From February 22 to 25, 1986, more than two million civilians, activists, soldiers, politicians, and religious groups banded together along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) to peacefully protest against the rampant corruption and abuses committed during the Marcos Regime.
The movement has since been referred to as a triumph of democracy and of the Filipino people, surprising the entire world. Now more popularly called People Power Revolution, the movement has always been commemorated as a day when the Filipinos stood side by side to fight for one common right—freedom.
But is it just a right?
Today, we commemorate a moment in time when the Filipino people worked together to oust the dictatorial government; but today is also a challenge for many Filipinos to realize that freedom is not simply a right to be enjoyed by the sacrifices of those who fought before us, but also a responsibility.
The Philippine government has gone ways away from the injustices of the Marcos regime, but it is still far from achieving its true potential. To cite the obvious, corruption is very much rampant in many of the government’s offices: one need only look at the Senate, only recently mired in controversy over gifts in the amount of Php 30 million distributed by the Senate President.
Even within our society, we continue to witness corruption, experience abuse, and suffer injustice, begging the question: were our social ills truly addressed when Marcos lost power, or did the perpetrators just change faces?
And it is not just the public sector that suffers from a moral crisis unresolved since Marcos’ day. Today, many corporations face the choice between responsibility and profits, where the latter bears more weight, naturally. Ethics is a pervasive issue in companies, a buzzword used to rack in earned media points, without evolving from mere corporate philanthropy.
And even at DLSU, students continue to experience injustices with a grievance system that creaks with abuse, disempowering students and ‘salvaging’ those who fight for their rights.
To note, the revolution continues.
And it is not just about icons, or yellow ribbons, or hands reading ‘L’s. The People Power Revolution was never about the late president Corazon Aquino, nor was it about Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, nor was it about Former President Fidel Ramos, or any distinguished personality that put a face to a revolution.
It was not just about people who advocated rights, and who applauded them from the bylines, from TVs, from CNN and abroad. We had, and still have, many people who love to just hear about rights, and how they are defended. But it is not just about enjoying rights.
It was about the people who realized that they needed to band together, and who knew that they were fighting because they realized their responsibility to right wrongs, and to protect each other.