The church played a big role in defeating the 14-year authoritarian rule under the late Ferdinand Marcos. In fact, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released a statement six days after the snap elections, urging people to organize peacefully to “correct the evil it has [the government] inflicted on the people” and condemning the fraudulence that the Marcoses tried to do to turn the elections in favor of them.
“We are not going to effect the change we seek by doing nothing, by sheer apathy. If we did nothing we would be party to our own destruction as a people. We would be jointly guilty with the perpetrators of the wrong we want righted,” they expressed while emphasizing the importance of “non-violent struggle for justice,” CBCP stated.
February 25, 1986, the day of the EDSA People Power Revolution, the church stood up with the Filipino people who had enough of the tyranny and injustices under the Marcos regime.
Standing up for the truth
CBCP also mentioned the importance of actions to prevail in their post-snap elections statement. In recent years, under the administration of the dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the church continuously stands their ground against historical distortion that the Marcoses are starting to do.
Sister Tess and Sister Amy of Religious of the Good Shepherd, Philippines-Japan emphasized the stand of the church: to show the truth for the sake of the morality of the country. They expressed that the church was also a victim of Martial Law and have witnessed violence and injustices that have happened under the Marcos regime.
It was reported that there were more than 70,000 people detained, 34,000 people tortured and 3,240 people killed or disappeared during the Martial Law.
“I think the church will always stand for the prophetic mission namin para sa katotohanan. ‘Yung nagsasabi ng totoo. At hindi kami natatakot na makilahok para maipakita namin na kami sa simbahan ay nagsasabi kami ng dapat ano ang nararapat. At siyempre sa pagsasabuhay din ng katotohanan,” Sister Tess’ stand on the church’ role in fighting for the truth.
What unity actually means
Marcos Jr. may have won the election with his campaign slogan of unity, but it won’t conceal the fact that it was part of the reason why his father and his family were overthrown back in 1986.
Sister Amy and Sister Tess shared that their reason for joining the 37th commemoration of the EDSA People Power Revolution is to relived and promote the “EDSA Spirit,” where unity and empathy is prevailing.
This was although the country was under the leadership of the dictator’s son. Sister Tess admitted that the unjust system is still happening now, despite successfully overthrowing the Marcoses, back in 1986.
They expressed their dismay on the priority of the current government which is obviously siding the rich while ignoring the real problems of the poor.
“‘Yung mga pulitikong niluklok ngayon, kaya sila ay nagpapatuloy na gumamit ng pamamaraan ng boto ng pandadaya para sila ang nasa posisyon, para sila ang magkontrol ng lahat ng bagay na dapat ay ang kanilang serbisyo at polisiya ay tumutugon sa pangangailangan ng mga taong mahihirap,” Sister Tess said.
On the other hand, they shared the importance of mobilizations to promote fighting against historical distortion and like CBCP’s statement 37 years ago, they encouraged people to organize and fight through non violence. They emphasized that collective strength and courage is enough to fight for justice.
“Hindi kailangan ng armas kundi ang mobilisasyon at ‘yung tapang at lakas ng taong dumalo at nakaramdam ng panahon ng diktador,” Sister Tess expressed.