Malacañang has declared an “open house” on Monday for orphans and youth to symbolically “reclaim” the Palace for the people in commemoration of the 27th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.
The presidential palace will welcome children from various orphanages to the Kalayaan grounds on Monday for an afternoon of storytelling and traditional games (i.e., patintero, piko and tumbang preso), Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, told a radio interview on Saturday.
The storytelling session is designed to impart Filipino values and will be followed by some inspirational talk from a number of youth leaders to encourage the children to commit themselves to observing the ideals of the Edsa revolution, Coloma said.
The afternoon activity with the children is titled “Tatak Edsa: Salo-Salubungang Pambata” (“A Historic Feast: Children’s Encounter with History,” Coloma’s translation).
“There will be a reading of stories that expound on our most cherished Filipino values,” he said.
Although not part of his schedule for the day, President Benigno Aquino III may just find time to meet with the children, he said.
“There is a big possibility that he will mingle with [the children] during the open house,” he said.
Coloma recalled that after the family of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ejected from Malacañang, the people proceeded to the Palace, “opened its gates and entered its innermost [rooms] for the first time and freed the seat of power of the country itself.”
This is why the government has declared a holiday, to “encourage young students to take advantage of the opportunity to go to Malacañang,” he said.
Why Edsa happened
Coloma explained the need for the younger generations of Filipinos to be familiar with the events that triggered the first Edsa revolution.
“The revolution of the people at Edsa happened as a protest for the failed snap elections of Feb. 7, 1986,” he said. The widespread fraud that attended the elections led to a civil disobedience movement to dramatize massive opposition to the Marcos regime, he said.
“All of these events were part of the flow of history, starting from the violence against the populace) under martial law,” Coloma said.
He said the people went to Edsa to end the “long era of darkness and lack of freedom for the people” and “replace it … with democracy. “That’s the summary of the importance of celebrating the Edsa People Power Revolution,” Coloma said.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. had asked government employees to “actively take part” in a series of activities lined up for the 27th Edsa anniversary, starting with the wreath-laying ceremonies at Libingan ng mga Bayani to be led by former President Fidel Ramos on Saturday.
Mr. Aquino will attend the flag-raising ceremony at the People Power Monument on Monday.
There will be a “Salubungan” (Encounter) of the military and civilians to highlight how both can work together to achieve a common goal, said Ochoa in a statement.
“Salubungan” refers to the moment during the four-day uprising when ordinary citizens and members of the religious sector walked from the Edsa Shrine to meet the military contingent at the spot where the People Power Monument now stands, stopping military tanks along Edsa and convincing soldiers to join the anti-Marcos forces.
Message of Edsa
Coloma said that freedom from hunger and poverty was the emphasis of this year’s celebration of the bloodless revolt that became the inspiration for other countries to stage similar peaceful uprisings.
“The theme is ‘Pilipinas Natin, Abot Tanaw’ (‘Our Dreams for Our Country Are Within Sight and Reach’—Coloma) because the gains achieved from reforms bring [us] closer to the attainment of inclusive growth that will bring the erstwhile impoverished and marginalized Filipinos into the mainstream of economic opportunity and self-sufficiency,” said Coloma in a text message.
He explained in a radio interview that the Philippine Development Plan—the economic roadmap of the Aquino administration—envisioned an “inclusive growth” so that those belonging to “poverty groups” could be part of the “mainstream economic development.”
The Aquino administration wanted “inclusive growth” since relying on the “trickle-down-effect” of a surging economy would not necessarily uplift the lives of the marginalized and poorer sectors of the country, he said.
“At the moment, our strategy is inclusive growth, so that they will be part of progress through an integrated social economic development program,” Coloma said.
First posted 9:02 pm | Saturday, February 23rd, 2013