We need RevGov like a hole in the head
Today is National Heroes Day. We remember all our heroes, from the revolts against Spain, the Philippine American War, the two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and the domestic wars and revolts through the years. Most remain unknown to us, and “known only to God.”
This year the coronavirus pandemic has given us a new set of heroes whose lives were sacrificed in attempts to save that of others, their actions no less courageous than those who fought for freedom on the battlefields of the nation. We remember our frontliners, doctors, nurses, and med-techs who continue the fight against a deadly virus that has now claimed more than 800,000 worldwide. We honor them with our thoughts and prayers.
Today is also the birth anniversary of two of the nation’s most beloved leaders.
As defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay provided leadership for a demoralized armed forces and broke the back of the Hukbalahap revolt in the 1950s. He went on to serve as the third president of the Third Republic, and gave us a sense of optimism about the future, and hope that better times lay ahead for the ordinary citizen.
Last June, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation announced the cancellation of the awards due to the COVID-19 crisis. It was the third such cancellation. In 1970, a financial crisis brought about the first postponement and, in 1990, a deadly earthquake in the Philippines led to the second.
Jaime Cardinal Sin was the 14th of 16 children of a Chinese father and Filipino mother. When Pope Paul VI elevated him to Cardinal in 1976, he became the youngest in the College of Cardinals, and adopted as his motto “Serviam” (I will serve). He is best remembered for calling out the people during the 1986 Edsa revolution to protect rebel soldiers led by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel Ramos from government attacks. On his death at age 76, he was accorded the honor of a state funeral with a period of national mourning.
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Last Aug. 18, Mali President Ibrahim Keita resigned from office as military units under Col. Assimi Goita took over the presidential palace, putting him and his prime minister under arrest. The soldiers calling themselves the “National Committee for the Salvation of the People,” declared that the country was “sinking into chaos, anarchy, and insecurity,” and said they planned to set up a civilian transition government and hold new elections.
At about the same time, a group in the Philippines announced the formation of a movement aimed at setting up a revolutionary government (RevGov) that would bring about changes in the Constitution. There is absolutely no connection between the two events but let me suggest that the most practical approach to setting up a revolutionary government is to first stage a revolution or power grab as in Mali, and then organize the government so as to be able to do as you wish — not just a change to federalism or any other kind of system but also extending one’s stay in power for an indefinite period. The thing about a RevGov is that it has no term limits and takes on a life of its own.
Aside from the leadership of the armed forces and the Philippine National Police, a group of retired military officers serving as Advocates for National Interest has come out against the establishment of any form of revolutionary government that will only add to the suffering of our people. The country faces enough problems as it is, and we need RevGov like we need a hole in the head. The mission remains: Defend and uphold the Constitution.
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Today, two books are being launched, both by Zoom and both dwelling on the 500 years since the discovery of our lands by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. “Five Hundred Years Without Love” is by Alex Lacson, whose book, “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country,” captivated the nation some 15 years ago with simple ideas on how to show and express love of country. This time he comes up with a comprehensive view of the country’s 133 years after Dr. Jose P. Rizal wrote “Noli Me Tangere” in 1887. While the book chronicles the social ills of the nation, the poverty and misery among the great majority of our people, it also offers possible solutions based on the successful experiences of other nations.
Another book, “Twilight Glory: A Tribute To Filipino Heroes And Veterans,” by Melandrew T. Velasco in collaboration with Philippine Veterans Affairs Office chief Gen. Ernesto Carolina and Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil, tells the story of the Filipino struggle for freedom over 500 years from the uprisings during the Spanish regime up to the rebuilding of the nation in the post-Edsa People Power Revolution.