June 21, 2024

The historic EDSA People Power anniversary is a celebration of how the Filipinos have restored democracy through a collective and peaceful action. It is a significant event in history that gave the Filipinos the freedom to make choices and participate in the promotion of the country’s progress. It propelled the Filipinos to rise above political oppression.
But along with the blessings of freedom enjoyed so much by the people, the commemoration of the EDSA People Power is also a reminder for the present generation of more empowered Filipinos to preserve democracy and work towards attaining lasting peace and justice. This occasion marks a challenge for everyone to safeguard democratic spaces that were borne out of the courageous plight of those who fought hard during the EDSA People Power.
This means promoting moves to sincerely protect the will of the Filipinos and their will alone. It means fighting alongside those who are truly aspiring to realize democracy in its truest sense and not using it for some political agenda then employ violence as an instrument to attain such agenda.
Every year, except during the height of the pandemic, groups of activists belonging to organizations under the National Democratic Front (NDF) stage rallies, portray themselves as champions of democracy, and project the government as repressive.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDF and its allied organizations have consistently been exploiting existing social issues and using those to cloak their endless human rights abuses, alleged terroristic activities, extortions, and other forms of atrocities. They never showed sincerity and continue to ambush our police and military officers, indigenous peoples, and deceive the youth into joining them to take up arms against the government.
This year, groups within these organizations under the NDF called as underground mass organizations were declared by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) as advocates and supporters of the terror activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF. This leads to the question on the sincerity of these organizations often seen on streets rallying against the government on allegations of political repression and demanding for respect of democratic rights.
The ATC declaration and revelations of many former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF expose the true intention of these groups, which for years, have taken advantage of democratic systems and spaces to advance the ultimate objective of the CPP, which is to overthrow the government through violent means. This clearly runs counter to the very essence and heart of the EDSA People Power, which is to effect change through peaceful means.
As citizens of this country, it is our duty to safeguard our democracy especially when it is threatened by groups that have intentions to abuse it. Let us not allow them to further fool us with their claims of exercising freedom of expression when their true agenda is to deprive us of the opportunities of enjoying the blessings of EDSA People Power.
Let us re-focus on the efforts of the government to protect the rights of the constituents and to not politicize the solemn celebration that was meant to be a collective commemoration of true Filipino unity and democracy. (MA. LOUISA FOLIGAN)