On August 21, 1983, many of the streets of Manila were festooned with yellow ribbons to welcome back Ninoy Aquino from his exile in the US. History was made that day when he was assassinated while getting off the plane that brought him to Manila. His killing triggered a chain of events that eventually led to the EDSA Revolution of 1986.
When historians write out Philippine History of that period, they will probably be writing of actually two revolutions: the Bagong Lipunan Revolution of Marcos and the EDSA Revolution of Aquino. Both radically changed the course of Philippine History and both are still being played out till now.
By their fruits you shall know them?
Looking at what is currently happening in the country today, I am tempted to say that the Marcos Revolution has been the more successful one. Because of the massive corruption and human rights abuses by the dictatorship, it succeeded in galvanizing the country and uniting a very fractious nation for once in their history. We ousted Marcos through the peaceful EDSA Revolution. We did ourselves proud and showed the world what courage and nobility Filipinos are capable of. EDSA became the template of later People Power revolutions that toppled most of the authoritarian regimes in Europe that included the dismantling of the old USSR.
The Aquino Presidency came into into power on a moral high ground. It tried to govern based on values and principles. There were many who joined government with reforms and renewal in their minds. but alas, it was an uphill battle. The Cory Presidency was beset and buffeted by a never ending series of coup d’etat. It survived its term of six years but it seemed that it was all downhill from there. For there was the internal threat of people not really wanting changes. The people who were led out of slavery wanted to go back to the fleshpots of their place of enslavement.
Like the Israelites wanted to go back to the fleshpots of Egypt, people grumbled and complained. The road built of principles and values was not only difficult and steep to negotiate, it was also long and winding. People were impatient. They wanted shortcuts. It also meant that some of those who were in power were losing their entitlements. They would not take that sitting down. Even as reforms were being attempted, there were many still managing to get away with shenanigans. And soon everyone wanted a share of the loot. In the end, nothing has changed. Things have gotten worse. And being pushed to their logical conclusions, they have become even ridiculous in their irrationality and insanity.
So are we better off today or worse off? There are people I respect for their intelligence and uprightness who say things are better. Let us just help and do what we can to help the country. I am greatly distressed by what I see. I see the utter lack of principles and values in high places and thing going from bad to worse. And so many people just being resigned and trying to make the best out of a terrible situation.
And as always I cling to my faith. I cling to my God who writes straight with crooked lines. I cling to Him who is a contrarian God, who created us out of nothing, who fashioned man out of stardust, who calls us to the cross, and who in the last few days have consistently been sending me the same message:
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
“If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”