With President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañang, official celebration marking the 25th anniversary of EDSA has been given due importance. In the local level, except for platitudes aired by some officials and a Cebu City resolution urging government agencies and civil society groups to keep alive the EDSA spirit, officialdom just was not into retrospective last week.
I can understand why some politicians would rather keep a low profile. With each EDSA celebration, people blame government corruption as the reason why the peaceful revolution failed to deliver its promise of reforms and a better life for Filipinos.
Fortunately, the media and other sectors help make each EDSA celebration a day to rekindle the spirit that moved people to rise up against political tyranny.
The Inquirer, for instance, has made it a tradition to come up with never before told stories about the four-day revolt, like the story about the image of Fatima which then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos prayed to when they defected to the camp of the rebel soldiers. The image, as told by the reporter, was blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 – the golden jubilee of the Marian apparition in Fatima, Portugal – to be distributed to Catholic countries around the world.
The wooden statue stayed in an attic in a parish in New Jersey in the US until 1983. At the prompting of a pious man, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin fetched the Marian image and brought it to Manila. The Inquirer snapshot where Enrile and Ramos hoisted the Fatima image at the height of the Edsa revolt is a powerful remembrance of the Filipino people’s faith and courage.
Other sectors, too, contribute a lot to make EDSA embedded in our memory. For example, the Ayala Foundation sponsored an exhibit featuring the retrospective photographs of Kim Komenich, a photojournalist who, back then, covered the Philippine events for the San Francisco Examiner.
Mr. Komenich had won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography in 1987 for the poignant pictures he took during the Marcos era. To show his appreciation for the business entity that sponsored the event, President Noynoy Aquino graced the opening of the exhibit at the Ayala Museum in Makati.
Mr. Komenich has donated the 25-year-old negatives to the University of California in Berkeley and plans to produce a book, including a docu and iPad app about the People Power Revolt. To my mind, the worthy project illustrates Mr. Komenich’s respect for the Filipino people and affirms that the Philippine model of a bloodless revolt is inimitable.
Here in Cebu, station dyAB took the initiative of organizing a rally at the Fuente Osmeña to mark EDSA. Cebuanos who took part in anti-Marcos demonstrations took turns in reliving the years of living dangerously under martial rule, and the heady days of regaining freedom after Marcos fled in Feb. 25, 1986. The decision to make young broadcasters handle the program is well-thought of because most young people nowadays do not know this important part of our nation’s history.
It’s about time the Department of Education include EDSA in school curricula. The martial law regime, the assassination of Sen. Ninoy Aquino and the EDSA revolt have become part of the country’s DNA and these should be properly taught to our young people.
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“The complete story of our liberation from martial law includes the struggle of hundreds of thousands of Cebuanos who bravely stood up against the Marcos rule. Notable among them is the late Nenita ‘Inday Nita’ Cortes Daluz, who led numerous anti-Marcos rallies in Cebu after Ninoy was assassinated,” goes part of my 2008 EDSA article.
In that item, I reminded then Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña about his promise to name a city street in memory of the broadcaster and freedom fighter, but since nobody in the City Council took his cue, wa gyuy nahitabo. If not a city street, perhaps incumbent Mayor Mike Rama could look into the possibility of placing a marker in the Plaza Independencia to remember Inday Nita.
As a former member of the broadcast community in the many hats that Inday Nita wore as anchor and station manager, this project ought to be pushed by the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). I hope incoming KBP president Atty. Ruphil Banoc will mark this in his to-do list.
About remembrance, the Talmud says, “There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long before they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they had passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.”
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