It’s February 26 now but I know when I publish this short post, it would still appear as February 25.
Yesterday, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. Yes, it was long ago but I am wondering if most of us Filipinos still remember the significance of what the Filipinos sacrificed for in the name of freedom, freedom from a twenty-year rule by a dictator. Martial law was declared on September 21, 1972 (Proclamation 1081) and we witnessed the unrest that followed, many people died in the hands of the dictator and so many political arrest was made. Long years of siphoning off the wealth of a country by greedy hands in the government, long years of wondering when it would end. What finally triggered the historic EDSA revolution was when Ninoy Aquino was killed in the tarmac of the airport back in 1983.
The youth of today would probably remember Ninoy as just a face on our five hundred peso bill or just a few lines maybe in their history textbooks. But for me, Ninoy represents a dream that never came true, a future for the Filipinos that never was. I have my own memories of Ninoy. I was in third year high school (or was it my senior year?) when Martial Law was declared. Back then, we would always see demonstrations by the Kabataang Makabayan. There was even a time when they entered the UST campus and paraded empty kabaongs – the turbulent times of the Martial Law years. We learned to live with it for more than a decade until the time Ninoy was shot at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983.
What followed were the struggles we have to go through just to oust a dictator. Rallies were held almost every day on main streets of the country. Ayala Avenue was always the hub of afternoon marches on the street and we were part of it. Yesterday, my former boss at Bank of the Philippine Islands posted so many photos he took of those days when we did our own share of our fight for democracy the BPI way – nostalgic replay of events that finally lead to a bloodless revolution thirty years ago. Yeay, those were the days – making yellow flowers out of crepe paper, making banners and banderitas , throwing confetti, braving to sit at the third floor window ledge of BPI so we could get close to a concert right in front of our building. We even experienced being tear gassed while we were in the middle of watching rallies from our floor.
Those in power thirty years ago are still in power now and we are even threatened by another Marcos win in the vice-presidential race. Have we not learned what EDSA stood for? The youth of today would not know of its significance unless their parents and relative who were part of it tell them in details what happened. It’s a good thing the organizers of the commemoration of the EDSA revolution put up an Experiential Museum recreating the experiences that awakened Filipinos to stand up and be counted. I hope they would find a place to make it a permanent exhibit for all of us to visit because it is only open until today and you have to reserve a slot for viewing.
And this is one of our old photos at the office while we prepared paper flowers and banderitas for an afternoon rally. We always had sacks and sacks of confetti just waiting to be thrown outside the bank’s windows. This was shared by Clod Saquido, my former boss at BPI.