Textbooks teach youth about Edsa

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WHEN college students locked arms and marched toward the Capitol building in Cebu City yesterday morning, they recalled discussions on the 1986 People Power Revolution in their history class.

Their teachers showed them photos of nuns, armed with rosaries, praying as battle tanks approached them on Edsa on Feb. 25, 1986. There was a photo of civilians kissing and giving food to soldiers who eventually joined the revolution.

It was the closest that students Joseph Pacaldo, 16, and Angelica Jasmin, 18, can get to reliving the People Power march.


They were not born yet during Edsa I, so they volunteered to join “Salubungan,” the reenactment of the march held at the Capitol for the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa Revolution.

President Benigno Aquino III and some members of his Cabinet led the commemoration.


Pacaldo said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to be part of Cebu’s history.

“It was a good decision by the President to commemorate the anniversary here so we can be reminded of the events that shaped our country. It is also a reminder for all of us na hindi lahat ng bagay dapat idaan sa dahas, pwede rin sa mapayapa na paraan (Not all conflicts can be resolved by violence. There are peaceful ways to resolve conflicts),” said Jasmin, a Cebu Normal University student.

The police estimate about 35,000 people came to witness the “Salubungan,” where civilians, led by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, marched from M. Velez St. to the stage in front of the Capitol beside battle tanks carrying an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From the other side of the Capitol on Escario St., actor Dingdong Dantes led police and soldiers to march toward Aquino's group.

Dantes played the role of then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief ofStaff Fidel Ramos, while Senator Aquino played the role of his uncle, former senator Agapito “Butz” Aquino.

Their meeting at the stage was capped by the singing of the "Bayan Ko" and the dropping of yellow confetti.

True meaning

Fr. Carmelo Diola of the civil society group Dilaab Foundation welcomed the celebration of the People Power anniversary here as a fitting recognition of Cebu's role as the center of non-violent opposition against Marcos.

But a reenactment of the events, he said, is not enough to convey to the people the true meaning of the Edsa 1 Revolution.

“Ceremonies like that can only work to a certain extent. Education is the key in relaying the real meaning of Edsa 1. If you do it like that (reenactment), pwede man gud na taphaw ra na (it can be superficial). Did the people understand it?” he asked during an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

Diola participated in the commemoration, which involved students, government personnel and religious workers.

He brought with him a 28-year-old yellow t-shirt marked “People Power, Unarmed Forces of the Philippines,” which was distributed during the revolution.

Diola said that during the People Power Revolution, ordinary people showed their willingness to sacrifice their lives for the country.


“The output was that there was a change in regime. But then the outcome is that a great majority of our people still have not benefitted from the fruits of good governance and democracy. There is still corruption and poverty even after Edsa 1,” Diola lamented.

The challenge, he said, is to keep the People Power alive, as what

Cebuanos have demonstrated during the relief efforts in the wake of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and typhoon Yolanda last year.

Norma Ordonez, 77, a resident of Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, said yesterday’s program gave her a clearer picture of what happened in 1986.

She said she was glad Aquino decided to hold it in Cebu to recognize the importance of Cebuanos.

But this was not the reason she went to the Capitol. She wanted to raise her concern about the Social Security System (SSS) to Aquino.

She wanted to complain against the delayed release of her pension and benefits related to her child’s death. But the presidential guards prevented her from entering the Capitol.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 26, 2014.

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