MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Filipinos to continue fighting for peace as the country celebrated the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Wednesday.
In a speech delivered after the Holy Mass at the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine in Mandaluyong City, President Aquino noted the importance of sympathy, love and trust in dealing with the challenges to achieve peace as he recalled what occurred in 1986.
“May imahen po mula sa EDSA People Power Revolution na tumatak sa pambansang kamalayan: Mga madreng nakaluhod, nangangamba man sa mga baril sa kanilang harapan, ay nananalig pa rin at nagmamalasakit. Sa pag-aabot natin ng rosaryo at bulaklak sa mga armadong sundalo, sa pagkakapit-bisig natin upang pigilan ang pag-abante ng tangke, napatunayan natin: Malasakit ang pinakamakapangyarihang tugon sa galit; walang mas lalakas pang sandata sa pag-ibig,” said President Aquino.
(There is an image from the EDSA People Power Revolution that has been branded into our national consciousness: Nuns on their knees, who despite being worried at the sight of guns, continued to display faith and compassion. Through the rosaries and flowers we handed to armed soldiers, through the human chains we formed to stop the advance of tanks, we were able to prove: Compassion is the most powerful response to anger; there is no greater weapon than love.)
President Aquino also reminded the people on how peaceful change could be achieved, such as what happened after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, as he stressed the importance of the ongoing peace talks in Mindanao to continue despite the Mamasapano incident.
“Talagang masakit po ang nangyari sa Mamasapano. Huwag nating kalimutan na pumunta ang ating mga kapulisan doon, hindi para maghasik ng karahasan, kundi upang ipatupad ang batas. Nagsakripisyo sila para makamit ang kapayapaan, di naman po makatwiran na ang kanilang inalay para sa kapayapaan ay maging mitsa pa ng karahasan,” he said.
(What happened in Mamasapano was truly painful. Let us not forget that our police went there, not to inflict violence, but to fulfill the law. They sacrificed so much so that we could attain peace; it would not be just if what they gave for peace became the spark that ignited further violence.)
“Sa ngalan ng mga Pilipinong nakipaglaban sa EDSA at sa lahat ng mga kababayan nating nagsakripisyo at patuloy na nagsasakrispisyo para sa kapwa at bansa, ituloy natin ang laban tungo sa kapayapaan at kaunlarang matagal na nating inaasam,” the President said in parting.
(In the name of all the Filipinos who fought in EDSA, and of all our countrymen who have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice for their fellowmen and our country, let us continue the fight towards the peace and prosperity to which we have long aspired.)
Meanwhile, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the people to look at each other as brothers, sisters and friends, instead of enemies.
“How do you avoid war? Work towards the eradication of this mentality, this atmosphere that makes people enemies,” Cardinal Tagle said during his homily.
He said that during the first EDSA People Power Revolution, “the Filipino showed the world our deep capacity to see a brother, a sister, a neighbor in anyone.”
“Let us look at each other as brothers and sisters. We are friends. We are all Filipinos and Filipinos have a mission to the whole world,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the EDSA People Power Commission, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, said this year’s celebration of the People Power Revolution was made simple in view of the mourning period for those who died in Mamasapano last month.
For the first time in five years, the holy mass was the focal point of the celebration, he said.
This is to acknowledge that the Filipinos’ faith in God was a major element in the peaceful revolution, Ochoa said, noting that a bigger celebration is planned for the 30th anniversary celebration next year, which will be the last to be held under the Aquino administration.