What a way to celebrate the anniversary of an event that changed the nation!
First, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, herself a beneficiary of a replication in 2001 of the Edsa People Power I revolt, asks the nation to observe the event by vowing never to embark on a similar exercise again. Saying another display of “People Power” would merely derail the economic gains her administration has achieved, she warned that “the world will not tolerate another Edsa” and instead condemn the Philippines if people mass on the streets again.
We all know where she’s coming from, of course. If ever “People Power” does materialize in this country again, it will probably result in her ouster. She has come this close to it time and again, and it is only a matter of luck that, due to various factors, the “tipping point” to a restaging of Edsa I has not been reached.
Still, wasn’t it rather crass of her to discredit the very event that led to her ascension to power? Would she have said the same thing in 2001 when, due to the massing of People Power incensed by the goings-on at the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada, she found herself prematurely thrust into power? A little gratitude would seem to be in order, and some acknowledgement, at least, of the value of People Power, and the lessons those events taught us but which, sadly, we have failed to learn or take to heart.
And if Edsa I was such a big deal, then why should there not be -- depending on your historical valuation -- an Edsa III, IV, V and so on down the line?
A President, who is confident of her mandate, secure in her place in history, clean of conscience and knowing she owes no one, least of all the people, an apology, has no reason to fear a reenactment of Edsa I.
Eto naman ang reaction ng Tribune Editorial re Arroyo's claim na dapat wag na raw mag-People Power dahil maapektuhan ang economiya natin:
One certainly can’t call Joseph Estrada a tyrant or a dictator. He may have had his faults, but certainly dictatorial was never one or them, since he never tried to muzzle the freedoms of the Filipino people — even of those who were against him. He kept the Senate and the House independent, and before the coup plotters, among whom were the businessmen and the then political opposition and the leftists who are now suffering under Gloria’s rule, the economy was doing very well under Estrada, with foreign investments coming in, as even the official data show.
So did the Edsa dos types cared about our economy then when they tried to topple erap? IIRC, from the time erap inherited FVR’s broken economy in 1998 (mainly because of the Asian financial crisis) to the year Dec 2000, the economy grew from -0.6% in 1998 to 4.4% in 2000 (so the economy even then was headed in the right direction), but he still got “people powered” in 2001.
for all its faults, the erap admin still left behind a 4.4% GDP in 2000 for Arroyo when she took over in Jan. 2001. Buti pa si arroyo. During Arroyo’s first year though, the GDP rate fell to 3.2% in 2001. You can look that up.
Anyway, sabi ni Maam na wag na raw tayong mag-people power. Pero ito ang sinabi nya dati nung ginamit nya ang Edsa para patalsikin si Erap.
Sa innaugural speech ni Maam noong Jan. 20 2001:
“..I pray that we will all be one – one in our priorities, one in our values and commitments, and one because of Edsa 2001.
“People Power and the ‘oneness’ of will and vision have made a new beginning possible.
“As we break from the past in our quest for a new Philippines, the unity, the Filipino’s sense of history, and his unshakeable faith in the Almighty that prevailed in EDSA ’86 and EDSA 2001 will continue to guide and inspire us.
“I am certain that Filipinos of unborn generations will look back with pride to EDSA 2001, just as we look back with pride to Mactan, the Katipunan and other revolts, Bataan and Corregidor, and EDSA ’86.
“People Power has dramatized the Filipino’s capacity for greatness.
“People of People Power, I ask for your support and prayers. Together, we will light the healing and cleaning flame.”
Dec. 03, 2001
It is now more than ten months since edsa dos, when I assumed the
presidency through the process of constitutional succession and on the
shoulders of people power, spontaneous people power, not people power
mobilized by any one organized group. I stress this point because it was
my discernment on january 20th that god was speaking through the almost
one million people who were in edsa, saying, gloria macapagal-arroyo. For
many months, the organized protesters were frustrated in their efforts to
mobilize sustained people power. Then i, on january 16th, it was i, the
lord your god, who inspired my beloved filipino people in the hundreds of
thousands and also million to go to edsa and create the vacancy that
allowed you to ascend to the presidency. Therefore, this is my discernment.
God said to me that his expectation is that I will work constructively for
the benefit of the filipino people whom he love so much, the only catholic
nation in asia, the nation to whom he showed his love in an extraordinary
way in edsa one, and again in edsa two. And for my part, I hope that in
these last ten months, I have kept faith with what I perceived to be that
mandate from divine providence.
April 18, 2001:
The late chief justice teehankee said that "the rule of law is the basis of any civilized society -- and it is here -- a law that upholds human dignity and freedom and protects human rights." This is the essence of our democracy with a government which acknowledges that sovereignty resides in the people. And this principle of sovereignty residing in the people was the principle that was invoked when chief justice davide said that he would administer the oath of office of my position as president on that day january 20th. Indeed, nothing can be more demoralizing to the mass of the people than to see public officials uninhibited by old, conventional practices because they are left disconcertingly without a code of ethics to guide and restrain them.