MANILA –Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Wednesday said he respects the decision of Malacañang to hold a “simple and sober” commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
Aquino, nephew of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. whose death sparked the revolution, said that even if the rites were simple, it is up to the people to celebrate it in their own way to keep its memory alive.
“Ang celebration ng People Power ay nasa taumbayan. Hindi iyan pagmamay-ari ng isang tao o isang pamilya (The celebration of People Power belongs to the people. It is not owned by one person or one family),” Aquino said in a TV interview.
“Maraming iba’t-ibang mga bagay kung paano maaaring ipagdiwang ng taumbayan ang okasyon (There are many ways for the people to celebrate the occasion),” he added.
Aquino, meanwhile, said that even 31 years after the historic event that toppled the dictatorship of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, the fight against corruption and threat to democracy remains.
“We’re still fighting against corruption. Marami pa ring mga nangyayaring hindi dapat mangyari pagdating sa korapsyon (There are still things happening that should not be happening when it comes to corruption),” Aquino said.
“We’re fighting for democracy. We’re fighting for people to be able to speak up. Before, they were fighting for press freedom,” he added.
The senator said that dissent resulted in better policy and that it should be encouraged.
“We should allow for these democratic spaces, especially this week na inaalala natin ang EDSA (especially this week that we commemorate EDSA),” he further said.
Malacañang earlier assured that the “simple and sober” EDSA rites does not mean that the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is giving less significance to the historic event.
“It does not indicate that the present administration or the EPPC (EDSA People Power Commission) is giving less significance to the celebration of 31st anniversary,” Senior deputy executive secretary Menardo Gueverra said.
Gueverra was representing Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who was tasked by Pres. Duterte as head of the EPPC, the lead agency in preparing for the EDSA celebrations.
In lieu of the pomp and fanfare that has accompanied past commemorations, Guevarra said that the government has instead lined up a program that is simple enough but indicative of this year’s theme: “A Day of Reflection.”
“It’s a time to settle down, to quiet a bit, and think of what has happened over the past 30 years. Do we still have that spirit of EDSA within our hearts? Have we done things that are supposed to guide us after that momentous event in our history?” the senior official said.