Twenty years ago I was a third grade elementary student in the University of the Philippines Integrated School. We didn’t go school anymore because it was senseless to go to school. Everyone was out in the streets waiting for the counting of the snap election to finish. The whole world was watching. It seemed that the dictator would never be overthrown, but then a sudden turn of events occured. The dictator lost control of the very army that helped him stay in power. Over the next few days, Filipinos will drive over the very same roads that twenty years ago brought freedom back to the Filipino people.
But twenty years on, where is EDSA?
It seems that we never learned anything. In the past twenty years, we’ve had coup de eta’ts, ousted a president, trying to oust the new one, an economic growth spurt and now we seem to be struggling in the mud. The same politicians that we wanted out in 1986 are the same people in power today. Who elected them? We did! It’s just so depressing twenty years on.
It deeply saddens me that young Filipinos have no concern for history, in particular, EDSA. It saddens me that the very freedom that many gave their lives for achieving is merely a holiday for many. The freedom that we have today has meaning and it has worth. There are many things that people are doing today that twenty years ago, you could not.
The news on radio and TV was all prepared. Why bother changing channels when all the channels will only be showing the same news.
Protesting in the streets is enough for some people to mysteriously disappear and never to be seen again.
We do not have government sanctioned curfew.
We can freely travel in and out of the country.
We can freely say what we think and feel (most of time it’s too much).
And the list goes on and on.
And we continue to do all of these things, without remembering how we earned this freedom.
The events of EDSA is not just a faded battleground where people gathered. Chances are, we travel on it everyday. We still use the same airport in the very same terminal where Ninoy Aquino died. Cars, buses and trains run on EDSA everyday and there are still signs of 1986. The two military camps are still there. The same intersections where sand bags where piled to stop the incoming tanks. The same streets where millions of Filipinos stood theiur ground against troops and tanks to protect soldiers defecting from the dictator. (Some in the coming months would try to unseat the government through violent means.)
It is there for a reason, so we would not forget.
As a nation, we inspired the world and got their attention. Until now, I still have some people asking what happened there. And what have we done with that? We just trampled on it. Greedy elements lustful for power used and is trying to use any means necessary to gain power. All at the cost of the Filipino.
These are people who are not worth calling Filipinos. For they mean to harm us.
These “so-called youth/ students” who oppose the current administration, those who lie down on the streets to drive their point across have a right to do so. But I too have rights. I also have the right not to listen to them. I have the right to tell them that they are wrong.
These rebel soldiers who are going against the very constituition they swore to protect. They are to protect the presidency, the people and the constituition. But their actions have done nothing but cause us harm. To dilute the seat of the president, to harm the lives of Filipinos, to reduce the freedom of our constituition to a mere military “junta”. Not to mention to ally themselves with the very communists that are determined to crush all that the very freedom we have fought for. It is insulting to think that our tax money went to pay for the education of these fools.
Politicians who want to grab power by any means do not deserve our votes, for it is clear they do not represent the people, but only themselves.
And most of all, people who forget why EDSA happened.
If we do not remember the reasons why the people went out to the streets to protect strangers from being killed, if we do not value the very freedom that we have then we do not deserve it.
Is the Filipino worth dying for? If someone had asked me that twenty years ago, I would have said “yes”. But ask me that today, I do not know the answer.