below is my post for Bloggers’ Action Week sponsored by my Bloggers’ Kapihan Crew (sorry po, absent ako, huhu). do drop by later today at Kape Tasyo (Freedom Bar), 2-5pm, for the BK3 event: Remembering Edsa Dos. Speakers include Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, Cristina Palabay of the Erap Resign Youth Movement and many more! more details here.
for some, january 19 was the last day of the EDSA Dos People Power Uprising. for us, the last and fateful day was technically on january 20, when millions assembled at dawn to march from the Edsa Shrine towards Mendiola. this, undoubtedly, for us was the last confrontational act that forced Erap to finally relinquish his seat and leave Malacanang.
it was well into our fourth day in Edsa and already sectors, organizers and participants were growing understandably restless. we were of course more than ready to spend another four days in the streets, but on the evening of january 19 a consensus was reached. we would march to Mendiola.
i left for home a few hours past midnight with some companions from UP to get a quick rest and take a decent bath before the march. sleep was the least of our worries, we didn’t want to miss the march to Mendiola for anything in the world.
i remember riding and walking towards Edsa Shrine on the dawn of january 20. there was a general sense of camaraderie and acceptance from common folks in the streets who saw us, a bunch of kids in our ‘oust Erap full battle gears’ — with our ‘oust Erap’ shirts, head dresses and stickers all over our bodies. some gave us the thumbs up, others applauded us as we passed by, “ngayon na ba? dapat ngayon na! (is he stepping down today? he should!)”. we were exhilarated, no sleep and raring to march kilometers.
the march was a sight to see. i remember a slight tension in the crowd when we learned that a handful of Erap supporters were supposedly waiting for us at San Juan. we deliberately avoided that area. i remember throngs upon throngs of residents offering food, water and slippers to the marchers in every community we passed. a helicopter dropped more food and water at nagtahan Bridge. Binibining Pilipinas 1st runner-up miriam quiambao stepped out of her car to personally hand over sandwiches to the rallyists. as we neared Mendiola and geared for the barricade set up by the police, i was suddenly placed arm to arm with that bassist guy from Greyhoundz. our formation was disturbed by the long march so by the time we reached Mendiola, my companions and i were meters away from each other and immersed in the crowd. but then, the people beside us became our companions and buddies. there was nothing to fear, i felt safe with the whole of the mass movement.
we were just about to set up program at the foot of Mendiola when we learned that Erap already left Malacanang. we were also surprised and a bit dismayed to learn that then Vice-President Gloria Arroyo had been sworn in at Edsa Shrine without waiting for the Mendiola marchers to return.
that act, some said, was probably the prelude of more betrayals to come.
fast forward to today, 7 years since Edsa Dos.
below is Anakbayan’s statement:
On 7th Edsa Dos Anniversary
People Power still true, still tangible
Anakbayan prides itself as one of the leading youth groups that ushered in the advent of what is now hailed as the People Power 2/EDSA Dos Uprising.
We maintain that Edsa Dos remains a benchmark in our nation’s history in attesting to the powers of a broad mass movement that marched as one to achieve a particular heroic goal.
Indeed, our constituents may now be called the ‘veterans of Edsa Dos’. We were those who valiantly marched from our universities to the Edsa Shrine. We were those who decisively marched on to culminate Edsa Dos at the bridge of Malacanang.
Still, we have constituents now who have been too young to participate in the Edsa Dos Uprising. What, then, would the spirit and legacy of Edsa Dos be for them?
Then, as it is now, Edsa Dos was about the removal of a tyrant and corrupt leader who has caused injustice, plunder and massive discontent among the youth and the people. Then, as it is now, Edsa Dos was not about ousting one president in favor of a successor. Then, as it is now, Edsa Dos was all about the people’s demands for truth, accountability and justice.
Despite assertions of some sectors of society, today’s generation does not subscribe to so-called ‘people power fatigue’. This concept is nothing but a ploy of the present administration and its apologists to cover up its very palpable dread of a burgeoning mass movement. The Arroyo administration is very conscious and frightened to this day of the development of a broad mass movement that may well succeed in ousting it from power.
The Arroyo administration has reason to feel insecure about its tenure. It should consider itself very unfortunate to have to face two generations of youth dissenters – the ‘veterans’ of Edsa Dos and today’s youth who have witnessed and endured ‘Hello Garci’ to the countless unresolved cases of bribery, corruption, human rights violations and economic plunder.
Unlike other sectors of society, we refuse to accept that the coming 2010 presidential election is the only means left to change the nation’s leadership. 2010 is still a long way to go and yet the tactics of Charter Change and other such desperate ploys of the Arroyo administration to cling to power refuse to die down.
Seven years of Arroyo is enough. A people power is still true and tangible. A people power is brewing in our midst as we speak. ###