EDSA  22  YEARS  LATER,  STILL  AN  UNFINISHED  REVOLT

EDSA means Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, the street in Manila where the 1st People Power vs Marcos happened.
Click image at left to watch video. (Video courtesy of http://www.veoh.com/)

EDSA REVOLUTION 1 - Philippines People Power Revolution
People Power refers to the popular uprising that ousted Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos in February 1986. Also known as the EDSA Revolution, th... more » People Power refers to the popular uprising that ousted Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos in February 1986. Also known as the EDSA Revolution, the uprising was in reaction to the massive fraud and violence unleashed by the government to ensure that Marcos and vice presidential candidate Arturo Tolentino would win the so-called snap elections that Marcos had called earlier that month. The opposition ticket was headed by Corazon Aquino, wife of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who was assassinated in 1983 by elements of the Philippine military as he debarked his plane at the Manila International Airport (since renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport). The peaceful uprising became a model for other countries wishing to change their government without resort to a military coup or a bloody revolution.

CEBU CITY, FEBRUARY 22, 2008, (STAR) INSIDE CEBU By Bobit S. Avila - Exactly 22 years ago, the EDSA Revolt began, and it will always be an unforgettable day for me as we were all at Fuente Osmeña for the Yellow Rally that Cebuanos called for because of the cheating in the snap elections where the computer girls walked out of the PICC in disgust. Back then I was a member of the Cebu City Directorate of the United National Democratic Organization (UNIDO), the political party that launched Tita Cory into the presidency. Hence we were the close-in aides of then Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel and were with him onstage during that massive rally.

While onstage that afternoon we heard a Radio Veritas report that people were massing toward Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and thus, People Power or the EDSA Revolt began. The rest, as we all know, is Philippine political history. When the Marcoses left Malacañang in a huff on Feb. 25, as if on cue, Cebuanos from all walks of life crowded Fuente Osmeña by the hundreds of thousands, many in tears because of the unbelievable events that were taking place in our country.

Indeed, EDSA has brought a fresh hope in the Filipino that after all, our hero the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. didn’t die in vain and we echo his words that “The Filipino is worth dying for!” Those were indeed proud moments in our history. This is why I never get tired of reading the book written by Sandra Burton entitled “Impossible Dream: The Marcoses, the Aquinos and the Unfinished Revolution.” This book was given to me by my mentor and friend, the late Sir Maximo V. Soliven. When the book came out in March 1989, he was abroad and got two copies. When he arrived in Manila, he asked me to come over and gave me this book.

Sandra Burton wrote about the historic events that she covered when she was a correspondent of Time Magazine, but we must take note of the last phrase on the front page of her book – “the Unfinished Revolution” – because 22 years later, our EDSA Revolt is still unfinished! Allow me to say again that one of the principal reasons why we’re still in the same mess we were 22 years ago is the fact that under Tita Cory, she created a Constitution that was hammered only by 49 pro-Cory people who were still harboring a Martial Law hangover.

I recall a conversation I had with Laurel who told me that UNIDO didn’t support her new Constitution as it only brought the country back to square one, except for the provisions on preventing Martial Law. Back then we supported the idea of using the time and well-tested 1935 Constitution. But Tita Cory’s advisers (one of them was Joker Arroyo) were adamant in pushing for the 1987 Constitution. We wanted to call for a constitutional convention (con-con) but they said it was time-consuming. Hence what happened in this country is what we call… haste makes waste.

We ended with a Constitution that returned the old and hated oligarchy and later the Marcos cronies returned with a vengeance, and the country has become ungovernable. It is for this reason why people no longer go to EDSA because its promise was unfulfilled. The only people blessed by the removal of the Marcos Dictatorship were the opposition who were no different from the Marcoses! If only we had a con-con and installed a federal form of government, things would have been better in this country!

Under the Cory administration, she promoted Tagalog nationalism, forcing all Filipinos to learn Tagalog in schools and in all government communications. She showed no respect for the many other spoken languages of this country. Thanks to then Cebu Governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, who filed a case in court to stop her executive order forcing this on all Filipinos.

If you didn’t know, Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), declared last Thursday the 9th International Mother Language Day which hoped to achieve one common goal… to ensure that the importance of linguistic diversity and multi-lingualism in educational, administrative and legal systems, cultural expressions and media, cyberspace and trade is recognized at the national, regional and international levels. The Philippines is a signatory to the UN and we expect the government to adhere to this call.

Today the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is calling for a new kind of revolution or a moral revolution. If you ask me, that is a tall order. To be honest, we don’t need a moral revolution; just allow the shift to a federal form of government and take away the highly centralized authority of Imperial Manila, and I will tell you that this country can be run better by Filipinos. Doing otherwise might force us to look for other options, like what is happening now in Kosovo which wants out of Serbia.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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