DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan has no problem if Malacañang opted to have a simple commemoration of the EDSA People Power uprising this year. But it warned the administration of “muting” the lessons of the struggle against the dictatorship.

Bayan said previous administrations have held grand celebrations of the People Power 31 years ago “but missed out on the real lessons and true heroes of EDSA.” Bayan also said previous administrations suppressed “people power”.

“The EDSA celebrations of the past focused on one family, one political color and on the role of  politicians and generals. The past celebrations denied the reality that social ills remained the same, 30 years after the toppling of the dictator,” it said.

It said while the current regime opted for simpler rites starting Wednesday, it “apparently wants to mute the lessons of the struggle against the dictatorship in favor of looking towards the future.”

The militant group also described this year’s venue at the Camp Aguinaldo is the “headquarters of the AFP which is currently waging all-out war against the people.”

“This is particularly dangerous today when there are real efforts to rehabilitate the Marcoses and pave the way for their eventual return to Malacanang,” it added.

Separate issues

EDSA People Power Commission Vice Chairman Joey Concepcion re-echoed the Palace stand on Tuesday that the issue of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Heroes Cemetery last year and the commemoration of the People’s Power this year are separate issues.

Concepcion said it more important to reflect on the legacy of the EDSA People Power and imparting it to the next generation.

“Whether we will be able to formulate the right process to really pass on this legacy that EDSA has created, it must be well thought of. We cannot look at certain incidents that are happening in our country, whether Marcos burial is a true reflection of people have forgotten about what has happened, or whether it’s an act that people don’t care,” he said.

“So let us not look at so many activities out there that are transpiring. Let’s remain focus on what is really the essence of this,” Concepcion added.

“Democracy would have been useless in a sense if we have so many people in this country at the poverty level. Hopefully our leaders will be able to formulate an idea on how this next generation will embrace the true meaning of EDSA,” he added.

Marcos’ role

Concepcion also said Marcos played a role in the Philippine history.

“Every country, even America, went to a civil war. Marcos had a role to play in the Philippines. If there was no Marcos, there will be no Fidel Ramos, there will be no Enrile, so we have to experience sometimes in life, certain struggles,” he said.

He added that it was the realization of the Filipino people to fight for their freedom started the People Power.

Meanwhile, Bayan said their commemoration on Saturday will highlight the “unfulfilled promises of EDSA, and why things have remained fundamentally unchanged.”

“Our protest calls on the people to  resist intensifying fascist repression and state-sponsored all-out war, while pushing for the revival of the peace talks that seek to address the roots of the armed conflict. We will march along EDSA and demand genuine change, including the change supposedly promised by Duterte which he has yet to fulfill,” it said.

It also called on the government not to meet the protesters with too much police blockades similar to previous protest actions.

Malacañang said it welcomes various forms of activities to commemorate the EDSA People Power so long as organizers follow the law and will not disrupt traffic. (davaotoday.com)

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