It's a Monday, it's 3pm and I am typing this post in the privacy of my own bedroom....you read that right -- I am at home! We are celebrating the 27th anniversary of the People Power Revolution which means no classes for students (and no work for teachers like me!)
Before I go to the recap of the weekend, let me just express my thoughts on the anniversary. I was in 5th grade when the bloodless revolution happened. At that point, I have been aware of the things happening in the country.
Senator Ninoy Aquino, the father of our present president was assassinated when I was in 3rd grade. I remember talking about it over lunch with my best friend, Luisa, trying to come up with our own assumptions on why he was assassinated Young as we were, we were aware of the things around us and politics fascinated us.
The years following the assassination was crucial. I remember the Snap Presidential Elections of 1986. I remember it was February 7, the only election date I remember. We followed it closely, with my dad listening to the radio the whole day and the whole night, listing down the number of votes for Cory Aquino (mother of our present president) and her opponent, the president at that time, Ferdinand Marcos.
To this day, I remember the paper where my dad was listing the numbers down. It was a yellow pad, which he folded in the middle horizontally. I remember watching the news and seeing all these people whose job was to count the election returns walk out from their posts because of what they believed was massive cheating. I remember having no classes for a week because of the revolution. I remember being afraid and praying. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to see Cory Aquino on TV, looking relieved that the Marcoses had fled, the dictatorship has ended and the revolution over. I was young and yet I cried with pride as artists sang, Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo. I remember feeling proud that I was a Filipino, proud of our bloodless revolution, proud that we fought with only our prayers and rosary beads as weapons, that our faith in God had given our people the courage to fight for truth, for freedom and for democracy. I felt proud that we, as a people, stood up against dictatorship for a better life and a better future.
Twenty-seven long years have gone by. I see a country drunk with democracy and freedom. I see a country far from the one I imagined there'd be. I see more beggars and more squatters, high unemployment and underemployment rates and high taxes. Most adults, though college graduates, live a hand-to-mouth existence. The prices of basic commodities continue to go up, while the salaries of the middle and lower classes stay the same. The computation for the amount of money needed in a day is based on a diet of instant noodles and pandesal. What kind of human resource do we expect to have with that kind of diet? What kind of children do we raise? Malnourished children....and yet we say that they are the future.
While ordinary Filipinos rent tiny apartments (most of them, mice infested) for twenty years, or for their whole lifetime, politicians live in posh neighborhoods, go around in their expensive cars, and travel to the States and to Europe whenever they want. Their kids study in expensive schools abroad. How can they do all these when their salaries are supposedly smaller than my husband's?
Politicians would still do anything to get themselves in office. They spend millions on campaign materials and advertisements. Killings that are political in nature are still common. I mean, would you spend millions, just so you can serve your country? Would you spend your millions and not think of earning it all back? Would you kill your opponents just so you could be the one to serve? Nah, I think not. And why on earth do we elect them?!
I have rambled on and on about this, I actually have been so filled up with my passion that I forgot about the recap I told you about. I am just going to do that in a completely different post.
Anyway, my question is, where are we 27 years after the revolution? Is this the better life that we were all dreaming of, that our parents and grandparents were fighting for, those days when they held their ground at EDSA? During the revolution, the Filipinos were united, with one goal. Today, we have our own agendas, our own little goals. To each his own. We work for ourselves. We forget even the the little things that we can do for our country like following traffic rules, throwing our trash in the proper place, etc.
Another question I'd like to ask is that, why is the anniversary not a non-working holiday? The kids don't have classes because they needed to know about what happened 27 years ago. What about the adults? Don't we need to remember? Don't we need to remember how it felt when we were all one? Don't we need to remember the spirit that drove us to EDSA? Don't we need to remember the life, the future, the Philippines that we all dreamed and fought for?
I have honestly begun to lose hope in us as a people but while I was watching the reenactment of some memorable moments at EDSA on TV, a sense of nostalgia came over me. For a moment, I felt proud once again. I remembered everything and this remembrance has lit a flicker of hope, of resolve.
I just hope everyone, like me, remembers.