Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fragments

Vince CV Estrellado

Waiting for a landslide

I was in elementary when EDSA I happened. Back then, I never knew the significance of said event. All I remember is that there was a group that brandished the color yellow while another party used red as their campaign symbol. Right after the so-called "People Po-wer Revolution," I even joined a poster making contest at school. I drew tanks lined-up on a street with throngs of people blocking its way. Of course, the scene was taken from footages I only saw on TV, something that by now, we are all familiar with.
By the time EDSA II ha-ppened, I was already working for this paper. We had a small rally at the city plaza. Together with Fr. Jerry Bitoon and other church leaders from the Aglipay Church and the Protestants, a stage was set-up that simulta-neously held a program as that of those in Manila and the rest of the country. To say the least, I believed that Erap and his cronies did not deserve to stay at Malacañang. I was eager to be among the thousands who had the conviction that a change must be implemented in order for the country to move on.
However, my chance to actually be at Edsa slipped through my fingers. I waited for another day before I packed my things to go to Manila. By then, it was over. GMA was sworn in as president and Erap vacated his position. Up to now, I still have that feeling of being left-out by history; of that single chance where I could actually tell my grandchildren that I was at Edsa. As in any other form of imme-diate change, it did not take a life-long struggle for our country to take another course. The only consolation I have now is that I was too young when Edsa I ha-ppened and Edsa II did not turn out the way we expected it to be.
The resilience of Filipinos had always been, to say the least, above normal. We roll with the punches; we take whatever it is that life has to offer. Which reminds me of what Charles Darwin had said, "It is not the strongest species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." We have this tendency to endure pain and to evolve on whatever stimuli are available. 300 years under Spain have subjugated us as a people; add the fact that Western influence had robbed us of our identity. Still, we move on – guised as a nation and the first democratic nation ever set-up in Asia.
But the same fatalistic outlook in life also has its limits. We could only take-in so much. But what is that limit and when do we know that the Filipinos have had enough? That is why it is hard to predict the real sentiment of the people. Sen. Franklin Drilon and the Hyatt 10 made the same mistake a few months ago. They thought that the time was ripe and GMA could no longer stay in power. Even the timing of the Oakwood mutiny was offbeat. For one, there is no viable replacement for GMA. Secondly, we have de-veloped the so-called "people power fatigue."
But this is not to say that another Edsa is no longer fea-sible. Way back in martial law, even activists believed that uniting the nation is a gargan-tuan task. The power of Marcos was so immense that it took years of dictatorial tendency before Aquino was sworn in. People from all walks of life poured on the streets to support Enrile and Ramos. They say that it was Cardinal Sin’s announcement at Radio Veritas that sparked the support of the masses. Others, however, believed na tama na, sobra na. Marcos simply had to go.
Fact is, the annals of histo-ry is a landslide waiting to ha-ppen; drenched in the rain of dis-content, fueled by illegal loggers symbolizing graft and corrup-tion. No safety nets in the form of Executive Orders and other memorandum could stop it if it is the will of the people. History had taught us over-and-over again that there is indeed a cycle of things – of history repeating itself lest we learn from our own mistakes. It is saddening to note that while we have changed the head of government, the spirit of Edsa was not inculcated.
Was Edsa a failure? No, it was not but its leaders were – and it still is. I may have not joined the Edsa I and Edsa II but I know for a fact that it changed a nation. The recollection of Edsa that I have is that of a nation uni-ted in its cause. The landslide I’m talking about is the discon-tent of the people. If things would not change for the better, expect it to pour down on the heads of the same people who have not learned from the lessons of history.

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