Malacañang’s sudden holiday declaration did not deter the spirit of the Lasallian community as it commemorated the 37th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution with a week-long event organized by the University Student Government (USG) and the Committee on National Issues and Concerns (CoNIC) from February 20 to 27.
Keynote addresses from former lawmaker and human rights lawyer Atty. Erin Tañada and Department of Political Science and Development Chair Dr. Cleo Calimbahin officially launched the EDSA37 project. Calimbahin discussed the trends that lead to the current populist society from the end of EDSA to the current Marcos Jr. administration, while Tañada shared the experiences of his grandfather, former Sen. Lorenzo “Ka Tanny” Tañada Sr., as a senator and a civil rights defender during Martial Law alongside his own experiences as a student activist at Ateneo de Manila University.
Following the talks, USAD-KISLAP: Power Power Exhibit was launched at The Learning Commons and featured black and white portraits of Lasallian Martial Law martyrs and their contributions during the EDSA People Power Revolution. Key facts about Martial Law and some Martial Law-related books were also displayed and sold in the exhibit.
The EDSA Film Festival: Tungo sa Pananagutan at Hustisya showcased three Martial Law-inspired films, namely Liway by Kip Oebanda, 11,103 by Jeannette Ifurung and Mike Alcazaren, and The Kingmaker by Lauren Greenfield at the Natividad Fajardo-Rosario Gonzales Auditorium and Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium from February 21 to 23. A talkback session with the production staff members and Martial Law victims a part of 11,103 and The Kingmaker, and with Ida del Mundo for Liway followed after each screening.
As part of the movement to promote youth participation and highligh the importance of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan’s (SK) role in community development, Kapihan ng Malalayang Lasalyano: “Kwentuhang Barangay and SK Elections” was held at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium last February 22.
Other activities spearheaded by the USG included a placard-making session held last February 23 at the Amphitheater, to prepare for the EDSA Commemorative Walk and an EDSA unity video that was released through the USG’s Facebook page on the day of the anniversary, February 25.
To end the week-long commemoration, a noise barrage and candle lighting program was held along the sidewalk of Taft Ave. outside the gates of St. La Salle Hall on February 27, which was initially slated to happen on February 24. Some 80 Lasallians, dressed in white, participated in the noise barrage, chanting “Lasalyano sama-sama para sa demokrasya.” USG President Alex Brotonel mentioned that the USG expected a larger participant turnout if the program happened on the original schedule.
(Lasallians together for democracy.)
The barrage was cut short, however, as police officers from the Manila Police District dispersed the demonstrators after explaining that the USG had failed to secure a permit from the City of Manila government to rally outside the University.
“We weren’t informed that we needed one since…we were in front of our University…but then we were asked to stop the barrage since kailangan daw ng permit, [and] we complied right away,” commented Brotonel on what transpired during the barrage. She also noted that the decision to hold the barrage outside the University walls was coordinated with CoNIC.
The program continued in front of the facade of St. La Salle Hall inside campus with a candlelight vigil. Participants completed the wooden portrait of Lasallian Martial Law activist and victim Immanuel “Imo” Obispo with the wax of the candles from the vigil.
Speeches from Brotonel, Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon President Marc Lee, Alyansang Tapat sa Lasalista President Marvin Sayson, and Student Media Council Treasurer Ian Ronnie Najera were heard, all echoing vigilance and standing up for the truth.
With reports from Nash Laroya