CHURCH SHUNTED OUT IN THE COLD IN EDSA 28 CELEBRATION

The Catholic Church hierarchy was shunted out in the cold in the celebration of the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution in Cebu City on Tuesday. So were two key military leaders of the uprising: dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos, then chief of the Philippine Constabulary. In a thorough revision of Edsa history, President Aquino shifted the celebration to Cebu from Metro Manila, refocusing the spotlight on his late mother, Cory Aquino, and extolled her role as the rallying symbol of the movement to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship, depicting her as the central heroine of the revolution. Cardinal Sin. Cory was one of the four leaders of the anti-Marcos movement, including the then charismatic Jaime Cardinal Sin, representing the politically influential Catholic Church, and Enrile and Ramos, whose defection from the Marcos regime sparked the military revolt. It was the call of Cardinal Sin to the people to protect the military rebels from the loyalist forces sent out to crush the revolt that drove to the streets millions of the faithful into a mass movement to oust Marcos. While the Aquino narrative glorified his mother’s role in the revolution, it completely ignored and obliterated the critical roles of Cardinal Sin and his religious constituency which formed the phalanx of civilians who confronted Marcos’ tanks on Edsa and the buffer around the beleaguered Enrile and Ramos as the two made their last stand in Camp Crame while Cory sought refuge in a religious order’s monastery in Cebu when the military revolt broke out. No drama in Cebu. There was no Edsa in Cebu, no military revolt there. The stage on which the nonviolent insurrection was played out was in Metro Manila. There was no drama in the streets of Cebu. Cebu was an artificial construct to reinvent the history of Edsa. The President claimed that Cebu, where his mother was holed up, was the “first chapter” in the drama that culminated its final chapter on Edsa in the national capital.

IN CEBU: From Edsa to Fuente Osmeña

President Aquino on Tuesday preached the gospel of “love for others” as he led the commemoration of the Edsa People Power Revolution before yellow-clad supporters. The President said this expression of selfless giving—shown when about a million Filipinos massed on Edsa in 1986 until Ferdinand Marcos stepped down—was evident in efforts to assist natural calamity victims more than two decades later. “What drove us in Edsa was the same one that drives us to help one another each time there’s a calamity, not because we want to take advantage of others or to get something in return,” he said in Filipino. “To so many Filipinos, the strongest driving force is the love for others, love for country, love for God,” he added. Touring disaster-hit areas as part of this year’s commemoration of the Edsa uprising, Aquino said: “The Filipino is capable of loving, not just his kin, not just his friend, but even strangers.” “He can sacrifice (for others) like what was shown by those who helped in repacking millions of food packs for (calamity) victims,” he said, citing relief efforts for those affected by Typhoons “Yolanda” and “Santi,” the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege. ‘First chapter’
On the 28th anniversary of the Edsa uprising, the government chose to celebrate it, not in Manila, but in Cebu where, according to the President, the struggle to restore democracy began its “first chapter.” From the provincial capitol, Aquino and his Cabinet proceeded to Bantayan island, also in Cebu, and then to Tanauan in Leyte to check on the progress of rehabilitation there. His last stop was Tacloban City, center of relief efforts at the height of Yolanda last year.

ALSO: Aquino: Edsa more than a triumph over dictatorship

The Edsa People Power is no longer just about Edsa, President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday. “Narito po ako ngayon dahil higit pa sa pagbaklas ng diktadurya ang diwa ng petsang ito. Lagpas pa sa pagtitipon sa isang kalsada ang Edsa,” Aquino said during his televised speech in Tanauan, Leyte. (I am here because today is more than just our triumph over the dictatorship. Edsa is beyond the gathering of people on a road.)
Aquino said “Edsa” is taking on a new meaning. “Ang Edsa ay pagdiriwang ng kakayahan ng Pilipinong bumangon mula sa anumang pagsubok at daigin ang anumang madilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan,” he said. (Edsa is a celebration of the Filipino’s ability to rise above challenges and dark days of our history.)

Aquino: Text jokes from friends lighten the load

In the face of overlapping crises that his administration deals with every day, President Benigno Aquino III could smile and say without hesitation, “I’m OK.” In an ode to his countrymen’s much admired resilience amid tragedy, Mr. Aquino faced the Filipinos in Malaysia on Thursday evening and assured them that he would stand with the nation in clearing hurdles, no matter how hard. Speaking off the cuff, Mr. Aquino spoke about how some “textmates” would send him jokes to lighten up his mood as he faced the grueling task of running the Philippines—one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries that at times also grapple with conflict.
Sometimes, the messages would reflect concern for the President who, almost four months ago, faced the worst disaster to hit the country under his administration: Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which affected more than 14 million people in 44 of the country’s 81 provinces. “It’s inevitable that sometimes people ask me through text, ‘How are you doing?’ Honestly, my response to them is, ‘I’m OK,’” Mr. Aquino said. “What does that mean? I am OK because many countries like Malaysia are helping us … I am OK because I have a Cabinet that does not have to be pushed and told what to do,” the President said.


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Church shunted out of Edsa rites


Our Lady of Edsa Shrine: ‘People and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore.’ FILE PHOTO

MANILA, MARCH 3, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Amando Doronila - The Catholic Church hierarchy was shunted out in the cold in the celebration of the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution in Cebu City on Tuesday.

So were two key military leaders of the uprising: dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos, then chief of the Philippine Constabulary.

In a thorough revision of Edsa history, President Aquino shifted the celebration to Cebu from Metro Manila, refocusing the spotlight on his late mother, Cory Aquino, and extolled her role as the rallying symbol of the movement to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship, depicting her as the central heroine of the revolution.

Cardinal Sin

Cory was one of the four leaders of the anti-Marcos movement, including the then charismatic Jaime Cardinal Sin, representing the politically influential Catholic Church, and Enrile and Ramos, whose defection from the Marcos regime sparked the military revolt.

It was the call of Cardinal Sin to the people to protect the military rebels from the loyalist forces sent out to crush the revolt that drove to the streets millions of the faithful into a mass movement to oust Marcos.

While the Aquino narrative glorified his mother’s role in the revolution, it completely ignored and obliterated the critical roles of Cardinal Sin and his religious constituency which formed the phalanx of civilians who confronted Marcos’ tanks on Edsa and the buffer around the beleaguered Enrile and Ramos as the two made their last stand in Camp Crame while Cory sought refuge in a religious order’s monastery in Cebu when the military revolt broke out.

No drama in Cebu

There was no Edsa in Cebu, no military revolt there. The stage on which the nonviolent insurrection was played out was in Metro Manila. There was no drama in the streets of Cebu. Cebu was an artificial construct to reinvent the history of Edsa.

The President claimed that Cebu, where his mother was holed up, was the “first chapter” in the drama that culminated its final chapter on Edsa in the national capital.

This narrative represents an audacious falsification of history centered on the Aquino dynasty’s role in the Edsa revolution.

This is why the role of Cardinal Sin was obliterated, and that of Enrile and Ramos was ignored in the Aquino narrative of Edsa.

This sidelining of Sin’s and the Church’s role in Edsa was not lost on the Catholic hierarchy. In a statement on Wednesday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that through the years, the spirit of the 1986 People Power Revolution had been manipulated, abused, raped and prostituted, and nothing had changed after 28 years.

History can’t change Edsa

CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a protégé of Cardinal Sin, said he chose to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution at the Edsa Shrine in Mandaluyong City because it was a holy place where heroes bended their knees and stopped the tanks.

But Villegas was disappointed that only a few people attended Tuesday’s celebration in Mandaluyong.

“If they want to celebrate Edsa in Cebu, if they want to celebrate Edsa in Mindanao, let it be,” Villegas said. “But for you, the Edsa Shrine community, stand on this ground because here in this ground, you and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore.”

The government lost no time in using the decision to shift the venue of the celebration of the Edsa anniversary to Cebu to demonize one of the key players in the military revolt on Feb. 22 in Camp Aguinaldo.

Flimsy cover

A presidential spokesperson said the controversy being faced by key people in the revolt should not change the “sense of people power” among Filipinos.

The spokesperson was referring to the charges filed against Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, one of several lawmakers facing plunder in connection with the scandal over the disbursements of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, through spurious nongovernment organizations in exchange for kickbacks.

The spokesperson said this year the Aquino administration was “looking beyond” the historical context of the Edsa revolt to “recognize people who quietly kept the spirit of people power ‘alive’ by standing by their fellow Filipinos in times of need.”

The spokesperson was referring to the initial claim by Malacañang that the President changed the venue of the Edsa anniversary as an opportunity to commiserate with the victims of recent typhoons and natural calamities that devastated Eastern Visayas.

This was a flimsy cover to revise his family’s role in the revolution that restored Philippine democracy, putting it at the center of events.

From Edsa to Fuente Osmeña By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:57 am | Wednesday, February 26th, 2014


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/02/edsa-cebu-0226.jpg
FIRST TIME. Waving from the stage, President Aquino leads the celebration of the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution in Cebu City. Aquino was joined in the festivities by Cebu officials. TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY, Philippines—President Aquino on Tuesday preached the gospel of “love for others” as he led the commemoration of the Edsa People Power Revolution before yellow-clad supporters.

The President said this expression of selfless giving—shown when about a million Filipinos massed on Edsa in 1986 until Ferdinand Marcos stepped down—was evident in efforts to assist natural calamity victims more than two decades later.

“What drove us in Edsa was the same one that drives us to help one another each time there’s a calamity, not because we want to take advantage of others or to get something in return,” he said in Filipino.

“To so many Filipinos, the strongest driving force is the love for others, love for country, love for God,” he added.

Touring disaster-hit areas as part of this year’s commemoration of the Edsa uprising, Aquino said: “The Filipino is capable of loving, not just his kin, not just his friend, but even strangers.”

“He can sacrifice (for others) like what was shown by those who helped in repacking millions of food packs for (calamity) victims,” he said, citing relief efforts for those affected by Typhoons “Yolanda” and “Santi,” the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege.

‘First chapter’

On the 28th anniversary of the Edsa uprising, the government chose to celebrate it, not in Manila, but in Cebu where, according to the President, the struggle to restore democracy began its “first chapter.”

From the provincial capitol, Aquino and his Cabinet proceeded to Bantayan island, also in Cebu, and then to Tanauan in Leyte to check on the progress of rehabilitation there.

His last stop was Tacloban City, center of relief efforts at the height of Yolanda last year.

Not just Manila struggle

Aquino rejected a suggestion that his administration was “revising history” by holding the Edsa anniversary rites outside of Metro Manila.

“Those in Edsa were not the only ones who joined the revolt, right? There are those in Cebu, Davao and so many other places. It’s about time to recognize others’ contributions after 28 years,” he later told reporters.

Edsa people power, he said, involved the struggle of Filipinos all over country, “not just (those) in Metro Manila.”

In his speech, Aquino said Cebu could be credited with representing the “first chapter” in the struggle to restore democracy. He recalled it was in Cebu where his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, called for civil disobedience against the Marcos dictatorship.

“If we could say that the last chapter in the struggle for democracy happened on Edsa, perhaps we could say that the first chapter happened in Cebu,” he said.

“I was at ease then because my mother was in Cebu. She was in good hands,” he said. “Those who wanted to harm her would not succeed because she was in the company of ardent supporters.”

Conspicuously absent in the Cebu program were key Edsa players like former President Fidel Ramos and former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.

‘Salubungan’ reenacted

The Cebu affair, held in front of the provincial capitol, reenacted the 1986 salubungan (encounter) between the civilians and the military led by Ramos and Enrile.

In the reenacment, actor Dingdong Dantes played the role of Ramos while Sen. Bam Aquino stood for his uncle, Agapito “Butz” Aquino.

With members of his Cabinet, the President watched the salubungan as the University of Cebu choir sang “Magkaisa,” the People Power Revolution theme, in the background.

Civil disobedience

Aquino recalled his going to Cebu as a young man in 1983—a month after his father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated—to generate support for civil disobedience and the boycott of the products produced by Marcos cronies.

He said he was shocked to see that in Cebu, it was as if martial law had ended and that the people were already free, with politicians and the students holding protest marches.

Aquino also thanked Cebu for keeping his mother safe when the Edsa revolt broke out. “She was taken care of by Cebuanos,” he said.

The commemoration program was attended by 5,000 people, including former Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco, Councilor Margot Osmeña, former Mayor Tomas Osmeña, opposition leader Democrito Barcenas and former Sen. John Osmeña.

Protests in Aklan, Iloilo

Protests marked the commemoration in Aklan and Iloilo provinces, with martial law victims taking part.

In Iloilo City, 250 protesters rallied in front of the provincial capitol.

“Many of the evils that we fought during the Marcos dictatorship remain today, ironically under a president whose family was among those persecuted under martial law,” said human rights worker Jose Ely Garachico.

In Kalibo, Aklan, about 100 protesters held a picket at the Crossing Banga-New Washington.

Speaking in Tanauan, Leyte, Aquino said the Edsa anniversary should be an affirmation of the strength of the Filipino people to overcome adversities.

He said the Edsa affair also showed to the world the Filipinos’ resiliency in rising up from a disaster like Yolanda.

The President led the groundbreaking ceremonies in Tanauan for a permanent resettlement site and a memorial park for those who died in the typhoon.

The 5-hectare site will serve as the relocation area for 366 families from coastline villages. The project is expected to be finished by next month.

Later, Aquino motored to the site of a proposed new regional hospital, the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, which is expected to be finished by 2016.

The project will cost over P500 million.

In Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Yolanda survivors waited for the President but the visit was canceled because of bad weather.

Mixed feelings

On Edsa itself, as he celebrated Mass on Tuesday at the Edsa Shrine, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas did not hide his disappointment on seeing only a “handful” of churchgoers at the early evening service.

“On one side, I’m grateful to remember Edsa,” Villegas said in his homily. “But I also ask myself, ‘Is this all what we have left? After 28 years, is this all that we gathered to thank the Lord for an event that made Filipinos stand 10 feet tall?’”

He said Filipinos must “come back to this sacred place.”

“You must stand on this ground because on this, you and I and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore,” he said.—With reports from Marlon Ramos and Tina G. Santos in Manila; Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Carmel Loise Matus, Carine Asutilla, Joey Gabieta and Jennifer Allegado, Inquirer Visayas\

Aquino: Edsa more than a triumph over dictatorship By Kristine Angeli Sabillo INQUIRER.net 4:47 pm | Tuesday, February 25th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines –The Edsa People Power is no longer just about Edsa, President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday.

“Narito po ako ngayon dahil higit pa sa pagbaklas ng diktadurya ang diwa ng petsang ito. Lagpas pa sa pagtitipon sa isang kalsada ang Edsa,” Aquino said during his televised speech in Tanauan, Leyte.
(I am here because today is more than just our triumph over the dictatorship. Edsa is beyond the gathering of people on a road.)

Aquino said “Edsa” is taking on a new meaning.

“Ang Edsa ay pagdiriwang ng kakayahan ng Pilipinong bumangon mula sa anumang pagsubok at daigin ang anumang madilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan,” he said.
(Edsa is a celebration of the Filipino’s ability to rise above challenges and dark days of our history.)

The President was in Leyte to check on the rehabilitation efforts and the situation of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” survivors. Earlier Tuesday, he was in Cebu where the 28th anniversary of the Edsa People Power was celebrated.

Aquino assured the townsfolk of Tanauan that permanent shelters were being constructed and that at least 50 families will be able to move in by March.

Tanauan was among the most heavily devastated by Yolanda, leaving thousands dead and majority of structures damaged.

Aquino: Text jokes from friends lighten the load By Tarra Quismundo Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:37 am | Sunday, March 2nd, 2014


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/03/benigno-aquino-iii-smile.jpg
President Benigno Aquino III. MALACANANG FILE PHOTO

KUALA LUMPUR—In the face of overlapping crises that his administration deals with every day, President Benigno Aquino III could smile and say without hesitation, “I’m OK.”

In an ode to his countrymen’s much admired resilience amid tragedy, Mr. Aquino faced the Filipinos in Malaysia on Thursday evening and assured them that he would stand with the nation in clearing hurdles, no matter how hard.

Speaking off the cuff, Mr. Aquino spoke about how some “textmates” would send him jokes to lighten up his mood as he faced the grueling task of running the Philippines—one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries that at times also grapple with conflict.

Sometimes, the messages would reflect concern for the President who, almost four months ago, faced the worst disaster to hit the country under his administration: Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which affected more than 14 million people in 44 of the country’s 81 provinces.

“It’s inevitable that sometimes people ask me through text, ‘How are you doing?’ Honestly, my response to them is, ‘I’m OK,’” Mr. Aquino said.

“What does that mean? I am OK because many countries like Malaysia are helping us … I am OK because I have a Cabinet that does not have to be pushed and told what to do,” the President said.

String of emergencies

“But I think, above all, I am OK because while Filipinos may fall down, it is not acceptable for us to stay down. Right?” he said, drawing applause from his audience.

The last quarter of 2013 saw a string of humanitarian emergencies in the Philippines, from the Moro National Liberation Front attack on Zamboanga City and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor provinces to Typhoon “Santi” and Supertyphoon Yolanda.

The government is still delivering emergency services to the ravaged areas, including programs to revive local livelihood, with assistance from the international community and the United Nations.

Can’t give up

“Some would tell me, ‘You know, your problems do not come one after another. Yours are overlapping.’ But do I have the right to give up?” Mr. Aquino said.

The President cited the example of a mayor in Eastern Visayas who, during one of his visits to the disaster zone, could not vent about the burden of being the top official of a ravaged town. Citing the anecdote as relayed by his Cabinet, Mr. Aquino said the local official knew that giving up was not an option.

“He said, ‘You know honestly, I want to give up … Everyone is looking to me, as their mayor, to answer all their needs, from food, electricity, transportation, medicine … I should show how strong I am in front of them,’” Mr. Aquino quoted the mayor, whose name he did not disclose.

Strength from the people

As for himself, the President said he drew his strength from the people who, within a week after Yolanda, were more concerned about rebuilding their lives than with complaining about their lot.

“What the people were asking for were seeds so they could go back to farming, boats so they could go back to fishing. It was all about how to start over, and not about, ‘We’re miserable, what did we do? Why did this happen to us?’” the President said.

“There was none like that. It was straight to ‘OK, this happened, we have a problem. Let’s do something [about it].’ And that is why I’m OK,” he said.

The President again acknowledged Malaysia’s assistance at the height of disaster relief operations following Yolanda, including $1 million (P45 million) and logistics support through deployment of 10 C-130 cargo planes and troops.

Mr. Aquino also discussed with the Filipinos here their concerns, including bringing to justice the people involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, the implementation of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and pursuing trickle-down economic growth.

‘Demographic sweet spot’

Mr. Aquino mentioned that the Philippines is expected to hit next year a “demographic sweet spot,” where majority of the population will be of working age, potentially improving the country’s per capita income.

“I may not be able to solve all the country’s problems, but as long as the people believe in me, as long as my bosses are with me and helping me tread the straight path, it’s just a matter of time before we achieve what we hope to reach,” the President said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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