MANILA, Philippines—Camp Crame, home of the 135,000-strong Philippine National Police, is now a historical site.
In simple rites held Monday, the National Historical Commission (NHC) unveiled a marker recognizing the significance of the 4-hectare facility in the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“With the historical events that unfolded in Camp Crame, it deserves the government’s recognition to serve as inspiration and remembrance to all policemen,” NHC chair Maria Serena Diokno said in her speech.
The move could also torpedo an Aquino administration plan to privatize the camp in an attempt to raise revenues for the cash-strapped government.
Ludovico Badoy, NHC executive director, said places considered as historical sites were “already protected by law.”
“It would be hard for the government to sell it for other use,” Badoy said over the phone.
Apart from its vital role in the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt, Diokno said the NHC also recognized Camp Crame’s significance during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who once headed the Philippine Constabulary, the PNP’s forerunner, said the recognition “immortalized” the camp’s importance to the Filipino people’s fight to restore democracy during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship.
“This (historical marker) reminds us the important lessons we learned in EDSA. It immortalized the spirit we had during that four glorious days of EDSA,” Ramos said.
“It was when a reformist or rebellious component of the Armed Forces won the support of the people.”
Formerly part of Camp Murphy, Camp Crame served as the stronghold of Ramos and hundreds of rebel soldiers who defected from the Marcos regime in the crucial period of the EDSA I uprising.
That famous jump
Ramos, who was in his usual jovial mood, led former Constabulary and PNP chiefs to do the famous jump he made after Marcos fled Malacañang 25 years ago.
“We may be retired, but we’re not yet tired,” the former President jokingly told reporters.
PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo thanked the NHC for the recognition, saying it was a timely honor as the PNP celebrates its 110th anniversary on Aug. 8.