NO one can lay claim to the success of the 1986 EDSA “People Power” revolt as it belongs to the Filipino people, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday.
Duterte made the statement in his message during the 31st anniversary of the peaceful uprising that overthrew the Marcos regime at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, which was read by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“No single party, ideology, religion, or individual could claim credit for the bloodless revolution at EDSA in the same way that no single party, ideology, religion, or individual could claim a monopoly of patriotism,” Duterte said.
The President said he was hopeful the commemoration of the peaceful revolt would inspire heroism among Filipinos. “EDSA lives on and the spirit should continue to inspire heroism in all of us for the greater glory of God and country,” Duterte said.
The celebration was highlighted by an awarding ceremony to honor various sectors that played a crucial role in the EDSA uprising, such as the military, the religious and citizens.
Valiente Namion, a wheelchair attendant in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport who found and turned over P100,000 to its owner, and former beauty queen Sabrina Artadi, who devoted her life to feeding street children, were given awards during the celebration.
Duterte said the awardees showed the “transformative powers” of EDSA to inspire Filipinos to build a better future. “True heroes, after all, are found in everyone of us who do, with each passing day, our quiet work for nation building,” he said.
He said EDSA was not just a cry against years of abuse and corruption but a demonstration of the power that a united citizenry could muster. “It is a movement of, by, and for the Filipino people brought about by their profound love for the country,” Duterte said.
Among those at the Camp Aguinaldo event were EDSA revolution personalities like former president Fidel Ramos, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd.
Also present were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
The People Power revolt ousted President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 after decades of an administration that critics say was marked by numerous human rights abuses and corruption, but that loyalists remember as a golden era of the Philippines.
Duterte, a friend of the Marcoses, ordered the late strongman’s remains buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City last year.
The President chose to be in the Davao region on Friday for the turnover of a drug rehabilitation facility from the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the launch of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.
The Duterte administration has been criticized for its “simple” EDSA anniversary celebration. Malacañang said the government has no intention of “downgrading” the commemoration, explaining that “it’s time to move on from just celebrating the past.”