AT least 10,000 people gathered at the People Power monument in White Plains, Quezon City on Saturday to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the peaceful uprising that toppled the Marcos administration.
Government officials and ordinary citizens said the EDSA people power revolt should not be forgotten because it marked the return of democracy.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, one of those who showed up for the program, said the event should be celebrated.
“Thirty one years ago, we got our freedom of speech and democracy. We claimed democracy back, we ousted the dictatorship [of Marcos],” Pangilinan said.
“That is why there is a need for us to celebrate this,” he added.
Former President Benigno Aquino 3rd said the People Power revolution should remind the people that they have the power to “protect the rights of everyone.”
The former chief executive shrugged off allegations that the Liberal Party is behind moves to destabilize the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We actually offered him a helping hand if ever he need assistance. With the so-called destabilization, that’s not true. We’re actually offering help,” he told reporters.
Also at the event were Senators Franklin Drilon, Paolo Aquino 4th and Risa Hontiveros.
Hontiveros said she was not surprised that President Rodrigo Duterte opted to skip the event.
“It’s just sad that the current administration ignored this celebration with the President not being able to attend it,” she said.
Apo Hiking Society member Jim Paredes said Filipinos “should not give up” the freedom that was regained at EDSA.
“We are not giving up. We should not give up the freedom that we have,” Paredes said.
“EDSA [People Power] is an inspiration for everyone. Just like when we go back to Rizal and Bonifacio, these moves are inspirational,” he added.
The veteran singer said unless the people will learn their lessons, “history will repeat itself.”
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said the large crowd that gathered proves that the people’s uprising has not been forgotten.
“I am thankful for those who participated in the event. This shows that even if it was 31 years ago, we still cannot forget what EDSA really is,” she told reporters.
A group of millennials joined the celebration.
Millennials Against Dictators (MAD) member Rachel Contreras, 25, said that EDSA is being commemorated with “nameless” and “faceless” people from all walks of life.
“The people who gathered in here, they do not know each other. This is a sign of democracy that we are enjoying right now because of those who fought for it back then by people who are also from all walks of life,” she said.
“We cannot say that events [right now]are happening the same way just like during Martial Law. But I think there are elements of dictatorship that are now making an appearance,” she added.
“EDSA is about the Filipino people, and as a millennial, I recognize this belief,” she said.
Contreras’ group, MAD, was one of the main organizers of the 31st celebration of the anniversary of the People Power.
Another millennial, Nicolai Parlan, 20, said he joined the event “to stand up for democracy.”
“For me, my age is not a matter since I believe that though I am young, I should participate in these kinds of actions,” Parlan said.