EDSA and its celebrations have severely weakened Philippine nationalism



THERE are several factors that explain our people’s weak sense of nationalism, among them: a foreign-descended ruling class that doesn’t identify with the mostly ethnic Malay masses; the US colonizers’ successful brainwashing of the elite and the middle class that they are America’s little brown brothers, resulting in massive migration to America; and the ideological hegemony of neoliberal dogma that modern man is, and must be, global citizens and no longer citizens of a nation.

However, the toppling of Marcos in 1986, glorified as a People Power Revolution, accentuated these factors, and may even in fact have killed Filipinos’ sense of nationalism.

Nationalism is essentially the belief (and intellectual conclusion) that in this day and age, the most important organization a human is a member of is not the family and clan, not the corporation, not the party, not even the church. Rather it is this modern association we call the nation. Whether we and our descendants (who stay here) live in misery or happiness, depends on how well that organization–the nation–is run.

In turn, how well it is run to a great extent depends on its unity, the strength of its members’ feeling of “togetherness”.

Much of the strength of nationalism in Asian countries that led to their economic prosperity in the post-war era was ironically the result of the Cold War, the real or perceived threat by the Soviets and China to take over countries using the communist party proxies: South Korea against the then USSR- and then China-controlled North; Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia against the threat of a communist takeover in the 1960s; Kuomintang-controlled Taiwan against the communist victors in the mainland. There was a reverse phenomenon though: Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos steeled their nationalism in their heroic fight against the US imperialists.

We didn’t have in the modern era such episodes on the same scale—the Soviet-backed Huk rebellion the 1950s lasted only a few years—when we had to unite or perish.

WHERE’S THE PHILIPPINE FLAG? The EDSA Shrine is a huge religious icon, while the past President’s de facto flag was the yellow ribbon, derived from that American pop song.

Worse, the EDSA uprising worsened our divisions, thereby weakening our people’s nationalism.

Despite the lip service to the power of the people as the force behind EDSA, the brainwashing was really that it was due to the heroism of a few individuals and the anti-Marcos clans: Ninoy and Cory Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, and Juan Ponce Enrile (maybe even Gregorio Honasan who lost his heroic shine though when he went against Cory) as well as the heroic Lopez and Osmeña oligarchs.

Message drummed
The message had been drummed into Filipinos’ minds that without the heroism of these individuals, there wouldn’t have been an EDSA.

Such glorification of these “heroes” obviously isn’t too convincing. So, an additional, even more important, explanation was necessary, easily believed by a superstitious Catholic nation: It was Mama Mary who mobilized Cardinal Sin and the hundreds of nuns carrying Virgin Mary statuettes.

She was responsible for the liberation of the Philippines from dictatorship. Indeed, we are so blessed that while the Mother of God wouldn’t intervene in the killing of seven million Jews in the Holocaust, the genocide of one million Indonesians by Suharto’s forces, the hundreds of millions killed in the wars and famines in Asia and Africa in the modern era, she made sure the EDSA uprising was almost bloodless.

The monument to the EDSA revolt is not that one near Camp Aguinaldo built in 1993 by renowned sculptor the late Eduardo Castrillo, which shows anonymous demonstrators of the uprising, led by Lady Freedom.

It is the ”EDSA Shrine” fronting the Robinson’s mall, with its huge statue of the Virgin Mary, which Cardinal Sin ordered built in 1989.

This of course propagates in modern form the mammoth deception our Spanish colonizers promoted, which made the natives docile, allowing them to rule the country for four centuries.

This is the fiction that our togetherness as a people is because of our membership in a Kingdom of God, with His proxy in this temporal world, the Catholic Church. The lie has even been smuggled into our language: “sambayanan” which is a word for “the whole nation. It originally was the “Samba ng Bayan,” meaning “Worship by the People,” which is what the Spanish friars called the weekly assembly of the natives to hear mass in the town (bayan), which grew around the church, constructed through the natives’ unpaid labor and materials. (The church also functioned as a fortification, impenetrable to raiding Moros or rebelling indios.)

EDSA thus propagates the fiction that our togetherness as a people is not because we have created a nation-state, but because we are members of a Church, and its Goddess was even responsible for toppling the dictator. Any religious fiction requires a Devil since without a Satan it is really difficult for people to believe in a God. In the EDSA case, the Devil is Marcos.

Denial of the nation
The denial of the nation by EDSA and its believers is very well demonstrated by its symbol: the Yellow Ribbon, the idea of Cory’s PR advisers from the US and derived from an American folk song about a convict returning to his hometown.

Under Cory, Ramos, and Noynoy Aquino, the Philippine flag—which is the symbol of our nation—has been relegated as a secondary banner: the nation has been dismissed as unimportant.

EDSA rulers and proponents have rejected the necessity of uniting the nation, and healing the wounds of the past. They even refuse to accept the indisputable fact, proven by Bongbong Marcos’ victory—that is, if he had not been cheated in the 2016 vice-presidential race–that vast swathes of the country, especially the Ilocano-speaking provinces, believe that while he may have had his mistakes, even major ones, with his biggest error his refusal to step down when he became terminally ill, Marcos was in the main a good President.

With the country ruled by three Yellow Presidents — Cory, Ramos, and Aquino III in 18 of the past 30 years, who have all propagated the false EDSA spirit, our country remains divided, and Filipinos’ nationalism on the brink of extinction.

This is in contrast to what happened in many nationalistic nations that toppled strongmen.

Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea for 17 years until his assassination in 1979. Suharto, after ruling Indonesia for 33 years, fell in 1998 in the wake of massive student demonstrations. Lech Walesa during a visit to the Philippines told Corazon Aquino that the movement that overthrew the communists in Poland in 1989 was “inspired” by the People Power uprising she led in 1986. Nicolae Ceaușescu, who ruled Romania with an iron fist for 42 years, fell in 1989 and was even executed, together with his wife.

No EDSA monuments
Do any of these countries have their versions of an EDSA monument and a holiday in which they celebrate the downfall of their strongmen, who are demonized? No.

Even the US doesn’t celebrate the Union’s victory in the Civil War, and Americans do not demonize heroes of the Confederacy such as President Jefferson Davies and its famous generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam refers to its victory over the US-backed regime in the South simply as “National Reunification Day.”

Why don’t these very nationalistic countries have celebrations such as our EDSA?

Because they know that for a country to be strong, it has to be united, and it can only be united if it moves on, and puts aside what divided it in the past. These nations have learned to just let the historians judge their fallen strongmen, and not to demonize them, as the Yellow Cult continues to do so. The leaders of Russia and China today have let historians write books about their ruthless strongmen Stalin and Mao Zedong, rather than demonizing them in state events—because doing so would only be divisive of their nations.

Such a stance is necessary for building the nation since these dictators, precisely because they managed to rule as strongmen for years, represented major sections of the nation.

It is time, and it is necessary for us to develop our nationalism and stop these divisive EDSA celebrations.

E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
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  1. Your bias writing obviously missed out that edsa revolution isn’t about any particular person, bigger than any political name, its for the Filipinos and their future generations. Tired of people like you, writing BS to condition the people. This is trash, the one who wrote i lt is trash too.

    • nabey maurice on

      I believe you have a mistaken notion that the so called Edsa revolution is the will of the majority peopleThey may be louder but I doubt that 2 million people represents a majority.

  2. Tita M. Manabat on

    Well written, good job Mr. TIglao. I agree. EDSA was the handiwork of the CIA. I regret having donned a yellow dress while i was pregnant, shouting and proclaiming THE WIN even if my parents were die hard Marcos followers. My readings and personal experiences had changed the way I looked at the people who initiated the “revolution” – the church, the oligarchs, the military and the Aquino family.

  3. I agree 100%. I was there but i dont celebrate anymore. It was FAKE revolution that created more corrupt politician and DYSFUNCTIONAL and chaotic democracy.


  4. Very factual intelligent article. While most can feel the same things that you’ve said, you have hit the exact words to explain how it is.

  5. edsa, it’s foundation lies on a big lie. how can our own flag be associated with it. it’s characters can’t, hence, yellow. it’s for them, not for us, not for every filipinos….

  6. Banyagang Makabayan on

    So I have suggest before, if FEDERALISM would be a change being mulled for the form of our Government, then it must be with really a sense of our Nationalism and allegiance to our National Symbol.-The country should not be divided into several Federal States by regions. It should only be Three, Luzon and it’s adjacent islands, the whole group of island of the Visayas, and Mindanao with the whole Sulu Archipelago, and possibly Sabah if we will continys to reclaim it back and be part of Mindanao. These our three Philippine territories was duly represented on our Philippine Flag as conceived by our early Nationalistic Minds for the foundation of our Independence.

  7. Excellent article!! This article is an excellent and accurate description of the Philippines as a country. It is a country united but divided. It is a country with its own culture but borrow from others. It a country full of intelligent, highly educated people that choose to leave to work and live in other countries. The Philippines is a nation of politicians who talk a lot, promise a lot but deliver nothing. You need a nation of bold entrepreneurs with an independent spirit. Unfortunately, Filipinos are trained followers. They were trained by their conquerors – the Spaniards and Americans. Now the Chinese are being ushered in by Duterte. God Help Us or can he?

  8. Richard Gunabe on

    Well written sir! Kudos to your impartiality as a writer as you aim to educate the readers which to me is very straightforward and backed by actual history which makes this a veritable source of knowledge. Thank you!.

  9. EDSA revolution at the start was just for those who hated Marcos. Those oligarch and their family who lose their business empires. Oridinary people like us should never celebrate EDSA revolution it did nothing to improve our lives anyway. Those who celebrated it are only those who benefited from it. Cardinal Sin and his church is one great beneficiary. What did the EDSA revolution do for the ordinary Pinoy. Nada.They ousted Marcos and then what happened. All it did was give us Presidents who did nothing but protect their wealth, their haciendas and the wealth of their campaign contributors. All are happy with EDSA revolution but only for those people who wanted back their power. WE SHOULD NEVER CELEBRATE EDSA AT ALL anymore BECAUSE IT JUST DIVIDES THE NATION. It brings back the spotlight to the Aquinos who did nothing anyway.

  10. EDSA?

    Reminds me of a title of a book I read in high school written by Reuben R. Canoy…

    – The Counterfeit Revolution.

    EDSA was a fake.

    The next revolution we shall all hang at electric posts the corrupt senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, the business elites, and yes the oligarchs!

  11. thanks for this article and i hope this will be an eye opener specially to the milllenials who feeded by the schools with false history.

  12. EDSA was a coup instigated by the Americans. All the rest were just actors in an American script. Ramos, Enrile, Cory Aquino were merely American puppets used to oust a dictator who once was propped up by the Americans but was quickly becoming a liability to them. Cardinal Sin used the opportunity to expand the influence of the Catholic Church and hold a nation in ignorance and superstition. To this day, Sin’s alter ego (‘mini-me?), Soc Villegas, makes the outrageous claim that “Edsa is our people’s cry and our God’s loving reply”. Belittling the people’s ability to create their own destiny. Villegas has even declared: “No God, no EDSA. You cannot tell and retell the story of EDSA without God.” God, of course stands for the Catholic Church which represents God to many of our people.

    Clearly, EDSA could not have been successfully carried out without the Americans. They told Marcos to ‘cut cleanly’ and they threatened to bring out American fighter jets to put the fear of God on anyone who had other ideas. And when Cory Aquino was threatened with coups from renegade soldiers, she begged the Americans to drop bombs on Filipino renegade troops.

    That is the real truth behind EDSA. Everything else is mythmaking from the Church, from the Aquino followers and from the elites, who profited the most from EDSA.

    • very very true Analysis. If Marcos ordered the soldiers to attack then their EDSA revolution could have ended differently. Thank Marcos for not making the move. Catholic Friars want us all to know and remember that they have saved the nation via Cardinal Sin. The story is really different more half of the nation watching that night who were observing thank Marcos for not ordering his soldiers because he could have done it if wanted to kill Filipinos. Swerte lang si Cory the US was able to use her as puppet.

  13. We should put our minds on the present situation. EDSA Revolution is in the past. Support our government, Work Hard and Teach our children Values and Love for their country. Only then that we can move forward.

  14. Yes, we should commemorate EDSA. After all Epifanio Delos Santos aka Ka Panyong was one of the greatest Civil Servants in Philippine history, if also a collaborator with American invaders.

    Remove all those fake heroes that have nothing to do with EDSA, Cory Aquino(s), Cojuancos, FVR, Enrile, Honasan, cardinal Sin, the Roman Church and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and all those duped into believing we were fighting a people power revolution, including myself.

    Celebrate EDSA the way it was intended, for the civil servant(s) who it was originally named for.

  15. Excellent article. This should be re-printed in all high school and college textbooks by the Duterte administration.

  16. After reading your column, I read Rene Saguisag’s. His diary made me think back to your soliloquy. Personal presence is the big difference. Rene wins hands down. Where were you when it happened? Your location would say a lot. Scientific certitude seems to be what you rely on. You labeled as “dogmas” in one of your columns Communism’s ideological stands; “dogma” is primarily applicable to religious doctrines that necessarily elude scientific parameters. “Propaganda” would be more like it. Whenever you cannot avoid touching on the religious aspect of an event like EDSA, your tone suggests communistic propaganda: religion is superstition. Not opium? Your location with reference to that milestone could be anywhere; but your frame of mind is definitely a “location” from which you saw what happened and what followed. Nationalism viewed from the commune is way different from that viewed from the “shining city on the hill” which is what all the journeying leads to.

    The Polish people remained steadfast in the hope that glued them as Catholics; the hope dispelled fear. Edsa preceded Solidarity, but the courage was timeless. But all that is beyond the scope of materialism.

    • In other words, only a blindly devoted Catholic can judge EDSA, right? Does this mean that only an atheist can judge the Church?

    • I witnessed EDSA and I no longer believe in the propaganda of the yellows and the reds. Saguisag’s testimonies have been always what you call anecdotal evidence but not statistically accurate. Anyway, the influence of the yellows and the Catholic Church is still predominantly strong so the pro-Aquino and pro-Catholics should not get worried that their version of the EDSA narrative will be forgotten anytime soon. Heck, I don’t think that I will ever see their version eradicated in my lifetime. Either way, the Philippines is a hopeless basket case and I am glad that I am nearing my twilight years. Unfortunately, I will still experience the kind of hell the Philippines has become before I die.

    • Bonifacio Claudio on

      Assured by the Soviet President then that no Soviet miitary intervention would come, the Pope then in turn egged the Pol people to be courageous without fear to come out to the open in their cry for freedom. It is this non-military intervention that did the magic, not religion…

    • I did not expect an adequate answer in the form of another soliloquy. So far none.

      Amnata Pundit and JDR. I see where you are coming from. As ussual, Amnata is off the mark; did not have him in mind while I was commenting. It went over his head. JDR, it would be interesting if you share what you witnessed however anecdotal. After all, stories are all anecdotal for those who are just reading. But the impact of personal presence somehow radiates and makes an impact however slight. Your journey is almost over? You could share how you are facing the sunset.

  17. I participated in EDSA in 1986, until I realized in the 90’s that EDSA was part of the “low intensity conflict doctrine” by the U.S. It was, and is the work of the mighty america all along, to eliminate nationalism in this country.

  18. Mr. Tiglao’s observations on the national scene are gems. He is the most perceptive of all the opinion writers of today among all Philippine newspapers, a pleasure to read.

  19. Hence, the first executive order of The DeeGong should have been to rename our international airport to its former name to tell the world that Manila Is now in business. Then, he should have demonetized all our currency notes bearing the picture of an akino.

  20. TUTO PO ING SINABI YU MALUGUD CONG CABALEN (I totally agree with you my dear Province mate) Your write-up Sir was really very nice and truthful. EDSA is really a Fiction it’s a division among us Filipinos,nothing has been injected into transforming to our unity and of being Nationalism, as Yellow 30 years of under three (3) yellow Presidents. Meragul co anac Ortelano migsicap magobra aldo magaral Bengi, With the guidance and help of God for me I have climbed and reach my mountain peak. I have work in government service for 22 years and in 1984 left thinking to enhance the Quality of Life of My Family. Intuition urges me to work with a US Defense Contractor in KSA, because these Oligarchs and Left Ideology will submerged the good dreams of the Da Apo for the Philippines? WOW ! Nationalism? How can I lived it, like what you said . . . .I have love to but the Fiipino Faithfuls especially the Church Leaders must live what they preached and the State LEADERS must be Strong to Fight Wrong Doings in every corners of the Society. Let’s Pray like the People of Poland Did with Lech Walesa, He did it with out enriching himself, his family, friends, Corporate Oligarchs its all for the Sake of the Poor Workers Like him. God Bless Po, Bibie que po ing Mayap a Oras.

  21. The Marcos Government had co-opted the Philippine National Flag and made it a symbol of the Marshal Law Government. The Philippine Armed Forces gravitated to Marshal Law and supported The Marcos Government and they used the Philippine National Flag to show how legitimate they were.

    The Yellow Dress does not come from a popular American song but yellow is worn when a woman of destiny is under some sort of test or trial as she waits for her beloved to return. And, of course, her beloved could not return because he died on the tarmac at Manila International Airport. So, yellow was a fitting banner.

    Both sides were Filipinos, just as were Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. But at EDSA one side had might and the other right and the support of the People.

    • Any government will use the national flag as its symbol unless a legitimate revolution toppled the existing government so a new flag will be used. And when I say government, I don’t mean administration. The Marcos administration was toppled but not the government since the kind of governance we have right now is essentially the same. Had communism taken over or had we splintered into different independent states then a new flag is warranted. There is no such thing as a martial law government. Marcos just used the flag because of his propaganda about uniting the nation.

    • Clarence your view is out of sync with reality. You call someone who was divorced by her wife as someone ‘beloved’? Ninoy was killed on the tarmac by no less than the Aquinos themselves! After 2 Aquino terms no investigation as to who the real mastermind of his death was made because they already knew it all along – and for the Filipino people to discover the truth would only reveal the great hoax that was EDSA people power.

  22. EDSA was a brainchild of the CIA who recruited Enrile, Ramos, Cardinal Sin and the oligarch waiting in wings. Nationalism didn’t really take root among the masses even after the independence was granted in 1945. Greed was the number one reason why our leaders during pre war asked for independence. Remember these so called leaders were the hacienderos that thought of themselves as the masters of farmers (slaves).

  23. Edsa has turned into a cult in who believes in it. Edsa would want to shape the belief that it also in support of nationalistic pride. Edsa at closer inspection is divisive in its cycle of celebrations. The contents is about the toppling of a sick dictator and falsely proclaiming its for the people. The main celebrities- the oligarch’s family are always on stage. It’s their celebrations and still divisive in message and forms. The true keepers of history will not be fooled.