The 1986 People Power uprising created countless heroes from among millions of ordinary folk who came out to defend the military from certain doom and to destroy a dictatorship that oppressed the people and plundered the treasury. That four-day rally became the country’s pride and the world’s shining example of what a united people could do.
From 1972 to 1986, many people paved the way to Edsa. There were students, workers, farmers, religious people, journalists and various professionals, businessmen, and politicians. Many died or were abducted (and never seen again) as they fought for democracy in schools, factories, farms, the mountains, the streets and in jail.
Like Ninoy Aquino, each of these heroes thought Filipinos were worth dying for. With People Power, ordinary Filipinos returned the favor by finally winning the fight for the restoration of democratic institutions. Our heroes’ supreme sacrifice thus were not in vain after all.
Between then and now, many things have happened. The Marcoses shamelessly and baselessly claim vindication. While other political players wish to highlight themselves alone as the “stars” of EDSA. No mention is made of those who quickly responded to the calls of Cardinal Sin and Cory Aquino, those who held vigil for four days, those who recaptured the Palace — and those who died fighting to expose and weaken the dictatorship from 1972 onwards. Others would rather make us all forget about it, so much so that Edsa is now just a synonym to traffic.
24 years later, the military and police are again tormenting the people (as in the cases of the Ampatuan massacre, the Morong 43 abduction and detention and the extrajudicial killings) and the sitting president seems to be so addicted to power and plunder.
Today is time once again for heroes and heroism, for Filipinos to step up to the plate, for us to rediscover our bravery, to pay tribute to heroes by keeping the faith and carrying on the fight for authentic freedom and substantive democracy.
[This is my contribution to Blog Action Day: The Real Heroes of Edsa.]