This week marks the anniversary of EDSA 1 or the People Power Revolution, or the People Power Backed Military Rebellion. What title to give it depends on how one views it. A “revolution” seems to be farfetched because no revolution occurred. A purely military rebellion is not apt either because one cannot ignore the people that congregated along EDSA that helped bring about the ouster of President Marcos. And the American hand has, over the years, become clearer making that a 3rd element in this historical event. An incisive description of what took place was best summarized by historian/journalist Chitang Nakpil:”EDSA as a revolutionary reform failed because, from its inception, it was tainted by foreign interests, and even its native elements were blighted by self serving motives.”
In a future era of more evolved human beings hundreds of years from now, this could even be relegated to an anecdote in our history which would be a sub-story in the history of man. Without meaning to put a damper on what is already a lame celebration of EDSA 1, this week’s related activities will definitely be politically motivated which is to be expected with elections just around the corner. But the problem is there will be several mini celebrations of various groups and persons bitterly fighting and campaigning against each other, all claiming to be the legitimate “owner” of “EDSA 1” with whatever value there is left in it as a brand. That these personalities, who once marched together in locked arms against Marcos, are now bitterly fighting each other tooth and nail, only confirms that self-interest had always been their motive. These were hidden in lofty ideas and slogans shouted over megaphones when they joined together against one man hoping to partake of the spoils should they finally succeed.
It has been thirty years since the uprising which is more than enough time to have made significant gains as China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore did but, alas, we seem to have gotten stuck and even regressed in some areas of nation building. The most obvious is the failure to alleviate poverty and worse, the rise in the number of people experiencing hunger. In education, compared to the time of Marcos, a smaller percentage of our population are presently enrolled in our primary and secondary schools and the ratio of teacher to students has worsened. We have witnessed wanton degradation of our land, forests, mountains, water and air over three decades and our cities have become urban jungles of the worst kind with its accompanying criminality. Our international airport has been named the worst in the world, MRT-LRT are decrepit, and traffic in Metro Manila has become a monstrosity.The drug menace is now a scourge with the narco state, already in place. The shabu trade has reached 1 Billion Pesos a day and continues to flourish. Though our economic growth rate is doing splendidly, sadly, it is only felt by a few, far from being inclusive. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2014 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, poverty incidence among Filipinos rose to 25.8% from 24.6% in 2013. But since 2006, poverty has almost remained constant. Finally, corruption has escalated, our people remain divided, the country has become the “most dangerous place to live in for a journalist,” and the International Human Rights Watchdog has just given President Aquino a failing grade. What then is there to celebrate? Unless you belong to the few that have become richer or the oligarchy that is back in power, there is little to celebrate and plenty to lament.
And if President Marcos has been looking good to a large number of Filipinos as of late, it is not because the Marcos loyalists have worked their propaganda on the people; they could not have because they have not had, and still do not have, the power to disseminate propaganda much less, succeed in attempts at historical revisionism. It is the “history” written by his opponents that have permeated the broadcast networks and newspaper dailies owned or controlled by the oligarchs of the yellow brigade. The simple reason why the former strongman has been gaining more acceptance and admirers over the years is not only due to more awareness of the best of Marcos’ government programs and infrastructure still utilized today, but because what came after him proved to be worse, as difficult as it may be for some to admit that. Thirty years is a long long time and blaming Marcos for today’s problems only further enrages the people. And if there are still some souls that believe the Filipinos have not seen
through the EDSA “masquerade” and its failure to deliver on promises of a better future for the majority of the people, and the “revolution” that was supposed to usher in deep reforms in government, they will soon change their minds when they witness Senator Bongbong Marcos raise his right hand to be sworn in as the next Vice President of the Philippines.