MANILA, Philippines — With the forthcoming 32nd anniversary of the EDSA bloodless revolution in 1986 just around the corner, former President Fidel V. Ramos, one of the key players in that historic event, called for the establishment of a People Power Freedom Learning Center (PPFLC) on Sunday to reinforce the spirit of patriotism and nation-building.
The erstwhile head of state who shifted to column writing after his presidency made the call in his weekly column in the Manila Bulletin in its Sunday issue, eleven days before the 32nd anniversary of the four-day EDSA People Power Revolution on February 22.
The four-day bloodless revolt toppled the authoritarian regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for 20 years – 15 years of which under martial law.
Ramos was then the chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and concurrent vice chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), when the EDSA uprising erupted.
He and his men joined the group of Juan Ponce Enrile and Col. Gringo Honasan, who were holed up at Camp Aguinaldo after they announced their breakaway from the Marcos regime on that fateful day of Feb. 22, 1986.
Other leading personalities of the civilian-backed military peaceful revolution were Jaime Cardinal Sin, archbishop of Manila, and then presidential candidate Corazon C. Aquino, wife of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Cardinal Sin called on the people to go to Epifanio de lose Santos Avenue (EDSA) where Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame in Quezon City are located, to protect the breakaway Enrile-Ramos group.
Millions went to EDSA and stayed there preventing troops loyal to Marcos to launch an attack on the unarmed and innocent civilians.
After four days, Marcos and his family fled Malacanang Palace and flew to Hawaii in the United States in exile.
A new era had descended and democracy was restored in the country with former president Corazon Aquino installed as President.
In his Sunday column, Ramos popularly known as “FVR,” called on the EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC) to “initiate activities that expand awareness of the principles and values that the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution stands for; and plan, organize and implement the yearly commemoration of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution every 25th of February under Section 2, Executive Order 47, ‘Institutionalizing the Legacy of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution’ dated Nov. 24, 2017” issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“It’s almost that time again. Within two weeks from now, as of this writing, we shall be commemorating the 32nd EDSA People Power Revolution. To Metro Manila residents of 30 years ago, that was a shining period of Philippine history that resulted in the overthrow of the 15-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos – peacefully and non-violently – to the Filipino people’s relief and the whole world’s wonder,” wrote Ramos.
“To some politicians and journalists, that was a battle of family clans. Marcos vs. yellow army, clash of conflicting political ideologies like freedom vs. authoritarianism, spiritual contest between sinners and the equally sinful, or just an uprising by hyper-energized military adventurists with excess testosterones. From hindsight, the EDSA PPR was all that – and much more – because it preserved democracy and enhanced freedom,” Ramos said.
Last Feb. 5, top officials spearheading the forthcoming anniversary of the EDSA People Power led by National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairman Rene Escalante visited him at his office in Makati to discuss the forthcoming celebration.
During the meeting, they formally invited Ramos to join Duterte to join the celebration of the EDSA People Power anniversary to be held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on February 22.
A photo exhibit of veteran photo-journalist Sonny Camarillo about the EDSA anniversary will also be held at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.
A symposium on good citizenship based on moral values enshrined in the Constitution, tree planting, essay writing and painting contests will be held on February 23.
On Feb. 24 and 25, a mass to be celebrated by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is slated to be held at the EDSA Shrine in Mandaluyong City and at the EDSA Monument in Quezon City, respectively.