I was born February 2, 1987, the day the 1987 Philippine Constitution was ratified via plebescite, a constitution that probably would not even exist had it not been for the EDSA Revolution.
Yes, I’m that post-EDSA kid, part of the generation that (ideally) is reaping the fruits of People Power that toppled a dictator.
I’ve always been fascinated with EDSA stories. I don’t know when it started, but I do remember reading my Ate's high school English textbook when I was still in grade school. That textbook contained first-hand accounts of people who took part in the three-day gunless revolution.
Boy was I in awe! That got me started on the Lualhati Bautista novels and other books and short stories about Martial Law and EDSA. Unfortunately for me, our history class in high school did not put special emphasis on those topics. This video, embarrassing as it may be, accurately depicts that:
26 years after EDSA, many say nothing much has changed. Among them is Senator Bongbong Marcos, son of the strongman ousted by the millions who took part in the revolt. Of course, we can’t blame him for his inherent bias, so I won’t belabor on his statement.
This video, however, was just too appalling.
"Built hospitals, schools, roads and bridges than all presidents combined" daw?! If you’re clinging to power for 20 years, MALAMANG! The first few seconds of the video was just too much; the whole video itself, an unacceptable revisionist view of history for me.
If anything, this video is a heartbreaking mirror of PCIJ’s man-on-the-street video showing students not knowing EDSA enough. As Ed Lingao’s article points out, this video contains out-of-context quotes and old arguments decorated by flashy graphics and scoring.
iwriteasiwrite had a series of tweets alluding to the video, but this post couldn’t have said it better:
I don’t get the “26 years after corruption still remains” thinking. That’s our failure, not EDSAs.— Nik (@iwriteasiwrite) February 25, 2012
If there’s anything that needs revising, it is our understanding of EDSA. I’ll be very blunt about this: to claim that EDSA is the end-all, be-all of our country’s troubles is stupid.
The fight does not end there and even the world knows it. 2011 showed us that strongmen who have ruled the Arab nations for over 20 years can be toppled — something unimaginable in these states — compounded all the more with the use of Twitter and Facebook.
Egypt, for example, has already conducted its first democratic elections in decades. But Egyptians also know their January 25 Revolution does not end at the polling stations. With former leader Hosni Mubarak facing a slow trial and with their military rulers still clinging to power, Egyptians know their work for a better country has only begun.
Sure, you may say Arab Spring is bloodier than EDSA and should not merit a comparison, but it’s not like the road to EDSA wasn’t as bloody — Ninoy, the desaparecidos, the ambushed activists, the political prisoners, to name a few casualties. Let’s not even limit ourselves to EDSA (the highway, I mean):
This photo, as cropped by Moki from a foreign newspaper published February 24, 1986, has this caption: "Filipinos dive for cover as government troops fire into the air to disperse civilians who were trying to tear down a barricade leading to the Presidential Palace in Manila today." That awful video obviously did not point out that government troops were actually defying Marcos’ supposed order “not to attack.”
Let’s not forget how repressive the Marcos regime was and how it fueled the unrest at that time. Let’s not do a disservice to the Filipinos who in their own ways skirted or boldly confronted the regime in the fight for freedom. Let’s not forget what made people say “Never Again” that was later translated to EDSA: the assasination of the opposition leader whose arrival in the Philippine soil from exile meant death. (Digression: In August 1986, the Philippines Free Press wrote about the big “What If” or scenarios had Ninoy survived. Read it.)
Without EDSA, my birth date would be just another date. Without EDSA, we’d probably be stuck in the rubberstamp 1971 Constitution. Without EDSA, we’ll be stuck with a regime maneuvered to the whims of cronies, a regime that leaves us repressed and without a choice, much to our embarrassment and suffering. Without EDSA, I probably won’t be a journalist by now —- or maybe I will be one but I will be forced to write propaganda or whatever it is the government wants me to broadcast. The freedom of the press and the freedom of expression that allows me to write this (prompted partly out of frustration over that SMH-inducing video) are just some of the fruits of EDSA that I am willing die for, among other things.
The stories that led to EDSA and the freedoms we now enjoy make me grateful for People Power. What happens from there can only be blamed on us.