Opinion: Historical Insights on EDSA 2012
Today’s column briefly interrupts our ongoing series on the notable historical events in Negros after the Cinco de Noviembre 1898 revolution.
Last Feb. 25, 2012 the nation observed again the historic EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 which brought about needed sweeping change to oust a stifling dictatorship and initiated a new regime conducive to democratic political and social order. In the wake of the past 26 years after the inspiring 1986 people power event, the nation needs to take stock and determine how far EDSA has gone in not only dismantling the apparatus of dictatorship, but also the reconstruction of the massive destruction of our democratic heritage and historic values earned by the blood and sacrifices of our heroes and forbears. Has EDSA 1986 propelled the people to rebuild our sacred legacies of a just and humane social order?
This column offers its own simple assessment. In brief, the answer is a partial “yes”. Some substantial gains have been earned but some setbacks also confront the nation today. The leadership of Pres. Corazon Aquino, in particular, inspired the people and the government machinery to start the badly needed political and socio-economic changes. Unfortunately, as have been observed, many improvements have been unsustained and the tremendous forces of decades of deep-seated poverty, widespread corruption and bad governance had resurged during the past several decades. Fortuitously, just when the political and socio-economic problems were near overwhelming, the May 2010 election brought about a renewal of the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986. It is one of our country’s historic destiny that the new inspirational leader of EDSA 2012 was the son of the late President Cory who presided over EDSA 1986.
What then are the notably historic insights needed to be recognized and responded to by our people in today’s EDSA 2012? As a first item, there is the need for our people to continue to assess the gains of EDSA which must be institutionalized and sustained. This, therefore, implies several other vital insights. One is that the people must never forget the heritage of EDSA, for in the words of Jose Rizal, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” The inspiring message of EDSA must continue to be continually lived in the lives of our people throughout contemporary and future history. As the noted writer, George Santayana, has warned “they who forget the lessons of history will regret it because history repeats itself.” Thus, one implication of this insight is the principle that all citizens must not only remember, but relive and sustain in their daily lives the lessons of EDSA. We all need to observe EDSA and, in fact, other important events in our lives as individuals (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and as a people (EDSA, Independence Day, etc).
Another related insight is the democratic principle that cannot be over-emphasized. Everyday, citizens must also live out this principle. In the equally immortal words of Jose Rizal, “Tal pueblo, tal gobierno.” In paraphrase, the government is essentially a reflection of the people. Stated in practical terms, the people must be constantly involved in the operations of the government. Public officials and employees must live honest lives as they have sworn not to betray the people’s trust through graft and corruption, abuse of power and violations of our laws. The citizenry must not only participate in graft and corruption, but also denounce and file complaints on the evils of bad governance. All these are essential elements of EDSA People Power Revolution. The urgent challenge has been reiterated by Pres. Noynoy Aquino in the EDSA 2012 anniversary. The people must help safeguard this revolution and sustain its gains to continuously fight graft and corruption, violation of our laws in the public service, and the nationwide campaign to alleviate poverty. These historic changes can only be done by the President with the rest of government and support of the people. As the theme of the EDSA 2012 Anniversary points out, all citizens have their respective roles or `taya’ or stake in helping build a better Philippines today and in the coming years. (For information or questions, please call 476-1798).*