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Duterte calls on Filipinos to uphold spirit of EDSA

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged Filipinos to emulate the heroism and compassion of those who symbolize the “true essence” of the EDSA People Power Revolution during the 36th anniversary of the movement that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

EDSA AT 36. Confetti rains on the monument of the EDSA People Power Revolution for the 36th anniversary of the uprising, led by Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano and National Historical Commission of the Philippines commissioner Reinere Policarpio. Danny Pata

In his message, Duterte said that public servants, community volunteers, and medical front-liners are among those who keep the legacy of the historic movement alive in the present day.

“As we honor the courage and solidarity of those who have come before us and fought to uphold our democracy, let us also honor and thank those who continue to keep alive the legacy of this largely peaceful and non-violent revolution,” Duterte said.

“Let us emulate their heroism, selflessness, and compassion as we strive to recover from our present challenges and march forward to a better Philippines for all,” he added.

“Our public servants who render honest and effective governance at the local and national levels, those who conduct rescue and relief operations during calamities, our community volunteers as well as our medical and essential frontliners during this COVID-19 pandemic, are among those who embody the true essence of People Power in our daily lives,” the President said.

He added that the commemoration of the People Power Revolution to reclaim the country’s democracy “serves as a strong reminder that with unity, cooperation, and faith, there is nothing that we cannot collectively achieve for the greater good of our country.”

Achieving change through peaceful means remains the legacy of the historic EDSA People Power Revolution, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

“What is good about Edsa is that an issue, conflict, was resolved through peaceful means, if there is unity among us Filipinos,” Año said in an interview on the sidelines of the commemoration of the event’s 36th anniversary at the Edsa People Power Monument in Quezon City.

Año led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites along with Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and National Historical Commission of the Philippines and Edsa People Power Commission chair Rene Escalante.

“So that is the good lesson about Edsa and (we should) probably use that experience in resolving future conflicts and issues in the country,” the DILG chief added.

Protesters took to the streets of the capital on Friday as church leaders called on the faithful to prevent a return to the abuses of the Marcos era on the anniversary of his ouster and months before a presidential election in which his son is heavily favored.

Police in the Catholic-majority country said about 1,100 mostly young protesters gathered on the same Manila highway where millions assembled 36 years ago to end the dictator’s two-decade rule.

The capital’s Epifanio de los Santos Avenue was the site of four days of peaceful street protests in 1986 that followed Marcos being accused of stealing the vote from rival Corazon Aquino in a snap presidential election.

Catholic bishops at the time mustered millions of people to protect a small group of military rebels who had holed up at an army base after Marcos uncovered their coup attempt. The protests eventually forced the Marcos family into US exile.

On Friday, bishops were again at the fore of the anti-Marcos movement.

In a pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said it was the duty of voters to reject “historical revisionism” they say seeks to whitewash the abuses committed under the elder Marcos.

Polls show the predominantly young electorate is set to send the former dictator’s namesake back to the Malacanang presidential palace.

“I think it is obvious from our tone we do not want the dark age of martial law repeated,” the 86-member group’s president, Bishop Pablo David, told reporters. “People have no business saying that was a golden age because that is a lie.”

While stressing it was not the bishops’ intent to choose for the people, the letter said it was the duty of Catholics “to use their free vote to further the common good”.

“But we are appalled by the blatant and subtle distortion, manipulation, cover-up, repression, and abuse of the truth,” it said, including the proliferation of fake news to create an alternative narrative of the country’s history.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said a total of 5,345 police personnel were deployed to secure the activities for the occasion.

The NCRPO was aided in this endeavor by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, Bureau of Fire Protection, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Department of Public Order and Safety; and Task Force for Transport and Traffic Management will beef-up the manpower.

This year’s commemoration carries the theme “Edsa 2022: Pagtutulungan Tungo sa Sama-Samang Pagbangon Mula sa Pandemya”.

The revolution marks the downfall of the 21-year rule of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of democracy in the country. With AFP


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