Lagman files bill seeking to declare People Power revolt a holiday | Inquirer News

Lagman files bill seeking to declare People Power revolt a holiday

/ 05:30 AM October 17, 2023

February 1986 scene of peoplel blocking an armored vehicle and reaching out to a soldier.

In February 1986, people from all walks of life blocke tanks and armored vehicle on EDSA and tried to convince military troops to join their revolution. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has filed a bill seeking to declare the Edsa People Power anniversary a “regular national public nonworking holiday.”

This followed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Proclamation No. 368, which listed 18 public holidays for next year but omitted the Edsa anniversary on Feb. 25, marking the ouster in 1986 of the dictatorship of his father and namesake.


House Bill No. 9405, which Lagman filed on Monday, designates Feb. 25 as a holiday to officially recognize that episode that restored Philippine democracy after 14 years of authoritarian rule by Ferdinand Marcos Sr.


The lawmaker said that “institutionalizing” the Edsa anniversary will not only honor those who resisted the martial law regime of Marcos Sr. but will also “promote historical truth and help guarantee the nonrepetition of massive violations of human rights.”

The measure also seeks to allocate P10 million annually to the Edsa People Power Commission, which then President Joseph Estrada established on Feb. 22, 1999.

READ: Edsa People Power after 36 years: Who played key roles? (Part one)

READ: 36 years later: The key figures in Edsa People Power (Part two)

No law

Proclamation No. 368, which Marcos signed on Oct. 11, drew criticism from human rights advocates and others who opposed his father’s rule.

The proclamation, however, retained Aug. 21 or Ninoy Aquino Day, a regular holiday by virtue of Republic Act No. 9256 which then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law on Feb. 25, 2004.


The holiday commemorates the assassination in 1983 of former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the leading critic of Marcos Sr.

Earlier this year, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 167 moving the Edsa anniversary celebration to Feb. 24, a Friday.

This is “to enable our countrymen to avail [themselves] of the benefits of a longer weekend pursuant to the principle of holiday economics,” said the proclamation which Marcos signed on Feb. 23.

Lagman, in his bill, said that there was no law mandating the observance of the Edsa anniversary.

“For this reason, albeit belatedly, there has to be a law memorializing the Filipino people’s relentless crusade for freedom and democracy which culminated in the ouster of Marcos Sr.,” he said.

He noted that the country’s presidents, through the years, “would treat in varying degrees the celebration of the peaceful Edsa People Power Revolution.”

The official commemoration of Edsa began with President Corazon Aquino’s Proclamation No. 59, which she signed on Feb. 11, 1987, declaring Feb. 25 as a “national nonworking special public holiday.” Aquino, the widow of the slain senator, was catapulted to the presidency by the Edsa uprising.

‘Forced to good’

Asked about the feasibility of his measure, Lagman told reporters that the Marcoses and their allies are “forced to good in agreeing with the bill.”

The lawmaker, whose activist brother Hermon was among the “desaparecidos” or the disappeared during martial law, said the president “should not be punished for his father’s sins.”

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But “[h]e is expected to admit and seek amends for his father’s transgressions in order to achieve reconciliation, unity and justice,” Lagman said.

TAGS: Edcel Lagman, Edsa People Power revolt, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

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