This year marks the 25th anniversary of an event which inspired numbers of countries in the world. An event which put our country in world history as a peaceful revolution successfully toppled a dictator of more than 2 decades of rule. A touching event in our history when people’s power subdued the power of armed forces. Up until now whenever I watch videos of that popular uprising, I can’t help but get goosebumps still. Even though I was only 3 yrs old back then, I can still remember I was watching it on TV and I remember I too flashes the “L” sign whenever I see people on TV flashing it. EDSA People Power is really an inspirational story showing that people can really make a change. People holds the power to move and demand for reforms. But where are we now after 25 years? Five presidents have passed since it happened, wherein one also end up subjected to the same fate as the former dictator Marcos and two being from the same family, the Aquinos. What have we gained from that historic event of 1986? What changes did it brought to our lives after then?
Some people claimed EDSA is a failure. They’re saying it was just an orchestration of the oligarchs and the rich businessmen who wants to grab power. But hey I beg to differ, EDSA in its truest essence is not a failure but the “People” who constituted it are. From common masses, the middle class and the richest citizens up to all the leaders who assumed post after it have failed to live the spirit of EDSA. Yes we have regained freedom and democracy but we failed to make it work. Samahan pa ng mga leaders na hindi tumalima sa totong diwa nito at sinamantala lang ang pagkakataon na sana’y maiangat ang kabuhayan ng ating bansa. As I always said, EDSA is not all about the personalities, yes Cory maybe an icon of it, but she cannot make changes without the consensus of the constituents. She may have failed to redeem our country after her ascension but people also failed to use that gain and use to make our country move forward. We just relied on the democracy being back to us, but did not worked on making it work for the best interest of all of us. We failed to worked together to achieve democracy’s greatest potential. We have failed to make the democratic institutions work. Sinayang naten ang malaking oportunidad na maiiangat ang estado ng ating bansa by mere entrusting our future to the government. As what Maria Ressa said, she came back in 1986 in the hope that 10yrs after, our country could have been much progressive as compared then, but look at our situation today, two and a half decades already and yet were still stacked to poverty and corruption issues. The iconic integrity-based leadership of the then EDSA icon Cory was succeeded by presidents who was toppled because of plunder (and later on convicted), and an almost toppled president who up until now is hounded also by corruption allegations. Who are to blame now? Yes we can easily blame our leaders for inability to implement reforms that will uphold the standard of living of our people. For their inefficiency to use what we have gained from the peaceful revolution. For being successor not of the spirit of EDSA but the culture of self-centered leadership and system of corruption. But it’s not only about the leadership, but we the people. People power did not fail, but we Filipinos failed to live up to its promise. We failed to effectively use our power of mandate in choosing right leaders who will govern us. That is why we can be easily abused by those greedy leaders whose only intention is to serve themselves while in power and not serving the people who gave them the mandate. We easily forgot the lessons learned in EDSA, that the power is within each one of us and we failed to use that in our favor of advancing the future of our country. Dahil sa pagtake advantage naten sa kalayaan at demokrasyang hatid ng people power nakalimutan naten na may obligasyon din tayo bilang tao at mamamayan ng bansa, at ang resulta ay ang pangaabuso ng mga lider na tayo mismo ang naghalal. Ngayon nagrereklamo tayo bakit hindi tayo umuusad? It is because we Filipinos collectively (the government leaders, judiciary, armed forces, journalists, and simple citizens) have all failed to use our power to move this country up.
Now another Aquino is in power, I cannot say it was only coincidence that after two and a half decades the son of the EDSA 1 icon is at the top herald of this country. Many have put their hopes (including me) on this person knowing he can continue or possibly do what his mother failed to do 25 yrs earlier. People have entrusted him to make the changes that our country needs, after all 25 yrs is long enough for the change that we all need. We cannot afford to wait another 25 years and celebrate EDSA 1’s golden anniversary with this same situation. His being president is a signal, a queue, a reminder to fully implement what we have gained then. He has now the opportunity to lead us to where we should have 10 or 15 yrs ago and it’s a challenge for him by me and all those who have put their mandate on him. Make the spirit of EDSA work, make democracy work in our society. Live the gains of the revolution that inspired different parts of the world. But as I always believe, a country will not move forward if the people are tied on the same virtues and values that we have. This is also a challenge to us Pinoys, be the Filipino we ought to be. We have inspired people all over the world with our unity, it’s now time for each one of us to inspire fellow Filipino to move forward, to act together in making changes for our country. As what Harold Geronimo said in one of his tweets “No amount of investigation can erase corruption in our government, its all about values and culture”. We may have inherited the system of corruption but we can stop it by none participation and exposing those who are doing it. There is really hope for change if only we are really eager and determined to see changes. Wag tayong masanay sa kulturang, “hayaan na, wala din naman mangyayri eh”. We should always think that in every action big or small something will happen in effect, lalo na if it’s a collective effort, just like what happened in EDSA People Power.
“Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power”. – Charles Caleb Colton
“It is the people who holds power, let the power be use for the good of the people”