On February 23, 2019, Church leaders will gather at Razon Activity Center, De LaSalle-Greenhills campus to commemorate the EDSA People Power in 1986. They are urging the Christian faithful to continue the struggle for truth, justice and peace.
Ironically, after 33 years, the bloodless people’s uprising has yet to realize a genuine transformation of a semi-feudal and semi-colonial Philippine society.
There are many reasons behind this state of the nation at present. But many people will agree that the century-old land problem, pre-industrialized, assembly and repacking-oriented economic production and dependency have not been transformed by that EDSA revolution because the regimes after Marcos and the present regime refused to change the social order. The EDSA revolution had only changed the fascist dictator with a “democratic” dictator.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has offered a 12-point programs to change the system but the revolutionary movement is still in the developing stage to gain a nation-wide victory. Some of the NDFP programs, like genuine land reform, rural developments, national industrialization, political and constitutional reforms, were offered in the Peace Talks between the Government (GRP) and NDFP from Corazon Aquino government up to the present regime but the resistance of Oligarchs, Capitalists, Bureaucrats and State Forces dominate over the progressive sectors of the GRP and the Filipino people.
Today, the political and economic crises have worsened. The revolutionary situation in this country cannot be prevented with tyrannical laws and fascist policies and actions by the Duterte regime. Another People Power is ripe but a broad united front has to be strengthened. Like, the People Power in 1986, the Philippine Churches should take a major role to mobilize the people and pour the streets as concrete mass movement. The People Power at present is still the challenge to the Philippine Churches.
The call to continue the struggle for truth, justice and peace is relevant, but still to be understood in the light of the present context of the Philippine society.
This call must be translated into a concrete action after the celebration of the EDSA People Power with a firm commitment to continue the task of consciousness raising, organizing a broadest number of people for genuine change and mobilizing them to complete the EDSA People Power of 1986.
In this regard, the statement of Christians for National Liberation in commemoration of the 1986 People Power Revolution may be a big help and relevant. Church leaders and church people shall consider these points which are lifted from the statement. These are, among others:
- Impart a “national consciousness and collective pursuit for genuine democracy, social justice and freedom” among churches and people.
- Refuse “to be cowed into silence, defend human rights and respond to the needs of the least of their brethren.”
- Set aside “fear and biases…join the broadest united front in putting a stop to a dictatorship.”
- Overcome “church conservatism and counter-revisionist tendencies and petty-bourgeoisie tendencies.”
- The “reactionary character of the Church” must not be taken for granted in urging church people to ‘follow Christ and serve the people.’
- Help “advanced the journey of the peasants and workers for genuine land reform and better labor conditions.”
- Participate in “mass mobilizations” complemented with a firm grasp of a “correct revolutionary principles” and concrete analysis of a fascist character of a regime.
- Bear in mind that “social emancipation” cannot be “achieved through peaceful means just because a ‘democratic space” has been restored.
- A “correct understanding of the nature and characteristics of a semi – colonial, semi-feudal society” must not be disregarded.
- The “leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines” of all revolutionary forces, including the Christians for National Liberation, should be recognized and followed.
The People Power in 1986 was not realized without the martyrdom and heroism of the people, including church people, who took up arms and carried the national democratic revolution that started in the 1960s.
It was a struggle between democracy and dictatorship, between good and evil, between light and darkness and between revolution and reformism. The EDSA people Power was an emotional and physical confrontation only against the evil forces but a hope for the realization of genuine and lasting peace. It can be re-done but it cannot be stopped after toppling a dictator. Dismantling the prevailing social order of a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society must be the ultimate objective.
Until now, the steadfast struggle and unconditional sacrifices challenge church leaders and church people to do their role. Like, Jesus Christ, church leaders, church people and Christians as a whole must carry their cross to eventually win a victory over the darkness and death. The dawn of the resurrection should give light for the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven.