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Monday, October 30, 2006

After Two Decades

Nota Bene: This is a reaction paper on the PETA Presentation entitled "Walang Himala" which was a commemoration of EDSA People Power I.
The regime of Ferdinand Marcos when Martial Law was implemented is considered as the Dark Age in Philippine history. Freedom of speech was suppressed. Violence spread in the whole nation. Political killings and abductions were prevalent. Marcos dictatorship put an end to what is called the mythical belief of Filipinos regarding Bernardo Carpio, whom they believed would save them from slavery and tyranny. Martial law gave birth to a renewed and reborn nation, that is, EDSA People Power I last 1986.
Twenty years have already passed since EDSA I occurred. Its spirit is still in the minds of each and every Filipino. This can be vividly seen in the protests in schools, streets, and government agencies. EDSA I’s spirit does not rest on rallies perse, instead, it relies on what the protesters are fighting for. This gives a clear-cut picture that people have learned to fight and to exercise their rights, which were deprived from them by Marcos authoritarianism.
Through the theatrical play “Walang Himala,” the People Power I is once again commemorated. The said play involved documentary footages of the actual event and different narratives which mirror the lives of Filipinos then. Apparently, it is sympathetic in relation to the reasons why EDSA I transpired. For viewers who were not yet born when it transpired, the play is a very good supplement because it has shown various stories of Filipinos from different walks of life which would complete the picture puzzle of EDSA I in their minds. EDSA I was not just merely a demonstration of social anarchy, a weakening of institutional power, or a wrestling of power from state to street, but its real essence was that, through People Power, hope that leadership would be ethical and would follow the heroic spirit of Rizal once more was rejuvenated. It was said that there was also a big hope that the line separating the poor and the elite would eventually disappear so that the populace and elite would hold hand in hand to solve corruption and social injustice. Furthermore, EDSA I also symbolizes unity. Only in this event, Filipino people from politics, military, religion, private and public sector acted as one to overthrow the Marcos government.
“Walang Himala” also has raised many important points that Filipinos today can easily relate to them. The first one is the story of Edgar who is an OFW in Italy. He worked there for years to earn a living and went back home but his children’s emotional attachment towards him weakened. Then, he flied back there to work again but, unfortunately, he returned back lifeless. There are many cases of OFW’s who experience the same thing. Many corpses come back here from other countries because of the cruelty of their employers. Another one is the story of the rock musicians who want to commemorate EDSA I even though they were not yet existing when it happened. Also, nowadays, there are youth who celebrate it. It is not important if they were present or not. What important is they celebrate the spirit of democracy and nationalism depicted in EDSA I. Moreover, the narrative of Amelia also emphasizes the significance of patriotism. They go back to the Philippines from China because they reasoned out that they are Filipinos and China is not their homeland. In addition to that, the NGO workers try to assess what happened to Filipinos after twenty years. That is still a question that is needed to be raised if there is still a difference between Marcos regime and Arroyo government. Ω

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