality in dignity is respected,” he said. – With Gerard Naval