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27 Years Hence

EDSA: Then and NowTwenty-seven years ago, the Philippines ousted a dictator and reinstated democracy through peaceful means. Everyone rejoiced after four days of tension, drama, and suspense.

But what happened next weren’t exactly moments to be proud of. After accomplishing the mission, it seemed everybody just went home, and let people with vested interests take control. Again.

Coups, politics, showbiz mentality, crab mentality, more coups, and more politics. The country that should have been a second-world country by now is just starting to be one. We missed investments and chances that we should have taken 20+ years ago. We stopped short of thinking forward; as a result, we have a toxic EDSA traffic, a political arena filled with “dynasties”, and Filipinos under the poverty line for two decades now.

—–

I was born five years after the People Power Revolution. As I grew up, I have read and heard lots of alternative stories and conspiracy theories regarding this momentous event. I have entertained some of them, but there is that constant reminder to have faith in government, because it was the by-product of that Revolution. If those four days in February 1986 didn’t turn out as it had, perhaps you wouldn’t be able to read this — and even log-in here on WordPress in the first place.

However, between mother Cory and son Noynoy, it’s evident that nothing much has progressed in terms of having a firm social structure, a fair social justice system, and a strong societal support.

Malls are growing and condos are sprouting, but an employee’s minimum wage is still not sufficient to provide for himself and his family. The economy has been breaking records lately, but its benefits haven’t trickled down yet to the poor.

Most students of the late 80’s and the early 90’s, who should’ve been the yuppies of their generation and successful Filipinos by now, are stuck with sub-standard jobs, with little to no opportunity for growth. And sadly, this trend is somehow “passed on” to their children, who are struggling to graduate with a meager baon and would later face a cut-throat competition for employment.

My complaint about all this is not so much about the People Power Revolution per se, but more about its legacy and the huge disconnect between its intended purpose and the current situation. In short, to quote a popular meme, the expectation did not meet reality.

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I have always said that freedom is not absolute, that salvation is not in the hands of any mortal being. Allow me to add another: that freedom here in the Philippines is not yet fully achieved until almost all Filipinos have the freedom to pursue their happiness, to fulfill their dreams without harming anybody else.

I am not solidly for anybody in the coming elections, and in future polls. I may have stated who I’ll vote in 2013, but that’s part of my right as a voter: to elect those who I think deserves to be a public official.

Instead, I put my full support behind the Filipinos’ pursuit of happiness (and to the people and processes that will make it happen), because that, in my view, is freedom.

Read also “26 Years Hence“, a blog entry I posted also on this date last year.

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