Zipper lane, tight security are all we offer at EDSA

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    ‘Unlike before, there is no dancing in the streets, dramatic “salubungan” and El Shaddai crowd at the Luneta…’

    TODAY is the 35th anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution, an official holiday by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1224 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2007.

    Specifically, the proclamation declares Feb. 22 to 25 of every year as EDSA People Power Commemoration Week, in a show of esteem and recognition to those four days in February 1986 when Filipinos finally rose to fight the tyranny of the Marcos rule. Arroyo said in the document that the “1986 People Power Revolution restored democratic institutions and ushered in meaningful political, social and economic reforms in the country.”

    It is true that the heady days in February 1986 “gained the respect and admiration of the world with feats of valor and demonstration of people’s solidarity,” because the Filipino people successfully toppled an abusive regime without bloodshed, and it became an inspiration from other oppressed peoples seeking the same objective.

    President Arroyo thus recognized the need to highlight the principles and values that the EDSA Revolution stands for through the yearly commemoration of the event. She directed all government agencies, civil society organizations, professional and religious groups, the mass media, and the citizenry to actively participate in all activities and programs in connection with the EDSA celebration, which is now on its 35th year. Therefore, she gave the EDSA People Power Commission, the Spirit of EDSA Foundation and other similar private groups the responsibility to hold activities to remember EDSA.

    With President Duterte, who snubbed EDSA celebrations in the past, at the helm of government, Proclamation 1224 has become a law similar to that one about putting giant license plates on motorcycles — it is generally relegated to the dustbin. The activities are so thin that many people now do not know the details of the celebration, if there is one scheduled at all.

    All we know is that the Metro Manila Development Authority which is in charge of metro traffic and specifically of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, has established a zipper lane near Camp Aguinaldo and the EDSA Monument to ease the flow of traffic and aid the mobility of the attendees to the Akbayan-led commemoration. The Philippine National Police NCR, led by Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., has also given the assurance of tight security for the event.

    Unlike before, there is no dancing in the streets, dramatic “salubungan” and El Shaddai crowd at the Luneta (the height of the “hakot” system), and Filipinos except the rabidly yellow all but forgotten EDSA.

    If there is one thing about EDSA and the fight against tyrannical rule that should remain through the ages, it is this quote from Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

    “The moment you say no to tyranny, you are beginning the struggle, the long lonely road to freedom. And so I ask this afternoon, please say no and learn to say no. No to tyranny! No to corruption! No to all this degradation of human dignity! Because then, I feel the true air of your fathers who before you have shed their blood for our freedoms.”