February 24, 2011
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today marched along EDSA from Cubao to Ortigas to mark the 25th anniversary of the people power uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. The rally also proceeded to the Department of Transportation and Communication office in Ortigas where the Light Rail Transit Authority was meeting to approve a fare increase for the train system.
“Today we join the Filipino people in commemorating the people power uprising that toppled the US-backed Marcos dictatorship. It is the culmination mass protest actions from the First Quarter Storm of 1970, the protests against Martial Law, and the mass upsurge after the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. in 1983. EDSA 1 represents a historic moment when the Filipino people decided to cast their lot with the call for change and installed a regime that promised the restoration of democracy and the improvement of the people’s condition,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“We commemorate Edsa I not because it represents a heroism that is singularly ascribed to any one person. We commemorate Edsa I because it represents the Filipino people’s dreams and aspirations that have yet to be fulfilled,” he added.
Bayan said that the post-EDSA regimes all failed to deliver on the promise of change. “Twenty five years after EDSA 1, and ten years after EDSA 2, the Filipino people continue to face the problems of poverty, landlessness, unemployment, human rights abuses, corruption and unequal foreign relations. There is no real change, instead there are many failed promises, under the ‘daang matuwid’ of Benigno Aquino III,” Reyes said
“The government should not reduce the meaning of ‘people power’ to the unqualified support for Aquino and his policies. That is not the true meaning of poepe power. The people cannot support policies like the reduction of subsidy for social services, fare increases, human rights abuses, and bogus land reform,” he added.
The group said that it was ironic that while the government is celebrating people power, its agencies are finding ways to burden the people even more.
“The timing of the LRTA board meeting that seeks to approve the LRT fare hike is a clear example of how the current government remains insensitive to the plight of the people,” Reyes said.
“The lessons of EDSA have shown us that changing presidents is not enough if we want to achieve genuine change. EDSA did teach us the value of collective action. The people must now exercise this power in struggling for genuine freedom and democracy,” he added.