THIRTY-ONE years after the peaceful EDSA People Power revolt, Filipinos continue to thirst for change, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd said on Saturday.
Pimentel stressed that the revolt happened because people desired change. But today, the senator said people can achieve change without sacrificing their freedom and their lives.
“This time, we achieved change through peaceful elections. Before, it was not as easy. We should never forget those who made it possible by paying for freedom and democracy with their lives,” he said.
The senator conceded that not all the problems of the country were solved by the EDSA revolt. He noted, however, that it prompted people to hold the government accountable for its failures.
He also said that before the revolt, criticizing the government was almost impossible without risking one’s life.
Although the struggle for truth, transparency and respect for human rights continues, Pimentel said people now have a voice and the freedom to demand changes in government.
“I will always be a partner for change. I will never abandon the dream of making life better for every Filipino,” the Senate chief added.
Senator Leila de Lima, who was detained on Friday on drug charges, called on the people to keep the spirit of the EDSA revolt alive amid perceived looming threats of another dictatorship and the continuing disregard for human rights.
She lamented that some sectors are trying to dilute the achievements of the EDSA revolt while trying to suppress democracy.
“We have a President who threatens to bring back Martial Law, and openly encourage the killing of thousands of individuals. The horrific reality is that there were more people killed during the past seven months of the Duterte administration than the 14 years of Martial Law under the Marcos regime,” said the senator, who is being held at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police.
“Let us remember: no People Power, no democracy, no real freedom if people will remain silent in the face of rampant irregularities in the government, violence and abuse of power.”
For Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, the peaceful uprising in EDSA that toppled the government of former President Ferdinand Marcos showed that people power is possible.
“We can do so much because of people power,” Robredo said on Saturday during an open forum at the Breakfast Kuwentuhan of Kaya Natin and the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation, Inc. Network.
“So what I can say is live the spirit of EDSA. Let us not be resigned to the evil that is happening. Let us acknowledge that real power lies in the hearts and minds of the ordinary Filipinos and we should harness it,” she said.
“If we were able to do it during the Marcos dictatorship, there is no reason why we can’t do it now,” Robredo added.