People Power, Call for Change

The call for truth can be translated into the desire for change. Some want to have an abrupt change. However, silent majority prefer a change through a peaceful process.

We all want change. Change is not merely necessary to life – it is life, says Alvin Toffler.

But change cannot be done overnight. It is a process – a long process. It seems there are those who just can’t wait. There are many who noisily chant for change yet failed to initiate change within themselves.

Through people power, we ousted a ‘dictatorial government’ in 1986. The People Power Revolution of 1986 toppled down the administration of strongman, the late President Ferdinand Marcos after allegations of widespread cheating during the 1986 presidential elections. Filipinos were praised. An anchorman at CBS said, “We Americans like to think we taught the Filipinos democracy; well, tonight they are teaching the world.” [1]

Since then, we always venture into it not to restore democracy but, momentarily, to replace it.

In January 2001, another People Power revolution toppled the administration of Joseph Estrada after the prosecutors of the impeachment trial walked out after failing on a motion to open an envelope. Estrada had become an embarrassment – a lazy, hard-drinking womanizer who had allowed the economy to collapse and had according to testimony in the Senate, engaged in systematic corruption.

Instead of praise, what we called as People Power II had lot of doubts and criticism. Foreign commentators even described it as a defeat for due process, as mob rule, as a de facto coup. [2] Thanks God, it was legitimized with the Supreme Court ruling that the welfare of the people is the supreme law.

Four months later, another group of people exercise their ‘power’ on streets and attempted to storm Malacañang after the newly deposed President Joseph Estrada was arrested. It did not succeed in ousting the newly installed president – Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

But what happened after?

It seems we never learned from history. We have been playing a risky game that could damage the rule of law. We seemed don’t like to work hard to build institutions and reform the corrupt political system.

When the allegations of anomalous deal for the National Broadband Network (NBN) broke out, many get excited and immediately call for “moral recovery”, “communal action”, and resignation of the president.

Such acts (exaggerated), weaken our institutions and promote distrust to authorities. We have peaceful means though.

I pains me to hear some groups insinuating the Catholic Bishops and the Armed Forces to act radically like what both did in previous “People Power Revolutions”.

Those who join political rallies rant on media calling for every Filipino to take a stand, calling every Filipino to “wake-up”. On contrary, every Filipino has a stand. While few stand to shout on streets, many stand to abide due process.

What is people power? It is not just going out to streets – not just being radical.

What is change? It is something many are afraid of yet always desire it .

Alvin Toffler has an important reminder: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Jerry G. Gervacio|Mandaue City|Contact: Send Mail
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!

3 thoughts on “People Power, Call for Change

  1. how can we have a peaceful means of resolving issues if our officials refuse to submit themselves for questioning.

    how can we depend on institutions if its own pillars crumbles with anomalies.

    how can we strengthen our political system if the very people who have access to it refuses to do so.

    batang buotan
    Thank you.
    In this time, those questions are difficult to answer. We search for answers though.

  2. …to hear some groups insinuating the Catholic Bishops and the Armed Forces to act radically like what both did in previous “People Power Revolutions”.

    The Church and the Armed Forces never acted radically when they opted to shift allegiance from Marcos to the people’s uprising in 1986 and from Estrada to the EDSA 2 protest movement in 2001.

    Being radical means advocating for solutions that go to the roots of social, economic, and political problems.

    If any, the actions of the Church hierarchy and the military generals in the previous EDSA uprisings spoke not of radicalism per se, but opportunism.

    This two institutions would only shift allegiances once they are assured that a regime change is very certain.

    Likewise, going out to the streets may be or may not be radical.

    The two people powers of 1986 and 2001 were not radical in the sense that it did not go beyond a mere change of leadership. The underlying systemic conditions of economic backwardness and poverty, government graft and corruption, militarization and human rights abuses, and foreign domination of the country’s political, socio-economic, and cultural spheres remain unchanged.

    That is part of the reason why the present calls for Arroyo’s ouster has not gain as much momentum as the two previous people power movements.

    batang buotan says:
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It clears some points.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s