Social change will make people power revolt ‘obsolete’
“Tayo ang nagtanim, ang nagbayo at nagsaing, ngunit nang maluto ay iba ang kumain.”
This is how Jess Santiago sums up the two successful Edsa people power revolution in his song “Pagbabago?”
No thanks to the opportunistic leaders of our nation, whose compromising character can be traced back to their ilustrado origins, the majority of Filipinos remain poor and downtrodden until today.
First, there was “Edsa I” that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and placed the Aquino-Cojuangco clan in power.
Liberal democracy was restored but chronic poverty and gross social injustice continued.
Like her predecessors, Corazon Aquino championed the interests of foreign monopoly capitalists and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.
The national democratic movement that was most instrumental in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people against the Marcos regime soon became the target of state fascism, most notably the Mendiola massacre.
Fifteen years later, thousands of angry Filipinos gathered once again at the Edsa monument chanting “Sobra nang pahirap, patalsikin si Erap!” to oust the corrupt Estrada administration in what is known today as Edsa II.
Then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo found herself sitting in Malacañang while activists continued to demand socioeconomic reforms.
Arroyo, who is from the same haciendero class as the Aquino-Cojuangco family, turned out to be a fraud. In the subsequent years, the Arroyo administration would launch fascist attacks against the people while implementing the same old policies that have long made our countrymen suffer. The rest is history.
Today, the possibility of another Edsa uprising is becoming increasingly significant as the Duterte administration pushes for federalism via Charter change as part of its scheme of building a fascist dictatorship without having to impose a nationwide military rule.
Tired of the President’s blatant disregard for human rights and the plight of the poor, the mass movement has started to echo the call for the ouster of the Duterte administration.
We have learned our lesson from both Edsa I and Edsa II — that it’s not enough to change the faces in the government. What we need is a social change that will lay the foundation for a just and lasting peace, thus making an Edsa revolt obsolete as the conditions for its emergence will cease to exist.
Furthermore, “people power” proved that “the people united will never be defeated” even in the face of a vastly superior state security force.
Finally, we should always watch out for the vultures.
DANIEL ALOC, Molino, Bacoor, Cavite, firstname.lastname@example.org
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