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Hundreds mark 38th EDSA People Power anniversary

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Several groups gathered to commemorate the 38th EDSA People Power Anniversary with a wreath-laying ceremony at the People Power Monument yesterday.

The historic monument is just a few meters away from the military camp where thousands once converged to call for the return of democracy in the country.

Family members, friends, and supporters of democracy icons and martial law victims were among those who attended the event organized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Ian Alfonso, supervising researcher of the NHCP’s Research, Publication and Heraldry Division, said the celebration will be held year after year to remind everyone of its significance, regardless of whether it is declared a holiday or not.

“Remembering is not just about wreath-laying and flag-raising. It is about living it every day. What is the spirit of EDSA? What were its fruits? What have we gained from it? Those are probably the things we should always highlight and emphasize,” he said.

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Among those who attended the wreath-laying ceremony was lawyer Chel Diokno, son of the late statesman and Martial Law victim Jose Diokno.

“The theme of this protest is to reject Marcos’s charter change moves, which is a move to remain (in) power… which is basically what happened 38 years ago,” said economist Rosario Guzman, 58, who told Agence France Presse that she had also taken part in the 1986 uprising.

“No to Cha-Cha (charter change),” read a protest banner displayed behind a mock black coffin marked “Freedom and Democracy.”

According to the Philippine National Police, a few hundred people joined Sunday’s march, a far cry from the crowd that paralyzed the capital’s main avenue over four days in February 1986 until the military withdrew its support for the elder Marcos.

At the 38th anniversary march, 21-year-old demonstrator Giu de Sagun said he felt like he was “watching history repeat itself.”

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said among the factors that led to the diminished number of participants is how the “last [Duterte] administration tried to lessen the importance of the EDSA celebrations.”

Francis Aquino Dee, the grandson of the late President Corazon Aquino and the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. lamented the event was not declared a holiday like in previous years.

In a statement, the Office of the President maintained its respect for the commemoration of the event in 1986 but since February 25 falls on a Sunday, “there is a minimal socio-economic impact in declaring such a day as a special non-working holiday since it coincides with the rest day for most workers/laborers.”

A multimedia musical event by the Buhay ang Edsa Campaign Network called, “The EDSA Story – A People’s Victory, A Nation’s Glory” was held at the Club Filipino in San Juan City to commemorate the non-violent uprising.

The late President Corazon Aquino was sworn in in 1986 in a simple ceremony at the establishment. Earlier, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will deploy more than 8,000 police personnel in the National Capital Region and Cebu on the anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

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