Sunday, October 25, 2009
WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN EDSA 1986....AND WE NEVER WILL!
If you are a Filipino born in 1986, you'd be a qualified voter for the coming 2010 presidential elections.
And most probably, you belong to the growing number of disgruntled yet fired up youth of today who are advocating for changes and reforms to the corruption laden political scenario you have grown familiar with. (Chances are you may even have signed up to be a volunteer for one of those election watchdog groups set up by various media organizations....because, you are, probably, one of the many who wouldn't want your electoral mandate stolen again from you like what you witnessed in the 2004 elections.)
You are part of that generation who benefited from a truly democratic institution newly redeemed from the clutches of an evil martial law regime on the year that you were born. However, more than likely, your fleeting knowledge of the 1986 EDSA Revolution which brought back our freedom from an oppressive regime, came only from lessons learned from your teachers in the classrooms; or through what you read about it in books and magazines; or perhaps through documentary films about it which you might have watched on television...even probably, with bits of spiced up stories and accounts of your own parents' participation in that historic event..... But alas, you probably couldn't care less!
Sans, the EDSA Revolution, you must be one of those who is just plain disgusted and want changes! You are fed up with the corruption, poverty, suppression, and lies!
More than likely, your disgust is borne out of the fact that, six years after democracy was restored by the EDSA Revolution, (at the time your own wits are just starting to be honed by the inequities of this world while in kinderschool), what you must have been seeing is a gradual backsliding into the rotten ways of old where graft and corruption is a way of life, and exist in practically every nook and cranny of the bureaucracy!
Your disgust is more than likely borne out of the fact that you yourself has witnessed how 'trapo politics' have again taken a foothold on the reins of government (as you now see both houses of congress being dominated by self-serving politicians of old - resurrected from the dustbin of history where the EDSA Revolution of 1986 had fittingly entombed them...albeit, temporarily).
More than likely, your disgust may be borne out of the fact that you must have witnessed how the succeeding administrations (after Tita Cory's term) breath new life into these 'trapos' - nursing them back into power again, to serve as security blanket for the powers that be - while the mighty midget and her family incessantly plunder the government coffers dry.
You now want to fight back! And fight back you will with the only weapon at your disposal - the mighty ballot! You must have registered to vote by now; or plans to beat the deadline on October 31. You are firmly resolved to make sure your vote counts...and that it is casted for those dreamed of changes! Your choice for the presidency will be solely determined by who among the presidential bets can best bring back the changes you are aspiring for! As to who your choice would be, only you would know!
But let me tell you about my own choice for the presidency in 2010....let me share with you the reasons why I will be voting for Noynoy Aquino. Criticize me if you please, bombard me with comments if you will, but please be a bit patient, read on and listen to what I have to say.
For almost 20 years prior to the EDSA Revolution of 1986, the Philippines was under the rule of the dictator Marcos. He first served as president in 1965 after narrowly defeating the incumbent Diosdado Macapagal by a very slim margin.He ran for re-election in 1969 and won, this time against Sergio Osmena Jr. His term would have ended in 1973 and he was no longer eligible to run for a third term. On the pretext of guarding against rising communist insurgency, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972, only months before his final term in office ended. He kept himself in power until he was forced to flee the country on February 25, 1986 to escape the wrath of street demonstrators who were already pounding the gates of Malacanang.
The pain and suffering of the Filipino masses during Marcos' more than 20 years of oppressive rule is beyond description. Thousands of student activists were jailed, kidnapped, tortured, summarily executed, and even raped. (I was also an activist then. I was hunted down, tortured and imprisoned too!) Noynoy's father, Senator Benigno Aquino was incarcerated for a very long time for being a perrenial arch critic of Marcos, along with other opposition leaders. Ninoy was only released for medical reasons to undergo heart surgery in the US. After recuperating from surgery, he decided to come back to the Philippines despite threats that he will be assassinated once he sets foot on Philippine soil again. And true enough, he was assassinated in the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983. He refused to be cowed into submission by the dictator. He believed 'the Filipinos are worth dying for' and faced death hoping that he will be the catalyst for change. And true enough, Ninoy's death in the tarmac triggered a series of widespread street demonstrations calling for Marcos to step down and forcing him to call for snap elections. Thinking he can again fool the people, Marcos agreed to snap elections and went up against Ninoy,s widow Tita Cory who then took the cudgels of leading the opposition to carry on her husband's crusade. Marcos tried to rig the results of the snap elections but the scheme was exposed by the very same people he commissioned to perpetuate the hoax. The street demonstrations intensified and spread far and wide until Marcos was forced to plead for a safe passage out of Malacanang. Tita Cory became the president after that and defended our democratic institution against successive coup attempts by power hungry factions in the military. She made it clear that she will only be a transition president and aimed to restore our democratic processes.
Tita Cory stepped down after her term. But she was ready to go back to the streets again to defend our democracy as she did in several instances in the past. She knew the quest for genuine democracy does not stop after Marcos' ouster. She knew the rebuilding process will be long and taxing because the cohorts of the dictator are still lurking in the shadows ready to pounce when an opportunity presents itself.
Today, 23 years after martial law, and 3 presidents after Tita Cory, the dynasties are back ( 3 Arroyos in congress), poverty is so widespread and at a record highs, allegations of graft and corruption from the highest to the lowest positions in the government are being reported almost on a regular basis. Journalists and activists are helplessly being gunned down all over the country. Apparently, we are no different now than 23 years ago when Marcos was still in power.The fight for genuine democracy that Ninoy and Tita Cory and other martial law martyrs started more than 23 years ago is not over yet. The spirit of EDSA must live on.
I have chosen to vote for Noynoy Aquino for president in 2010 not because he is the son of Ninoy and Cory and carries the Aquino name, but because he knew that our fight for genuine democracy is not over yet and it must be continued until we have a graft free government...until poverty is truly addressed and eradicated...until politicians run for office not to enrich themselves and protect their vested interests, but to serve the interest of and alleviate the suffering their people instead.
Noynoy may not be as quick-witted and as eloquent as his father; he may not be as much a political savvy as his running mate Mar Roxas; Noynoy may not have the magical charms of her more popular sister Kris....but he definitely has the honesty, and the dedication, and the passion of Tita Cory to pursue reforms without fear or favor. With Mar Roxas on his side, Noynoy can and will continue the fight and finish it,
It is my honest opinion that with computerized elections in place, attempts to rig the forthcoming election results will be made. It will be harder to detect but I have no doubt in my mind that cheating will be done! (See 'Into The Hands Of Thieves'.)
To win in an election scenario like this, the win must be so overwhelming to make any cheating obvious enough for us to catch in the act, and prevent the cheater from winning. As of this writing, three other opposition leaders have signified their intention to run. This is actually a welcome development for the administration bet since they believe the opposition votes will be diluted, and cheating will be easier and harder to detect. (The administration has in fact signified that it will not oppose Estrada's bid for presidency again in court, at least for now .....a vote for Estrada is a vote taken away from Noynoy).
I am voting for Noynoy because among the opposition candidates, he is the only one who can rekindle the spirit of EDSA once again and rally the people to continue the unfinished fight to establish genuine democracy in the country.