Work of 1986 Edsa Revolt still unfinished, say protesters
The work of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution is still unfinished.
This was the battle cry of workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, students, and members of environmental, human rights and church groups on the 32nd anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The celebration of the return of democracy in 1986 was the perfect foil for what protesters decried as a “clear and present danger” of another dictatorship.
They said this was the most urgent Edsa commemoration yet and urged Filipinos to restore the spirit of people power that had been trampled on by politicians.
“We are not done with the Edsa revolution,” Budit Carlos, spokesperson for In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, told the Inquirer.
Carlos rattled off a list of Edsa’s “failed promises” — redistributing the nation’s wealth, democratizing essential services, solving abject poverty — of “elite-dominated administrations.”
“This led to the rise of a strongman—the people are frustrated,” Carlos said.
Friends of Duterte
A profederalism group called Friends of Rody Duterte briefly converged with protesters by midafternoon at the People Power Monument on Edsa, blanketing the area surrounding the shrine in a sea of black, white and red.
Organizers pegged at 2,000 the number of protesters, who occupied several lanes of White Plains Avenue in Quezon City, during the afternoon rally. The Quezon City Police District said 2,750 protesters at the most were at the monument.
Crackdown on the press
At 5:30 p.m., during the Tindig Pilipinas’ program, “People Werpa,” attendees included Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Pangilinan and Bam Aquino, and members of party-list groups Akbayan and Magdalo.
Jean Enriquez, coconvener of Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, said what might have been distant threats to democracy were “happening and more than real” with the crackdown on the press and human rights defenders.
Carlos said the “tools to advance President Duterte’s authoritarian project” were in place—a culture of fear and silence, a vast majority kept uninformed by the clamping of dissent and the proposed revamp of the 1987 Constitution.
“The basic sectors are not asking for a constitutional change, but for a change in their condition, which was not uplifted in the last 32 years,” said Lanz Espacio, spokesperson for Kalipunan.
In a message, Vice President Leni Robredo said: “We should not be careless so as to allow the darkness we have experienced to return. That’s the reason why we should keep Edsa in our hearts every day.”
Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo joined other activists on Sunday at the statue of The Manila Times founder, the late Chino Roces, on the bridge named after him (formerly Mendiola) in Manila.
“End Duterte’s Fascist Rule, Oppose Dictatorship and Tyranny,” read the card adorning the wreath laid down by Taguiwalo.
She and Ocampo led members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Movement Against Tyranny and farmers’ groups from the Visayas in commemorating the victims of human rights abuses under the Marcos regime, denouncing militarization and calling for genuine agrarian reform.
Ocampo bemoaned that instead of the change sought by people during the Edsa People Power Revolution, “the order before martial law returned.”
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines reminded the government in a statement to look after the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed.
In Bacolod City, more than 300 people joined two separate activities marking the Edsa People Power Revolution.
At least 250 people gathered at the Provincial Capitol Lagoon in Bacolod City at 4 p.m on Sunday to light candles and release yellow balloons.
“Democracy, freedom and human rights are meaningless words to those who take for granted what our heroes died to gain for us,” said Andrea Lizares Si, Tindig Pilipinas-Negros Occidental convenor.
In the morning, fewer than 100 members of Federation of Urban Poor in Negros Occidental held a prayer rally at the monument of Ninoy Aquino on Araneta Street. —With a report from Jerome Aning
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