(Issued by Bayan Philippines on the 26th anniversary of Edsa 1 People Uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.)
Feb. 25, 1986 marks a point in history where the Filipino people came together to bring down a much-feared and much-hated fascist dictatorship that was steering the country on the road to perdition. It represents a moment when the Filipino people decided to cast their lot with the call for change and installed a regime that promised the restoration of democracy and the improvement of the people’s condition.
We commemorate Edsa I not because it represents a heroism that is singularly ascribed to any one person. We commemorate Edsa I because it represents the Filipino people’s dreams and aspirations that have yet to be fulfilled.
All the post Edsa I regimes from that of Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada to that of Mrs. Arroyo have merely entrenched the backward, semi-colonial, semi-feudal character of Philippine society. Those who took over the reins of power after Edsa I but failed to bring about real and substantive change sought to denigrate the significance and true meaning of “people power”. They have tried to lull the people into passivity by saying there is no more need for “people power” and that the people should rally around government instead.
But the country’s backwardness and the people’s abject conditions underscore the continuing relevance of, and need for, “people power”. Edsa I remains relevant because the elite, anti-people, pro-imperialist ruling system prevails. The dreams and aspirations that drove the Filipino people in their millions to Edsa in 1986 have remained unmet.
The lesson is clear: Only our people’s collective and determined struggle for national independence and genuine democracy can pave the way towards an equitable, just, prosperous and peaceful Philippines.