EDSA 1986: Remembrance and Reevaluation

What was it all about, after all?

Was there any real change inside us, where it really mattered?

Why are we back to square one thus far?  Or have we really progressed as a democratic country without our knowing it?

These and other nagging, serious questions haunt us — as I’m sure they do millions of others, specially the principal players of that epic drama twenty-three years ago — as we ponder the mortality of the former President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco-Aquino.

Was it worth the personal sacrifices and the very high levels of stress as the President of the Philippines after Ferdinand Marcos, Cory?

Was it worth your assassination / martyrdom, Ninoy?  Was it worth becoming a national hero?

Was it worth ignominiously removing you as the First Lady, Imelda?

Was it worth ignominiously removing you as the President, Ferdinand?

Was it worth all the hope for my family and I and fifty million other Filipinos?

Was it worth anything at all to you, my friend?

It is a good time to reflect on THE ESSENTIALS OF LIFE, to ask ourselves the difficult questions of our existence as human beings and as Filipinos…

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26 Comments

  1. Onlooker said,

    August 1, 2009 at 3:56 am

    The People’s Queen is Dead! God Save Our Queen! *bows head and weeps*

  2. angela said,

    July 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

    yes, absolutely, i think EDSA was worth the sacrifices of ninoy and cory, and, okay, marcos and imelda. let’s not judge EDSA 86 on the basis of what happened after the four days. let’s judge EDSA 86 based on what happened during the four days and its significance as a strategy for nonviolent change. gma and mike saw it and used it successfully nung edsa dos. but like cory’s administration, gma’s is a failure, not because of EDSA, but because the central component – People Power – dropped out of politics. after the four days in 86 when cory had been proclaimed and marcos had left, bumitaw na ang taongbayan, trusting that the installed leaders would govern right. now we know it aint gonna happen. government can’t be trusted, there are too many other vested interests and forces at play. making things right in this country means the people have to play an active and decisive part, the way they did in EDSA 86. of course it was simpler then — the goal was only to remove marcos. it was so easy to unite and march in great numbers. today it’s so complicated, we’re so divided, polarized; what are our goals ba talaga…

  3. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 19, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Give me Commodus, Genghis Khan, Vlad Tepes, and Ivan the Terrible anytime.

  4. Rafhorm said,

    July 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Zippo wrote:

    “personally, i believe spain would’ve slid a downward spiral if it weren’t for franco.”

    —————————————————————————————————–

    Z.,

    Sliding upwards would be a Herculean task lacking external propulsion or the marvellous talent for expelling flatulence.

    Also, I’m really not certain on how you arrived at that prognostication re a Franco-less Spain, a statement made remarkable only for it being so unburdened by evidence and knowledge. But let us permit you some leeway and take it that you are merely being as imaginative about facts as your Ninang.

    Spain was in a downward spiral with Franco giving it a push and a Muay Thai Teh Kod to, ehem, boot (another morsel for the lovely Izzy).

    Franco’s brand of nationalism was notable for its repression of cultural diversity. His justification being that it kept the country supposedly united (under Castellano) at all cost. What was the price?
    Take the Basques. The Fascist reduced his own people into cinders in Gernika courtesy of Hitler’s and Von Richtofen’s Nazi Luftwaffe Condor Legion (Hitler used the bombing raid and corresponding devastation as an arena to showcase and show-off his military might). Joining the carnage was Mussolini’s Italian Aviazione Legionaria running on Stalin-provided petrol (because Il Douche obviously had a predilection for being a cunt — there’s another crackin’ one in there Isabella, maybe even 2 or more if you’re diligent).

    Working with Hitler and Mussolini in the Bizkaian madness, Franco left behind a trail of thousands of bodies of men, women, and children lacerated by fragmentation bombs that spit shrapnel or burned to death by incendiary bombs dropped on their homes.

    Franco suppressed the cultures and people of Catalunya and Euskadi to the point that Euskera would’ve disappeared in a decade, and worse yet, some wonderful recipes and alchemy for pintxos and patxarran gone with it. Gallego would’ve traveled the same bearings, which is to say we, of lesser fiduciary capacities, would never have had a taste of the fashionable by way of Zara and Bershka and the rest of Inditex’s value-for-money offerings (given the agressive price points during their bi-annual rebajas).

    Franco cradled Castilla and killed Espana.

    How dangerous is a Franquista-inspired xenophobia? Disregarding the US as a stellar example of hegemonic tastelessness, let’s look at certain portions of Africa. African borders were drawn up by commodity-famished nations (the Berlin Conference) utterly ignorant of the continent’s cultural rubrics, resulting in an Africa condemned/divided along geo-poliitical borders, rather than tribal ones. Thus, you have this mess up to today.

    In today’s Europe, you will find that the nation-state model is giving way to regionalisation, the result being that language, culture, and a significant sense of identity flourish from Gipuzkoa to Zuberoa, from Scotland to Wales. Your personal identity is coupled closely with your native language. Which probably may not mean much to you with your left eye looking fawningly towards an Iberia you misapprehend and your right allured by your ironically-bourgeoisie aspiration for aristocracy.

    I’ll tell you more about Franco’s mess post Civil War (after 39) and a bit about that Carlist pretender if you promise to meet knowledge with sincere thirst rather than prideful belligerence.

  5. zippo said,

    July 18, 2009 at 5:45 am

    look at the singapore model irames. lee k.y. ruled singapore for a generation. and personally, i believe spain would’ve slid a downward spiral if it weren’t for franco.

  6. Irames said,

    July 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Well then, Zippo, you lost me there because when I lifted your phrase of “a few years”, I had taken it to mean a really brief time and not a generation!

    20 years of Marcos was a generation, mine (and possibly yours too) even if I suffered it from afar and more from sympathizing with my fellow Filipinos. And I certainly don’t want that experience repeated in any way or form on a set of Filipinos (the youth you alluded to), as I’m sure those who suffered under the falangistas of Generalissimo Franco, the fascist mob of Mussolini, the SS of Hitler (and so on and so forth) would not want those times revisited and re-imposed.Why go near a fire when you already got burned?

    Ah, Monsieur Zippo, you are incorrigible…!

  7. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Irames wrote:

    “You hit in the nail when you expressed what to me seems to be an UNANSWERABLE dilemma for the Philippines: “ideally, we need a STRONG, DISCIPLINED, and INCORRUPTIBLE leader with strong arm tactics who, for a few years, will reform our society with the goal in mind of getting us ready for a democratic society where citizens will value responsibility to society as well as basic human rights. Problem is, where do we find such a person?”

    **********************

    Ahem! Estoy disponsible. 🙂

  8. zippo said,

    July 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    irames,

    i’m thinking “a few years” would be about a generation. can’t teach old dogs new tricks but you can still educate the youth.

  9. Chong Mo said,

    July 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Uy! Friends na sila!

  10. Luwi said,

    July 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Mar Roxas is one prospective presidential candidate gone real awry. I use to admire him for staying out of any controversies and he seemed full of
    clear-eyed hope for the future. Until, he came out with that pre-election tv campaign. He dashed all my admiration with one padjak! Is that his vision for the country? He is promoting this country to be padjak capital of the world! I understand he wants to reach the masa but the tv ads clearly
    don’t add up. It was badly scripted, directed and acted. If he cannot see that his tv ad is pathetic, I expect he would have the right people to coach and advise him. I cannot understand why he cannot hire brilliant minds when he has the money.

    I am not voting anyone who is pre-electioneering because clearly it is money politics in the works and it violates the spirit and the intent of the election law. Does he want me to believe that he is not going to charge all those all those multi-million peso campaign ads and more to the taxpayers when he
    gets elected? To me that is an early and sure sign of corruption. Mar and his breed are under-estimating the native intelligence of the people.

    Obama of the Philippines? No way! Obama made use of the Facebook to ensure his candidacy but this Mar cannot even answer my friendship invite in
    Facebook. It has been pending for at a couple of months now. What efficiency! Sayang.

  11. Francis said,

    July 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    These politicians….. they’re one and the same…

  12. Irames said,

    July 17, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Wow, Zippo, you had me open-mouthed in surprise at seeing how well-composed, clear and articulate your rejoinder to my comments is. I just didn’t know you had it in you, kid 😉

    It especially warmed my heart to see your new-found pragmatism – rather than an unwavering devotion to your Ninang and Ninong – when you declared, “I believe, Marcos had it right when he wrested absolute control. He did have the right policies during the 1st few years of martial law. However, something went very very wrong somewhere along the way and the vision that he had in reforming Philippine society blew up in his face.”

    There is hope for our country if the likes of you can publicly acknowledge that something went awfully awry under the strong-man rule of Marcos. This is exactly how we should tackle our historical experiences: seeing them clearly and not through a rose-tinted glass, so we might learn from them and resolve to do better.No more reevaluations and rehabilitations to suit our personal needs at the expense of the truth!

    By the way, see the thread on Political Power and my take on Machiavelli’s prescription for brevity of action for strong rulers to reinforce control and maintain power. I maintain that Marcos and his geographical parallels (Hitler, Idi Amin, Jean Bedel Bokassa, Tito, Mao, Stalin, Castro, Enver Hoxha etc) obviously did not heed it and went on to establish the reign of terror as the norm, and which even after they were deposed or substituted in power, the sedimentary effects of their programs and policies (and pogroms!) stayed on with their traumatized constituents.

    You hit in the nail when you expressed what to me seems to be an UNANSWERABLE dilemma for the Philippines: “ideally, we need a STRONG, DISCIPLINED, and INCORRUPTIBLE leader with strong arm tactics who, for a few years, will reform our society with the goal in mind of getting us ready for a democratic society where citizens will value responsibility to society as well as basic human rights. Problem is, where do we find such a person?”

    With the emphasis on “a few years” and that it should NOT be brutal to the level of condoned killings.

  13. sunny said,

    July 17, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I was at EDSA 1 because classes were dismissed for us to go to the rally. For a student like me then, it was a great relief for not having classes and have fun with classmates at the rallies. It seemed the IN thing to do then.

    After seeing presidents rule the country after that, it actually made me think that our country was better off then than it is now, with the exception of President Ramos’ term.

  14. zippo said,

    July 17, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Irames,

    You said: “Mar Roxas is being foisted as the Obama of the present set of presidentiables – which doesn’t hoist up such a great promise for the country if you look how the Big O, for his part, is currently faltering in performance and to a growing number of people a major let-down from their election expectations. But at least he seems to be earnest in making a dent at the problems coming his way. And we know the importance of being earnest is.”

    I agree with you. Those economic stimulus packages and the Democrats’ penchant for raising taxes and unnecessary spending have taken a toll on the satisfaction rating both the White House and Congress (particularly Pelosi and the Lower House). But other Filipino “presidentiables” are being fashioned like Obama — like Jojo Binay (“Jobama”) well, probably because of his color; and Chiz Escudero because of his youth and his glib tongue (whether you like the guy or not, he sure knows how to talk).

    “I just hope that in having Korina by his side, his ambitions will not take the path of Sarah Palin instead (to take another US political model): strewn with contradictions and outright scandals, specially since some people claim he is more Sarah in a lot of ways, wink, wink;)”

    Guffaw ROTFLMAO on the Mar = Sarah wink wink. Palin sure is taking a beating from the American Press especially from the likes of Maureen Dowd, Eleanor Clift, and Margaret Carlson. However, I saw a recent article posted on Drudge Report, Breitbart, and Politico that said that whatever the mainstream press wrote about her, she is now considered (by Political pollsters) as the 2nd most popular politician in America today.

    This may be attributed to her “down home, folksy, I’m-one-of-you” language and personality which makes her connect with the average suburban, small-town, and/or rural American. Not unlike Ronald Reagan who was likewise derided by the American press in the 1970s (who was caricatured by the American Press and, coincidentally, SNL, as a war-mongering nit-wit). In fact, syndicated columnist Michael Reagan (yup, the elder son of THE Ronald) has written that Palin’s campaign style reminds him of his father and the way she simplifies an issue (whether rightly or wrongly — that’s me, zippo, taking) was characteristic of his father’s campaign style. Nobody in the mainstream media in the 1970s thought Reagan would ever become President after losing in the 1972 and 1976 Republican Conventions. Well, he sure proved the press wrong.

    “At any rate, let me reiterate: who will impose a real regime change in a country too long in a MORAL quagmire? Why do we Filipinos find ourselves unable to extricate from the shackles of MEDIOCRITY, where the few of our international achievements are in either singing (Charice or Lea) or boxing (Pacman)? Sure, those are nice to pat our backs with but they will never advance our status among nations. So why can’t we COLLECTIVELY aspire to attain better strides and develop into the next ECONOMIC phenomenon? What’s taking us too long? When is the country ever going to have a real turn to greatness as our other Asian neighbors have done? In our world’s scheme of things, this is the only thing that matters and we shouldn’t lose sight of it.”

    As long as Filipinos treat elections as mere popularity contests, nothing will happen to our country.

    The way I see it, the Filipino culture and society is NOT ready for a democracy. The average Filipino does NOT vote on issues but, rather, personalities. We do NOT have a strong party system. Marcos, I believe, had it right when he wrested absolute control. He did have the right policies during the 1st few years of martial law. However, something went very very wrong somewhere along the way and the vision that he had in reforming Philippine society blew up in his face. Ideally, we need a STRONG, DISCIPLINED, and INCORRUPTIBLE leader with strong arm tactics who, for a few years, will reform our society with the goal in mind of getting us ready for a democratic society where citizens will value responsibility to society as well as basic human rights. Problem is, where do we find such a person?

    Z:-)

  15. periphery said,

    July 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I was at EDSA1 in 1986 and am proud of it. The trek from Makati to the Camp Aguinaldo area took quite a long time, I remember. We had to take back roads at some point and ended up parking somewhere in the White Plains – Saint Ignatius area. What struck me as very different and quite touching was the apparent ease in which the different socio-economic classes represented there mingled and interacted with each other. It’s something one definitely does not see everyday in Manila, with its extremely rigid stratification.

  16. bambinawrites said,

    July 16, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I was never at any of the EDSAs either and I’ve never voted. I used to be proud about that, given the mediocrity of our leaders. I would like to vote in the next elections, though. For whom, I still don’t know.

  17. Irames said,

    July 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Mar Roxas is being foisted as the Obama of the present set of presidentiables – which doesn’t hoist up such a great promise for the country if you look how the Big O, for his part, is currently faltering in performance and to a growing number of people a major let-down from their election expectations. But at least he seems to be earnest in making a dent at the problems coming his way. And we know the importance of being earnest is.

    I just hope that in having Korina by his side, his ambitions will not take the path of Sarah Palin instead (to take another US political model): strewn with contradictions and outright scandals, specially since some people claim he is more Sarah in a lot of ways, wink, wink;)

    At any rate, let me reiterate: who will impose a real regime change in a country too long in a MORAL quagmire? Why do we Filipinos find ourselves unable to extricate from the shackles of MEDIOCRITY, where the few of our international achievements are in either singing (Charice or Lea) or boxing (Pacman)? Sure, those are nice to pat our backs with but they will never advance our status among nations. So why can’t we COLLECTIVELY aspire to attain better strides and develop into the next ECONOMIC phenomenon? What’s taking us too long? When is the country ever going to have a real turn to greatness as our other Asian neighbors have done? In our world’s scheme of things, this is the only thing that matters and we shouldn’t lose sight of it.

  18. issima said,

    July 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    bestbudd:

    Do you honestly believe that?

    I don’t.

    It will take much, much, much more than Mar Roxas to redeem this poor country of ours.

  19. bestbudd said,

    July 16, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Mar Roxas is the only hope this country has to be great again! Mar Rocks! 🙂

  20. zippo said,

    July 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    edsa 1 = hong kong (we were on a vacation and were supposed to go back on the 23rd). woman at the cathay pacific check-in counter said that all flights to manila were canceled).

    edsa 2 = my flat, sleeping

    edsa 3 = my dad’s beach house

  21. Toffee Tionko said,

    July 16, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I don’t think we’re back to square one. A 20 year dictatorship is no longer probable. I grew up knowing only 1 President. My eldest child, who is now 11, has had three.

    I don’t think the EDSAs were the answer to all our problems. Lets not kid ourselves. Obviously the corruption and abuses never went away. It was just done by a new set of people. Solving that will take more than a few hundred thousand people meeting up in a Mandaluyong City intersection while the rest of the nation watches them on TV.

  22. larry leviste said,

    July 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Zippo like the LIGHTER ?

    Pray tell where were you during all the EDSAS ?

  23. Irames said,

    July 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    It’s strange that looking at our evolution as people from the time of the Katipunan to the more recent people’s uprisings, our national character has changed radically along the manner of change we effected.

    In waging a campaign to topple the governing foreigners – which included the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese -I think we showed more resolve and fervor to attain a real regime change than we did in any of the EDSAs. We certainly displayed more courage and the will to demand the re-making of our nation.

    The Philiipine Revolution and our country’s War of Independence were definitely the shining moments when we made our mark as a people. Sadly, after those two historical events, we have become unraveled and clueless to how we can pick up the pieces to make us whole again. Worse, some of those pieces have been carted off by those we especially trusted to do good by us.

  24. zippo said,

    July 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    ‘cant answer this one. never joined any of the 3 EDSAs.

    z 🙂

  25. Leader said,

    July 15, 2009 at 6:34 am

    when men and women in our country can not distinguish what is right from what is wrong with certainty nothing will ever be expected from us other than our very present state.

    No argument is needed, let is discuss the basic and necessary. as a test to this let us just see the immediate surroundings and the circumstances among ordinary people.

    1. do we need to regulate the telco companies from sending unnecessary spam messages while charging its consumers? of course yes, but TELCo companies is more concern of their earnings in billions and could hire top of the line lawyers to ask for TRO from judges.

    2. do we need to reduce prices of medicines? (yes) but multinational companies can arrange meeting with gov’t officials…..to delay or whatever?

    3. do we need to pay the right taxes? (yes) but we can hire accountants and lawyers to avoid them all, and yet Educational institutions would award their leader with Honorary Doctorate Degree. like Dr. L…T.

    4. Do we need to change the constitution now? (yes) but for all personal, selfish, tactical, political reason we don not stand up for it. How many Party list do we need really? don’t we have enough of them to share our taxes? We have Chairman of Standing committees in the senate whose background and intellectual capacity is far and far and away….

    we simply have to remain to be hopeful i believe so…….

  26. July 15, 2009 at 1:39 am

    “Plus c’est la même chose” ( the more things change, the more they remain the same.)


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