Photo Caption: Medialdea awarded members of the military, religious and civilian groups.
I can clearly remember the day February 25, 1986. The series of revolutions against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos culminated in the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas. Thousands of people flocked the area, armed with only prayers and rosaries in their hands. Chanting words of freedom, singing songs of nationalism, and crying for the end of oppression. This is the People Power Revolution of 1986. The bloodless revolution that returned the democracy of the country.
Last week, we celebrated the 31st anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea chairs the EDSA People Power Commission and I serve as the vice chair and representative from the private sector. In a simple mass and celebration in Camp Aguinaldo, we commemorated one of the significant moments in our history.
With the theme, “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building,” we are reminded of what the Philippines has become 31 years after.
In a short message, I shared to everyone my thoughts on how we can continuously celebrate the real essence of EDSA.
“First of all, we welcome all of you to the 31st anniversary of People Power. It’s been 31 years, and today, we are surrounded by a lot of heroes who brought about People Power Revolution. I was assigned as a co-chair about seven days ago, and without the help of Chris Carreon this event would not be possible. So, I would like to congratulate him.”
“In a way, if we look back, I was 27 years old when EDSA happened and my father was 54 years old. I find myself in a unique position being vice chair to ES Bingbong Medialdea in this commission. I don’t know if my father realizes that I’m up here on stage. Somehow he has lost part of his memory but he is the one who instilled the love for the country.”
“Many of you here today surely loves this country. I remember when it all happened here in the EDSA, President Ramos – then General Ramos, Secretary Enrile then, Gringo Honasan and many others here. That was the beginning of the spirit of EDSA. When I was asked, do I regret what happened during those times? For all of us it was the best experience that we should never forget. When, we toppled the dictatorship, and it brought Filipinos together as brothers and sisters. Military and civilians were not shooting one another. It was a truly an admiration to see this event happen, and we were well respected all over the world.”
“But, I know, many of us still question if the spirit of EDSA is still in our hearts? It is only yourself who can answer that question. When Benigno Aquino was assassinated which then sparked the revolution, my father then started NAMFREL, who during those days, had that impossible dream that one day this country can eventually become a great nation. But, one of the reasons why we chose this day to be a day of reflection is because we really have to look back to the past and see how we can move forward. I know that sometimes, it is very hard to forgive. But, we must try to forgive but never forget. There is a big difference in forgiving and forgetting. We must move on to build and to continue the spirit of EDSA and pass it onto the next generation. Your generation is gradually moving on and my generation is entering that next phase. We will not be able to accomplish and fulfill the dream of spirit of EDSA if we will not be able to pass it to the young millennials out there to really get them to understand what has really happened on this day. Our blessed mother has truly been a miracle for all of us who has guided us all these times. Through time and today, we are very fortunate to see the Philippines in progress. The spirit of EDSA can only be achieved if we have unity, peace, and prosperity for all.”
The 31st EDSA People Power Anniversary celebration was attended by P.A. Joey Concepcion, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, E.S. Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, President Fidel V. Ramos, Senate President Koko Pimentel, Gen. Eduardo Ermita, Sen. Gringgo Honasan, Sec. Martin Andanar and many more.
Yearly, the Spirit of EDSA Foundation headed by its founder Chris Carrion awards members of the important groups during the EDSA revolution – the military, religious and civilians. The military awardees that represented the Philippine Army, Navy and Airforce were DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Rear Admiral Bayaui Gaenlan and Gen. Hotchkiss, respectively. The religious were represented by Sister Sarah Manapol for the Roman Catholics, Aleem Said Akmar Bashir for the Muslims, and Bishop Jonel Milan for the Christians. Lastly, the civilians who were awarded were Bobby Aquino in behalf of his late father Butz Aquino for Luzon, Ms. Ching Montinola for Visayas, and Mr. Uriel Jojo Borja for Mindanao. Together with former President Fidel V. Ramos, E.S. Medialdea, and Chris Carrion, we awarded these groups who were instrumental in making the peaceful call for freedom a success.
With performances from artists and heart-warming messages from people who have been directly involved in the past, the celebration was a recall of the good that has happened.
E.S. Medialdea closed the program with an endearing speech. He shared, “My administration has always believed in the power of the people to chart their own destiny, and establish a government to protect the people’s interest-especially of the poor, and underprivileged sectors as its top most priority. 31 years have passed since EDSA People Power Revolution, and perhaps now is the opportune time to ask ourselves; “What have we achieved after EDSA?” More than a mere commemoration. Now is the time for all of us to reflect and objectively assess what we have lost and what we have gained, as a nation, during that historic event.”
The true spirit of the People Power Revolution is the true spirit of the Filipino people. May we not forget the value of unity. That we may have different preferences or political affiliations, we are all one as a nation. Together, we are building our future together.