The NDFP- Mindanao joins the nation in celebrating the heroism of Filipinos who, 30 years ago in 1986, trooped to EDSA in an uprising that overthrew a dictator and ended Martial Law. This people’s uprising was the result of almost two decades of sacrifice and struggle against the fascist dictatorship.
The huge popular mass action that stopped Marcos’ tanks and forced him to flee, assured for Corazon Aquino the presidency, and for erstwhile Marcos men Ramos and Enrile, a share in state power. The people then held high expectations of Mrs. Aquino’s government, which for its part promised sweeping reforms, such as ending fascist repression, judicial reforms, agrarian reform, economic recovery and putting a stop to graft and corruption.
By 1987, however, the real character of Mrs. Aquino’s government was unmasked when, in a protest march demanding genuine agrarian reform, 13 peasants died and scores were wounded in the bloody Mendiola massacre, targeting the very forces, the toiling masses and the middle social strata, who catapulted it to power. Mrs. Aquino later went on to unleash her brutal Total War Policy.
The Filipino people became disillusioned as, one by one, Mrs. Aquino’s regime reneged on its promises. CARP failed to resolve pervasive landlessness and only led to the reconcentration of land to big landlords, leaving millions of farmers deprived. Cory promised to make galunggong cheaper, but in fact became so expensive over time that it has become a luxury for the poor. Basically, she continued the Marcos legacy of subservience to imperialist economic policies imposed by the IMF-WB. The 1987 Cory Constitution that supposedly embodies the gains of EDSA was subsequently undermined with compromises made one after the other with foreign and local big business.
Evidently, EDSA I only took the nation as far as passing power onto the other faction of big bourgeois and landlord rulers – from the Marcos family to the big landlord Cojuangco-Aquino clan disguised under the cloak of democracy — while the people who truly took the brunt of overthrowing a fascist dictator were left powerless and impoverished. Even after Corazon Aquino, the regimes that followed – from Ramos to the current reign of Aquino III – only bastardized the legacy of the EDSA uprising.
The fascist repression of Martial rule, which caused the people to take to the streets at EDSA, continued essentially with Aquino’s and Ramos’s Oplan Lambat-Bitag 1, 2 & 3, Estrada’s Oplan Makabayan, Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2, and currently, Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan. Presently, the US-Aquino III regime is launching the most intensified fascist repression in the last phase of the OPB through massive military campaigns in both NPA and Moro areas, especially in Mindanao where it deployed 67 out of 113 AFP battalions nationwide. This has resulted to heightened extra-judicial killings, forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands, and other forms of human rights violations.
Thirty years after, consistent with his predecessors, Aquino III continues to implement anti-people policies: high-level corruption through the DAP and PDAF; reviving the establishment of US bases in the country through EDCA; the complete sell-out of patrimony through EO 79 and other such policies that allow multinational mining to plunder natural resources and ravage the environment; and giant agribusiness that grab arable land from peasants and national minorities; the sabotage of land reform that resulted in the reconcentration of land; building heavy-pollutant and dirty energy coal-fired power plants to resolve the country’s energy problems and allowing coal mining to flourish; and continuing to deny the genuine right to self-determination of the Moro people.
Three decades after EDSA I, evidently, the socio-political climate has turned from bad to worse as these anti-people policies are foisted upon a people who continue to reel from decades of depravity and destitution. Thus, the relevance and lessons of EDSA I ever more ring true, and that is, in order to truly rid ourselves of the tyranny of the ruling elite, as represented by the power-monopolizing families of the Cojuangcos, Aquinos, Marcoses, Roxases, etc., we must wage a revolutionary armed struggle, one that emanates across the archipelago from the vast countryside that surround their seat of power in the cities.
History has adjudged: EDSA is not enough. For the people to effectively wrest state power from the hands of these ruling families, it is imperative to raise the struggle to a national-democratic revolution, an armed upheaval that is led and waged by the workers and the peasantry, in unity with the middle strata of our society, with the aim of establishing a true people’s government free from the control and machinations of the big bourgeois comprador and big landlords and their US imperialist master.
On the 30th year of EDSA I, the Filipino people can only look forward to the advance of the national democratic revolution to once and for all win for us a society that upholds true peace, justice and equality.
(Sgd) Ka Oris
February 25, 2016