Goodbye…Madame President (remembering EDSA)
For the last few days I’ve been meaning to blog about several topics but all those must now take the backseat for a more important topic….”Tita Cory is Dead”.
Saturday didn’t really start out well for me…I woke up late (because I stayed up late the previous night) and was late for my class…actually, I didn’t even make it to my first class and had to make up a story why I was unable to make it on the first class but was present for my second subject. That’s one of the downside of being close to your professors they can actually hound you down the halls of the university and inquire about you. Anyways, as I was getting ready for school (no longer making any effort to hurry since I won’t be able to make it for first class anyway, I turned on the TV to the news as I usually do every morning as I get dressed for work. The news was blaring out the saddest news….Former President Corazon C. Aquino was declared dead at 3:18 am that morning.
I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing at that moment. Though I do not personally know Cory Aquino, I felt an affinity to her having followed and participated in her most recognized accomplishment. I guess people who were a part of that momentous event all share not only an affinity for the former president but a sense of oneness…of belongingness…of being one with Cory in her flight and her endeavors. She was the only president since the fall of the dictatorship who could claim that she had not done any corruption during her stint as president. In all the years she was in office she had governed with honesty, faith and the love for her people and her country.
I was 11 years when the EDSA People Power came into vision; my father was an avid follower of Ninoy Aquino and a very active campaigner within our community for the PDP-LABAN at the time; he took me to EDSA when the People Power broke out; we were witnesses to the goodness that lies within the Filipino people. For those three days the Filipinos presented an image to the world that the world had never seen before and after; the Filipinos set forth a bloodless, peaceful revolt against the dictatoship. For those three days, heaven was on earth. I cannot begin to describe here the emotions of those three days, I could but try and know that I will fail.
Imagine millions of people all grouped in one area of the city, all smiling, greeting each other with the Laban sign, sharing what little food there was and never taking offense even if they were inconvenienced. On that first day when tension was high, when the helicopters flew over us and news of tanks approaching were being communicated through the crowd, you would have expected people to flee but no, they packed together evn tighter to form a human barricade for the tanks. Flowers, food and prayers were what greeted the tanks and the ranks of soldiers when they came. And what heart would not be touched by such a wondrous show of compasion and faith and soon the soldiers were joining the people one by one. On the second day, boxes upon boxes of food, water and other supplies arrived, donated by wealthy supporters of the Cory Aquino as well as ordinary citizens who have pooled their resources together to bring aid to the people at EDSA. By bestfriend’s mother loaded their trunk with water, boxes of sandwiches and canned goods and cases of softdrinks and proceeded to EDSA. On the third day, amidst singing, dancing and prayers the radio announced that Marcos had left the country. There was a joyous uproar from the crowd, coupled with tears of joy.
The next huge things I remember was a year after, when my father again toook me to EDSA for the 1st year celebration of the People Power. It was a wonderful occassion filled with dancing, singing and much revelry. For the next 6 years until Cory Aquino garciously stepped down from the presidency there was much celebration at EDSA…then the novelty died down and to this point it was nothing but another official holiday for most people and especially the younger generations. But I am glad I was priveleged to have been able to participate in that glorious event. I was only in grade school at the time but we were very much aware of what was happening to our country and we were very much acquianted with who Cory Aquino was.
In recognition of her exemplery service to the people, she was the only president who was able to withstand 8 coup attempts in her 6 years as president. That’s about 1 and 1/3 every year of her stay as the highest executive in the land. But even so, no president of the country had ever been more honored and loved more than her. Even in her retirement years she continued to participate in the affairs of the state; giving a helping hand where it was needed and not hesitating to give her disapproval when a leader of the country does something unworthy in her eyes. She had remained an icon of the people’s sentiments and virtue.
Goodbye Mrs. President…you will remain a starwart of virtue to the Filipino nation and a mother to all of us. Thank you for your sacrifices and for the unconditional love you have showered on your people. We give you up now to join your beloved husband and to be in peace with our Maker.