PGMA leads nation in remembering EDSA 1 and what it stands for
Tacloban City (February 22) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the country in remembering EDSA 1, the 1986 People and Prayer Power Peaceful Revolution, in a kick-off activity, a wreath-laying rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani held at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on February 22, at around 7:30 in the morning.
Speaking at the commemorative program before the wreath-laying rites, President Arroyo urged the Filipinos to look back at the four glorious days of EDSA 1 "not to relieve them, for history must move on, but to recall their lessons and refresh our spirit as a people against the new challenges of today."
President Arroyo extolled the small group of patriots in uniform who made historic EDSA 1 possible saying, "it is an honor to launch this year's celebration of the four days of the EDSA 1 anniversary in the company of that small band of patriots in uniform who chose to draw their line in the sand 23 years ago today, led by then Secretary of National Defense, now Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile."
"If the patriots had not acted when they did — planning boldly, improvising on the way, but always moving forward decisively — then this historical watershed might not even have taken place," the President stressed.
President Arroyo also paid tribute to the Filipino masses, saying that had they not thrown their full support behind the EDSA forces "quickly, the patriots holed up in Camps Aguinaldo and Crame might have been crushed and the whole episode reduced to a footnote in history."
But the people took to the streets in their support, along the stretch of EDSA, from Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo without weapons except hearts burning with love of country and fervent faith in God.
"Together, as one people, we reclaimed democracy," President Arroyo said as she honored the "boldness of the leaders of EDSA, the boldness of our ordinary countrymen, the boldness of our faith in God."
The President reiterated that while the world embraced EDSA 1 in 1986, and tolerated EDSA 2 in 2001, it "will not forgive an EDSA 3 but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable."
President Arroyo explained that "our political stability today is one of the reasons why we have escaped thus far the worst effects of the global recession."
"We must prevent the world crisis from becoming a Philippine crisis, and protect those most hurt by the global downturn," the President said.
The President was joined in by one of the leading figures in the EDSA revolution, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., and Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, together with the members of the Diplomatic Corps and the Armed Forces of the Philippines hierarchy.
This year's theme "Pag-asa ng Bayan: Sakripisyo sa Pagbabago Para Sa Kaunlaran" (Nation's Hope: Sacrifice for Change and Progress), is a reminder that "we can do big deeds provided we can be bigger than our petty biases and better than our worst differences." (PIA 8) [top]