The true meaning of EDSA People Power is Us!
The celebration of the historic event is not about the personalities who emerged victoriously. It is about unsung heroes of yesterday who vigilantly fought for the nation to be free. EDSA People Power is not about the Aquinos neither their cohorts, who are now brandishing as so-called “Dilawans”. Lest we forget that there were ordinary people – farmers, workers, fisherfolks, teachers, students, church people, and even professionals who offered their lives in the altar of struggle and resistance for nationalism and democracy. They who chose not to be cowed by silence and fear in the face of a despot and plunderer. It was an act of people reawakening. It was the people empowered by the passion to change and to act for change. The power that ousted a dictator. The power that awakened hundreds of thousands amidst massive and widespread human rights violations which occurred during the dark days of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship. The power arose by the paragons of justice, peace, and democracy emerging from the climate of fear and quandary.
We all know that the promise of EDSA never materialized. We inherited its failure with the deepening of socio-economic inequality and the brazen disregard of human life and freedom. We have witnessed how the succeeding regimes after EDSA not only failed us but have been corrupted by power and greed. We cannot turn blind eyes and deaf ears on the continuing agony of our people mired in the abyss of poverty, inequality, and injustice. After more than three decades, poverty and inequality still remain. Rule of law is deliberately being disregarded; human rights are blatantly violated and those who defend them are vilified, attacked and labeled “enemies of the State” by the current government.
We cannot allow the restoration of authoritarian rule and a culture of impunity to prevail in society. We cannot allow the next generation of Filipinos to live in fear and violence. We stand against the Duterte government.
We, the people, have to reclaim and defend our power. Let us unite and act to defend our rights and dignity.
Let us keep the flame burning!
DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS!
UPHOLD HUMAN DIGNITY!
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates
23 February 2019
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