In commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, the interns of the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) organized a week-long series of activities last February 22-27, 2021.
Throughout the week, stories of individuals who were inspired to protect and promote democracy by the EDSA Revolution were shared through the Faces of Democracy project. Ateneo Law School (ALS) Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria shared how the dictatorship inspired him to be involved with student formation in ALS to build a community of lawyers who would be able to reconstruct Philippine society in the wake of the Marcos regime. Meanwhile, former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman shared her experiences as a student activist and community organizer where she ensured that the voices of those on the fringes of society are heard and represented. Accordingly, both Dean Candelaria and Sec. Soliman pursued their respective careers inspired by the EDSA Revolution’s calls for democracy and the rule of law.
Meanwhile, younger individuals who did not experience the EDSA Revolution but were inspired by its call to protect and promote democracy were featured as Faces of Democracy. Real Mayor Diana Abigail D. Aquino shared how the stories of EDSA inspired her to prioritize people’s consultation and participation in her approach to governance, while voter’s education advocate Atty. Frances Angela Estipona called on the youth to collaborate with other groups and sectors to embody the spirit of EDSA.
EDSA Ngayon: People Power Podcast
The EDSA Ngayon: People Power Podcast served as the highlight of the commemoration week. The podcast featured AHRC alumni and resident interns who discussed their reflections on the EDSA Revolution, what it meant to them, and its impact on their advocacies.
Hirayang Kabataan Executive Director Atty. Carlo Africa shared that while EDSA was successful in removing a dictatorship, multiple dictators came to prominence in different parts of the country. He called on the public to participate in our democratic processes and advocate for good governance. Meanwhile, Ateneo Legal Service Center volunteer Atty. Joan Dela Cruz shared lessons from the late Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, her former boss in the Department of Interior and Local Government. Borrowing words from Sec. Robredo, Atty. Dela Cruz mentioned that the spirit of EDSA is in the belief that at the end of all our battles, what is true and what is right would always prevail. Thus, she called on the public to continuously hope in the Filipino people to inspire change.
Lastly, AHRC Executive Director Atty. Ray Paolo Santiago stressed the importance of looking inward when advocating for EDSA’s call for democracy and the rule of law. He called on listeners to do small acts of love and respect for the country by obeying its laws and not succumbing to the palakasan system. He acknowledged that while the changes ushered in by EDSA were not perfect, the Philippines is in a better place than where it was 35 years ago. Atty. Santiago also urged listeners to take an active part in our democracy not just by voting but by being aware of the track record and promises of the candidates and ensuring that they are held accountable when elected in office.
These projects were done by the AHRC interns not only to remember the historic EDSA Revolution but also to reflect on how it continues to greatly impact our advocacies today. Indeed, the democracy brought by the EDSA revolution is far from perfect. With this, the younger generations are urged to continue the spirit of EDSA by participating in our democracy and advocating for good governance.