Edsa Dos

When I recieved a text message from a friend of mine calling for everyone and anyone to go to the streets of EDSA and join the crowd calling for the removal of then President Joseph Estrada in what would later be known as People Power II, I immediately turned off the TV, changed clothes and despite the pleas of my mother went out of the house, took a bus and got off in Ortigas.

That was me in EDSA II. Then again, that was were I would have been had I not been stuck in Pangasinan when history was made.

I was in second year High School in Pangasinan then, five hours away from Manila (the North Luzon Expressway was yet to be fixed). So, I was one of those who watched the events unfold from the comforts of my home, eating potato chips and exchanging gossip and news with my mom.

Nonetheless, that does not mean that EDSA Dos was just another event for me.

In the days leading to EDSA II, we found ourselves hungry for news of what was happening in Manila. Suddenly, everyone was reading Newspapers or were willing to sacrifice Cartoon Network and Cable TV for TV Patrol and local media networks.

Those who had cellphones (usually N3310 which just came some months before) were spending load to forward picture messages, SMS with others: mostly Erap jokes and the occassional news which the recipient already knew.

"The second envelope will not be opened!"

"Nene Pimentel just resigned!"

"Hindi marunong sumayaw si Oreta!"

"When are they going to shoot Miriam Santiago in Luneta?"

Like the Promdi that I was, I was enjoying EDSA dos, cheering the crowds while watching the live coverage on TV. In school, some teachers stopped holding classes and so we watched TV from the set in our school's faculty room. I was staying up late to catch news, and send messages to my friends who were studying in Manila.

"How is it in there?"

"Are you in EDSA right now? How is it like to shout at a rally? Will you be joining the march to Malacañang?"

It was a rare, and awesome event for me, seeing millions of Filipinos joining together for a single cause that does not involve waiving white hankerchiefs in the air or anything to that effect. (i was yet to become a member of the LFS to know that the people, in varying degrees and level of commitment has been uniting together for change).

True, EDSA IIs was more of a TV spectacle for me. However, it was probably one of those early events that told me to become an activist. Join rallies. Make history. Don't just watch them from the sidelines and be the spectator.

Seven years after the events of People Power II, we are once again faced with a regime that is unpopular, repressive, corrupt, subservient, (i could go on and on with these adjectives). However, instead of the one at the receiving end of the "join the rally" text message, I am the one mass forwarding it.

The liberals in the Philippine media said that if there is anything that Juan has learned after two People Power uprisings, its that ousting Presidents do not bring about the change that everyone has been hoping for.

I agree. What I don't agree with is when they say that this lesson has brought People Power fatigue, and that they have lost all hope for progress.

What the people has learned is that for a country that is f***ed up (read: foreign dominated, pre-industrial and backward agrarian) like ours, changing presidents will never be enough. Especially since the replacement will come from the same ruling class, the same traditional politician: corrupt, subservient to foreign impositions, bankrupt (No more adjectives, you get the point), albeit from a different faction.

The much-used (and abused) slogan of "Change the system" remains true to this day.

How? I reserve that for another post.

By the way, if unlike me, you were one of those who did not spent EDSA dos being a couch potato, wear this badge!
Beterano ako ng EDSA2!
Click here and here

Also, head to Kape Tasyo (Freedom Bar) in Anonas, Quezon City on January 19 at 2:00pm for Bloggers Kapihan 3.0, Remebering EDSA Dos, with, of course, EDSA Dos personalities.

Seer you there!

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