MANILA—”EDSA lives on and its spirit should continue to inspire heroism in all of us for the greater glory of God and country.”
This was the message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who was represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, on Friday, the last day of the four-day celebration of the EDSA People Power Anniversary.
The simple rite was held inside the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo, where the historical event began.
“My administration has always believed in the power of the people to chart their own destiny, and establish a government that will put the people’s interests, especially the welfare of the poor and underprivileged sectors, as its topmost priority,” Medialdea said.
The EDSA People Power Commission, chaired by Executive Secretary Medialdea, chose the theme, “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building,” for this year’s celebration.
“More than a mere commemoration, now is the perfect time for all of us to reflect and objectively assess what we have lost and what we have gained as a nation since that historic event,” Medialdea added.
The celebration was highlighted by an awarding ceremony by the Spirit of EDSA Foundation Inc. (SOEF). The SOEF awardees represent various groups—the military, the religious, and the citizens at large— that played a crucial role at EDSA in 1986.
“Indeed, the spirit of EDSA does not belong to one sector or one group of people, but to all the Filipinos who believe in freedom and a democratic way of life,” Medialdea underscored.
This year’s SOEF awardees were the Army represented by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Navy represented by Rear Admiral Bayani Gaerlan and the Air Force represented by Gen. Antonio Sotelo. Rear Admiral Bayani Gaerlan came in place of Lt. Col. Balbas while Gen. Antonio Sotelo came in place of Gen. Hotchkiss. The other awardees were the religious represented by Sister Sarah Manapol, Aleem Said Akmar Bashir, and Bishop Jonel Milan; and the Filipino people represented by Bobby Aquino (son of Butz Aquino), Ching Montinola, and Uriel Borja.
On the other hand, this year’s SOEF Good Citizenship Movement awardees were Valiente Namion, a wheelchair attendant at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport who found and returned PHP100,000 to its owner, and Sabrina Artadi, a former beauty queen who devoted much of her life feeding street children.
“Our sectoral awardees today epitomize the transformative power of EDSA in creating a new breed of Filipinos dedicated to building a better and brighter future for our country,” Medialdea said, referring to Namion and Artadi.
Presenting the SOEF awards were former President Fidel Ramos, Executive Secretary Salvador Medieldea, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship and Vice Chairperson of EDSA People Power Commission Joey Concepcion III, and SOEF Founder Christopher Carrion.
“True heroes, after all, are found in every one of us who do, with each passing day, our quiet work of nation-building—dutifully, joyfully, passionately—in spite of our occasional differences,” the Executive Secretary concluded.