MANILA, Philippines?No more EDSA revolts, please.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, herself a beneficiary of an EDSA People Power revolt, wants no more of such popular uprisings, saying another upheaval would only earn ?condemnation? from the rest of the world.
?The world embraced EDSA I in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA II in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA III, but it will instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable,? she said.
Ms Arroyo has been a target of coup plots since she took office eight years ago.
She spoke on Sunday during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes? Cemetery) in Taguig City marking the start of a four-day commemoration of the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The 1986 uprising restored democracy in the country with the assumption to power of Corazon Aquino.
Fifteen years later, it was the turn of then Vice President Arroyo to benefit from a repeat of EDSA. She took over from Joseph Estrada, who was forced out of office after being accused of enriching himself with money from ?jueteng,? an illegal numbers game.
In her speech on Sunday, Ms Arroyo asked the public ?not to relive? the four days of the first revolt but instead learn from it and ?refresh our spirit against the new challenges of today.?
She said one such lesson to be learned was ?boldness,? a quality Filipinos should show in the face of the global financial crisis.
In previous public engagements, Ms Arroyo noted that the financial crisis had driven two-thirds of the world into recession while the Philippines remained relatively unscathed.
?Our political stability today is one of the reasons why we have escaped thus far the worst effect of the global recession,? she said.
?It is boldness that we must exercise to prevent the world crisis from becoming a Philippine crisis and to protect those among our people from hurt from the global downturn.?
Different kind of boldness
Ms Arroyo cited the ?boldness of our countrymen going out into the streets with no weapons but their faith? in 1986?the acknowledged shining moment of the mainly peaceful EDSA I.
Her critics claim that, ironically, when she herself was confronted with such ?boldness? from Filipinos demanding an end to corruption under her rule, she used strong police methods?such as the so-called ?calibrated preemptive response? policy?to quell their protests.
In what might seem like another irony to her critics, Ms Arroyo took Sunday?s wreath-laying affair as an opportunity to profusely thank Sen. Gregorio Honasan, a key figure in EDSA I who led some of the coups against the Aquino administration, for joining her at the commemoration.
Honasan was later implicated in the 2003 mutiny at the Oakwood Apartments in Makati City, which sought to overthrow the Arroyo administration. Honasan denies any role in that mutiny.
Ms Arroyo also expressed her gratitude to other members of the former Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) who attended the affair, along with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. The RAM played a key role in the 1986 revolt.
?Thank you, Senator Honasan, for being with us once again and to all the members of RAM who are with us today, thank you. The country honors you,? Ms Arroyo said.
She later had breakfast with the ?RAM Boys,? some of whom are now working under her administration.
She cited former Col. Red Kapunan, now deputy chief of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, and former Maj. Noe Wong, now Philippine ambassador to Cambodia.
?We are very happy to have them in government service and to help us with what Senator Enrile stressed we must continue to do and that is reform and good government,? Ms Arroyo said.
?The country honors all the Filipino people. Let us all go back to our work after this, living EDSA, living the boldness required to answer the challenges of the day.?