By JORGE MADLOS “Ka Oris”
In the advent of toppling down the Marcos dictatorship, the Filipino people were the real heroes of the EDSA* uprising. After 14 years of suffering from and defying fascist rule, multitudes gravitated towards the streets on that fateful day of 25 February, lashing out in anger and dissent against a brutal regime. History clearly shows, by the people’s sheer will and unity, how an incorrigible dictator could be ousted from power.
The credit truly belongs to the people, but the ruling elite, led by Corazon Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel Ramos, and US imperialist power manipulated to regain what they lost in Marcos and deceptively claimed the victory the people had fought hard for.
The EDSA uprising of 1986 did showcase the Filipino people’s strength — strong enough to oust a much-hated dictator, but not strong enough to rid the Philippine society of its semi-feudal, semi-colonial character. Marcos was gone, but the regimes that followed, beginning with Corazon Aquino’s, simply continued with the fascist policies and military operation plans hatched and implemented under the Dictatorship.
Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos were both hailed as “heroes” of EDSA , but ironically, the policies of total war and the bloody Oplan Lambat Bitag 1-4 were implemented under their regimes. Joseph Estrada, claiming to be a “man for the masses,” unleashed a terrible war against the Moro people. And, benefitting from the second EDSA uprising that ousted Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led a 10-year bloodbath with Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2, killing in its tracks hundreds, including those felled by extra-judicial killings.
The years that followed Marcos’s fall, in a masterstroke of paradox, were more Marcos than ever because, in them, resurrected his very fascism, made far worse.
Presently, under Benigno Aquino III, the essence of the EDSA uprising has been reduced to nothing more than a mere ceremony. The scion of the so-called “mother of democracy” is no more interested in reliving the true spirit of EDSA than he is in ever attaining just and lasting peace for the country. While he spews out concepts of “peace and development” in pure rhetoric, his Oplan Bayanihan continues to rage in the countryside, killing hundreds and displacing thousands in its wake. The spate of extra-judicial killings has in fact heightened over the past three years, and goes on unabated with impunity.
Notwithstanding his “pro-environment” shtick, Aquino has unmasked himself recently as toady to imperialist industries by green-lighting the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the mining giant Xtsrata-SMI despite strong and unequivocal opposition and protest from the people of Socsksargen and the rest of Mindanao.
His regime, at the same time, has not lifted a finger to take steps against imperialist agri-business plantations, such as Dole and Del Monte, which have already been established to cause greater damage upon the arrival of typhoons, like Sendong and the much recent Pablo. (Only recently, it took the New People’s Army to deliver a strong blow against these destructive plantations by conducting a successful simultaneous raid against its armed guards and disabling their equipment.) Given these, Aquino obviously only lies under his breath in preaching his much-vaunted cliché, “daang matuwid” (righteous path).
But, however frustrating the “spirit of EDSA” turned out to be, the Filipino people are not left without a weapon of hope. The People’s Democratic Revolution (PDR) surges forward, seeking to put an end to the continuing exploitation and oppression ever present in the semi-feudal, semi-colonial Philippine society. Even as US imperialism and the ruling classes reduced the EDSA uprising to obsolescence, the PDR painstakingly strives to lead the people towards the revolutionary path to attain people’s victory far beyond that of EDSA.
* EDSA — Epifanio de los Santos Avenue — is a major thoroughfare in the National Capital Region passing through six cities namely, Caloocan, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay. In February 1986, protest demonstrations involving an estimated two million people converged on a long stretch of the avenue, which ultimately led to the toppling of the Marcos Dictatorship.