Saturday, February 23, 2008

How People Power Changed Me

I was six years old when I first heard the word people power, too young to fully grasp what it means but the memories poignant that I can still vividly remember.

I knew that it was the day liberty was given back to the people after suffering for a long time from the hands of tyrannical Marcos regime wherein martial law was implemented.

It was in a news magazine, Reporter, which I first saw the pictures of Edsa People Power 1 that toppled the oppressive government of Marcos. Former President Cory Aquino was in the front page surrounded by millions of Filipinos.

Men and women including children from all walks of life filled the streets…soldiers and priests holding hands and nuns clasping tightly their rosaries…all marched for truth and freedom…amidst the threat of bullets to silence the truth. It was the time that Filipinos astounded the whole world with the courage to end a cruel administration thru a peaceful revolution.

It also became the inspiration of the second uprising against government’s suppression of the truth. I was in college when for the first time I joined a peaceful revolt in the street. My fervor to be part of the rally was fueled with anger when again the country was tainted with corruption and never-ending list of dirt in the government.

I have monitored closely the impeachment trial then hoping that the truth would come out about the alleged ill- gotten wealth of former President Joseph Estrada. My idealism with regard to the system was ruined when the law makers themselves tried to hide the truth.

The envelope containing the evidences against him was forever sealed when his allies voted not to open it. It was the start of rebellion that ousted him from office. It was a sweet victory knowing that I became part of history which freed Juan Dela Cruz from that kind of leadership.

Many years later, Estrada was arrested and imprisoned (house arrest in a comfortable house) and not long after his life sentence for plunder, he was granted presidential pardon. Now, is that what we call justice? You tell me…

On February 26, the country will commemorate the 22nd anniversary of Edsa People Power 1. A very long time since freedom was reclaimed…

Apparently, with the current situation now of the country, Filipinos are in turmoil again…for the umpteenth times. The administration is facing numerous scandals which many are predicting would be the end of Arroyo government.

As the whole country venerate the time of liberation from the iron hand of Marcos regime, many are plotting the People Power 3. Another revolt to topple the present government…

Freedom and unity has been the main theme of the People Power 1 while healing was given emphasis in the People Power 2. If indeed the plan to overthrow the current regime succeeds, what would be the focus?

Healing, I believe should begin with freedom and unity. With the turmoil we are facing now it’s obvious that we were never healed with the wounds of the past. It continued to haunt us which disintegrates our hope for change.

How then can we make the remnants of the past become the hope of our future? How many revolts more do we need for us to learn? Do we need to have the third people power? Or maybe fourth? Fifth? Endless search for peace and truth…

I am no longer the innocent six-year-old kid during the Edsa People Power 1. I’ve grown and have been a silent witness of how leaders governed the political arena. I am 28 and my idealism was contaminated with corruption, bribery, and countless filth by the system…hope for change is still elusive but my love for my country remains. 




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