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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

25 years after EDSA People Power

25 years ago today, I got a call from my friend that Jaime Cardinal Sin asked people to go to EDSA to support Enrile and Ramos who broke away from the government of Pres. Marcos. The Cardinal's call was on the night of February 22 but I was dead to the world sleeping and not listening on the radio. When I received the call in the early morning of the 23rd of February 1986, I was prepared for battle! I took part in the Operation Quick Count of Namfrel earlier and was still frustrated on the outcome of the snap election that my sense of nationalism was at its peak and I was actually willing to risk my life. I was going to bring something for a fight but my friend said "No... just be there to support." So my sister, cousin and I went to my friend's place, scared but brave then headed to EDSA.

So many people were coming and I was surprised that the atmosphere was festive. People were glued on their portable radio. Though many converged on the gates of the camps there were a lot of people walking... taking pictures... There were groups that were singing... praying... giving food. It was unbelievable, exciting! I was there cheering with the crowds when Ramos came out jumped! I was tensed with the others when the helicopters came.. then shouted with joy when we realized that they too defected.

The nights were also full of activities and you'll see a lot of people going near the gate giving foods to the soldiers.

But we were not just in EDSA. We also joined others that took to the side streets to guard entry points going to the camp. We were there arms to arms "kapit-bisig" prepared to ward off "enemies" if they ever came. No enemies came so we just joined in the prayers and singing through the night.

For three days we went to EDSA. We would walk since no vehicle could pass due to the volume of people. We were not tired... we were hopeful! We would just go home to rest a bit and change then go back again.

February 25... there were 2 oathtakings. Both Cory Aquino and Ferdinand Marcos took their oath as President in two different venues. We still don't know what would happen, there were different news on the radio (oh the radio... so powerful at that time!) but we were ready for more! And then the news that Marcos was gone came. EDSA rejoiced and the people that went to Malacanang rejoiced too!

I was so proud to be a Filipino. So proud and happy to be part of the historic and bloodless revolution!

Then one year after we celebrated the first anniversary... there was singing and dancing in the streets. It was the first time I have ever seen huge fireworks! The Philippines was proud still. Democracy was restored. The press had freedom to report whatever they wanted.

Then there was a coup... and another coup...
Change of leadership after another...
Good times... bad times...good times... more difficult times...
Another EDSA Power came in 2001 to topple President Estrada... then the Oakwood mutiny. I was not joining anymore. I realized long ago that it was not just one event that would lead to change in our country. Yup, there would be change... but it would just be change in the players...there would be good players.. there would be bad. Some people will benefit... some would not. Most would still continue on their day to day existence. It would still be a matter of survival of the fittest or smartest (rather street smart). Change doesn't really come from the change in government but change in the people.

I see many people that do not change. But I have come to know also a lot of people that are reaching out in their own right to help, through their own capacity.... through NGOs...spiritual communities. When there are more Filipinos who would go beyond the service of their families and friends and help out OTHERS, who would be ready NOT to take the easy way out in transacting with the government, who would always think of the welfare and pride of the country, then that is the real Filipino Power. Maybe in another 25 years? I hope it is sooner!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manag Beth...I remember this event with you :)

10:33 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Huy 'Te binabasa mo pala blog ko? Naalala mo rin? 25 years na 'no?

11:11 PM  
Blogger tom holland said...

So my lovely friend Beth is not only joyful, playful, considerate and supportive but also a heroine of Operation Quickcount. I remember Cardinal Sin and always thought it was a wonderful name for a churchman. So, my lovely revolutianary friend can I join you at the Barricades of Life?

9:04 PM  

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