In the rubbish bin of history.
By now it is pretty obvious that there is still a considerable group of Filipinos – many of them supposedly who are “educated” – who refuse to let go of the EDSA I narrative.
To put it quite plainly, EDSA People Power happened simply because the leader at that time could no longer hold on to his power. Coincidentally, a colleague of mine succinctly described it as a power grab.
The aftermath of that event was that certain mentalities were, shall we say, reinforced within Filipinos:
1) That there is always a fight or struggle, Laban, to be won;
2) That a certain group of personalities are solely to blame for the Philippines’ lack of development;
3) That Filipinos will be better off under a “democracy” than a “dictatorship”;
4) That Filipinos are perpetual victims of their government, and;
5) Once Filipinos forget EDSA, they will plunge back into dark times,
Needless to say, the results of how Filipinos have trod along thirty years hence speak for themselves.
The Philippines is still a backward country. It is a society made up of ethnic groups who do little than tolerate each other. Rule of law takes a back seat to the whims of whoever is the dominant power of the times. There is no consistency when power is transitioned between appointed/elected leaders. The same old slogans keep being repeated.
Filipinos’ leaders have treated the country as their own personal fiefdom. People are still reluctant to hold to account the Aquinos and other EDSA I actors for the bang-up job they did afterwards.
There is no longer a fight or struggle to be fought, but there is a need to build. If we were to use a theme from People Power, Magkaisa (let’s unite), we would find that, for the longest time, very rarely do Filipinos talk about “magkaisa sa pagtayo” (unite in building). Instead, the discussion revolves more on “magkaisa sa laban” (unite in fighting).
Unfortunately, uniting in building requires that Filipinos aim toward something bigger than themselves and their own self-interests. It is not something they are known for; everyone wants to be “me-first”. Uniting in fighting is easier to do, because all it takes is a common enemy; the people fighting don’t necessarily have to be on good terms with each other.
Times have indeed changed. Apparently, giving Filipinos the “freedom” to do what they want did not imbibe them with discipline and consideration for their fellow countrymen. The people who were to be blamed for the Philippines’ lack of development before and ever since EDSA are being given a second look, in no small part due to the deficiencies of those were at the helm after 1986. Because the Aquinos were made out to be the symbols to be revered after EDSA I, their failures in managing the Philippines became the failures of the results of EDSA I.
What happens when you rely on a past – one that’s no longer applicable – to define your future? You get left behind.
Under current president Rodrigo Duterte, a new course for the Philippines’ future is being charted – one where EDSA I is rendered increasingly irrelevant. It may not be a smooth course. It will definitely not be a comfortable one. But it is one which is no longer shackled to a debunked myth from the past.
Under president Duterte, history has a chance to repeat itself. The only question is whether Filipinos will allow it.
EDSA is dead. It’s high time Filipinos say that with finality.
- Things of the past - November 30, 2018
- The difference between Duterte’s words and the Opposition’s - October 31, 2018
- Why are Filipinos reluctant to call wrongdoing out? - September 30, 2018
- Going around in circles - August 31, 2018
- Resurgence, relevance, and regard for the future, all in the SONA - July 31, 2018