I was barely into my childhood when the first Edsa (1986) revolution happened and overwhelmed the entire republic and its population, except perhaps for some of the kids like me, who were more preoccupied with our schools and the anticipation of the coming summer months.
Having grown up in a province in Bicol, we were mostly detached from the uproar and excitement that was sweeping the nation’s capital on those historic days.
Our only connection was through transistor radios blasting all over the air, broadcasting word for word accounts of the event.
Besides these, I don’t have much recollection of what really transpired and back then, I didn’t really understand.
And I couldn’t care less, too. (Though I liked the songs that it inspired and immortalized – Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo, Magkaisa and Bayan ko, all of which became immensely popular.)
The second Edsa, otherwise known as Edsa Dos was completely a different story for me.
Almost 15 years since the first people power, I was now in Manila when another similar revolt brought about by the same sentiment and quest for a change initiated by almost the same personalities that were themselves behind the 1986 Edsa.
Though this time, the subject of ouster was a different president. Not a dictator but a former actor.
I said that it was a different story for me because, this time I was personally involved.
Yap, I too, marched from Sampaloc towards Legarda as I joined throngs of people going to one destination – the Malacanang.
It was late in the afternoon of January 20, 2001 when hundreds (perhaps thousands) of protesters gather in front of the gate as we call for the president to step down.
I shout with the others, and I sang with them too. (I even met Gen. Edgardo Aglipay and Teddy Casino while I was standing infront of Jollibe. The former restraining the agitation, while the latter instigating it.)
And the rest was history…
I decided not to dwell anymore on the details of both Edsas. For much have been written, said, discussed and argued about its history and its implications in our existence both as a nation and as Filipinos .
And as far as I could remember, even after the ‘successes’ of those peaceful revolutions, not much have really changed. And if ever there was, most of it were for the worse. We are still being ruled, interchangeably, by the same species.
The quality of leadership we previously loathed and disposed of just keep on coming back, albeit in different colors.
I believe that the intention of those Edsas, and those of the people behind it, were undeniably noble and selfless, but it was somehow lost along the way and among us.
Lost in the fraudulent virtues of those who tried to
mislead the country to false hope and reversed advancement.
Lost in our own complacency and indecisiveness as to what we really want.
Lost in our inherent appetite for comic and entertaining politics rather than quality leadership.
I pray that time will come when we can completely disabuse ourselves of the illusion that for every disagreement, discontent and disappointment with our government, there’s always that 14-km stretch of Edsa to accommodate our cries and protests.
And let us remain steadfast in the hope that the aspirations of those men who walked and marched that paved highway will not remain an illusion.