Low-key official celebration and dancing to mark 36 years after Edsa revolt
MANILA, Philippines — Another low-key celebration of the Edsa People Power Revolution has been set for the 36th anniversary of the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Friday.
The participation of key players in the 1986 revolt continue to dwindle over the years by reason of old age, declining health or deaths, along with the color yellow associated with the late President Corazon Aquino, who was swept to power after Marcos fell.
As in the past two celebrations of the historic uprising, the program for this year’s commemoration at the People Power Monument would only involve flag-raising rites, a reading of the pledge of allegiance, prayer, and wreath-laying ceremonies.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año will be the guest of honor. He will be joined by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and officials of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Spirit of Edsa Foundation, and the Chino Roces Foundation.
A mass would be held at the Edsa shrine shortly after the program.
“It is good to still remember,” Christoper Carrion, vice-chair of the Edsa People Power Commission, told the Inquirer.
Carrion, who is the founding chair of the Spirit of Edsa Foundation, lamented “revisions” of the events that led to the uprising which restored democracy after the one-man rule in the Philippines.
He pointed out that what was clear was that “the peaceful revolution remains one of the Philippines’ greatest contributions to world history and should never be forgotten.”
The song, “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo,” still rings true to this day and is indispensable in the annual celebration, Carrion said.
He said that only a few of the main figures in the 1986 popular bloodless uprising remain but most of them still try to take part in the annual celebration.
Retired Air Force general Antonio Sotelo, considered one of the heroes of Edsa, would be participating in the celebration.
Sotelo led the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force, which was ordered by Marcos and his military chief General Fabian Ver to launch an aerial assault on Camp Crame where rebel soldiers, then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, and then Philippine Constabulary chief and Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos were holed up to make a final stand after breaking away from the dictator.
Sotelo’s defection to the Enrile-Ramos side was a key turning point that led to the success of the revolt.
Carrion pointed out that Sotelo’s participation in this year’s celebration was proof that the spirit of Edsa remained strong and alive.
With official celebrations set, survivors of Marcos’ martial rule would be marking the event with a “dance for truth” at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani, a memorial site for those who died fighting the dictatorship a few kilometers away from the People Power Monument.
“This is for the continuance of fighting for the truth about martial law – the atrocities that happened during that time,” Jed Atanacio, the event’s coordinator, told the Inquirer.
Atanacio said that the program was an idea of the Survivors’ Hub, an online Facebook group of survivors of the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. The Human Rights Violations Victims Memorial Commission will be helping in the unique celebration.
Atanacio said they were aiming to make a video of the dancing become viral, with netizens joining by posting a “dance challenge” on the social media app TikTok to target mainly the youth.
They would be dancing to the song “Tumindig Ka” by Buklod, the 1980s duo of Noel Cabangon and Rom Dongeto.
Atanacio said most of the participants would be people who had witnessed or experienced the atrocities during the dictatorship or had taken part in the 1986 uprising.
“This is actually an invitation for all wherever or whoever you are. One of our targets is of course the youth, who are very much engaged in social media,” he said.
Edsa People Power after 36 years: Who played key roles? (Part one)
People Power did not just happen at Edsa
Beyond EDSA: People Power across the regions
Edsa People Power: ‘Preserve flame’ of PH’s ‘greatest victory over dark times,’ says Sotto
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