(STAR) Paolo Romero - President Arroyo yesterday recalled the boldness of Filipinos during the first EDSA people power revolution as she urged the nation to muster the spirit of the 1986 people power revolution to face the global economic crisis.

Mrs. Arroyo drew parallels between the political crisis that confronted the Philippines during the first EDSA revolution and the current economic difficulties the country is facing.

She said that as in the revolt, the faith and innate strength of ordinary Filipinos today would help the country pull through difficult times.

“It is the 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,” the President said in her speech at the start of the four-day activities to commemorate the country’s first popular uprising.

Mrs. Arroyo said this same boldness of faith and spirit would enable Filipinos to weather current economic hardships.

“Indeed, we must honor the boldness of the leaders of EDSA 1 as we honor the boldness of our ordinary countrymen going out into the streets with no weapons but their faith. Let us all go back to our work after this, living EDSA, living the boldness required to answer the challenges of the day. And indeed we must celebrate the boldness of our faith in God that we need today as much as we needed it then,” she said in her message after laying a wreath at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

“Yes, let us go back to the 4 days of EDSA 1, not to relive them, for history must move on but rather to report their lessons and refresh our spirit of the people against the new challenges of today,” Mrs. Arroyo added.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said EDSA 1 remains relevant to country and the lesson was that if Filipinos unite and “are willing to set aside petty personal, partisan or vested interests, no obstacle, no matter how big, cannot be surmounted.”

“We should learn a lesson from EDSA if we can for a brief shining moment in our history set aside partisan interests, political, personal selfish interests, selfish political divisions and be rid of our own petty personal selves and be united together as like in EDSA 1 and be one nation to confront this (economic) challenge,” he said.

Remonde said Mrs. Arroyo remains committed to her agenda of “healing the wounds of Edsa.”

Mrs. Arroyo was installed into power by another popular uprising in January 2001, better known as “EDSA 2” that ousted Joseph Estrada.

Amid recurring allegations that she plans to extend her term beyond 2010, the President warned that the world “would no longer forgive an EDSA 3 but instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable.”

Citing a comment from Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the key players of EDSA 1 that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed former President Cory Aquino, Mrs. Arroyo said the country’s political stability was one of the reasons why it has escaped thus far the worst effects of the global recession.

Remonde also said Mrs. Arroyo has not only been reaching out to Aquino but also to Estrada and the rest especially during a global economic crisis.

Aquino and Estrada remain among the strongest critics of the Arroyo administration.

Among those present in the ceremony were key players in the revolution including Enrile and Sen. Gregorio Honasan. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Armed Forces chief Gen. Alexander Yano were also present.

Former President Fidel Ramos was conspicuously absent and there was no explanation from his office. Officials however said Ramos is likely to attend the other activities connected with the commemoration of EDSA 1.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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