DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Second update 11:08, February 22)— The government is opting for a simpler commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power on Friday, February 24, officials said.
“The intention is we would like to see it as a day of reflection,” newly-appointed Edsa People Power Commission Vice Chairman Joey Concepcion III said in a press conference in Malacañan.
The “very simple affair” budgeted with some P1 million will be held at the grandstand of the AFP in Camp Aguinaldo where Atty. Menardo Guevarra, senior Deputy Executive Secretary who represented EPPC chairman Salvador Medialdea, said it all started. Former President Fidel Ramos was also invited to grace the occasion.
“That’s where actually it all began, in Camp Aguinaldo with President FVR (who) started the ball rolling,” he said in the same press conference.
Guevarra said the simpler celebration would not mean that the administration today is giving less importance to it.
“It does not indicate that the present administration or the EPPC is giving any less significance to the celebration of the 31st anniversary,” Guevarra said.
He said the theme, “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building” intends what the government will do to commemorate the People Power which marked the country’s history as the day that the people united against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
“That’s precisely the reason why there is no pomp in this year’s celebration. It’s a time to settle down, to quiet a bit and think what has happened over the past 30 years,” he said.
But unlike the previous commemorations, the program for this year will not include the traditional “Salubungan” which highlights the linking up of the military and civilians protesting against Marcos.
“There are other activities that are slated. That is not in the detailed program that was prepared,” he said.
Concepcion said the people may remember EDSA People Power in various ways.
“My vision is to see how we can continue to live on the spirit of EDSA, maybe on different forms. We can’t keep clinging on the past. We have transformed these lessons that we have learned so that our own children will continue to remember it,” he said.
“The challenge is how do we keep this generation continue to be inspired by what happened in 1986,” he added.
Guevarra also said the government will respect other actions.
“This is exactly that the EDSA revolution wanted us to have. Freedom to express yourselves, freedom to rally, freedom to gather together and express your happiness. The government will definitely allow these activities to happen,” he said.
But Guevarra said organizers should make sure that the traffic will not be disrupted.
He said the February 25 is included in the list of Special Holidays for this year.
Guevarra said that they also invited former President Benigno Aquino III last Friday, but added that there is still no confirmation whether he will attend the event.
He also added that there is still no confirmation whether President Rodrigo Duterte, who was expected to give a speech will be attending the event on Friday.(davaotoday.com)