MANILA-- MalacaAang on Tuesday assured that the "simple and sober" commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution does not mean that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is giving less significance to the historic event that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
In a press briefing with Palace reporters, senior deputy executive secretary Menardo Gueverra said that some sectors have been asking why the proposed program for the celebration of the 31st anniversary of EDSA is rather sober, simple and no fanfare.
"That's probably in relation to what we have done or what we did last year when the EDSA People Power Revolution celebrated its 30th anniversary and more so, during the time of the last year in office of President Benigno Aquino III," he pointed out.
"It does not indicate that the present administration or the EPPC (EDSA People Power Commission) is giving less significance to the celebration of 31st anniversary. Just like any young lady who is celebrating her 18th birthday, we celebrate it with pomp. But when she celebrates her 19th birthday, that doesn't mean that if there's no celebration similar to her debut, that her birthday is given any less significance," Guevarra said.
The Palace official was representing Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who was tasked by President Duterte as head of the EPPC, the lead agency in preparing for the EDSA celebrations.
In lieu of the pomp and fanfare that has accompanied past People power commemorations, Guevarra pointed out that the government has instead lined up a program that is simple enough but indicative of this year's theme: "A Day of Reflection."
"It's a time to settle down, to quiet a bit, and think of what has happened over the past 30 years. Do we still have that spirit of EDSA within our hearts? Have we done things that are supposed to guide us after that momentous event in our history?" the senior official said.
"So that's why we want to quiet down a bit and do some reflection on this matter. Let's remove the pomp and then think, reflect about what has happened over the past 30 years and then let's move forward from there, from that assessment," he said.
"But again, just to assure you, this simplicity does not mean in any way that we are giving any less significance to the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution," Guevarra said.
His sentiments were shared by EPPC vice chair Jose Concepcion III, who said that the real intention of this year's EDSA celebrations is to see it as a day of reflection.
Being an active participant during the 1986 peaceful uprising and the son of the founder of the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Concepcion said that people during that time experienced the entire change from a dictatorship to the move towards democracy.
"We had our own heroes at that time. Until this very day, we continue to respect these heroes. And moving forward, my vision is to see how we can continue to live on the spirit of EDSA, maybe in different forms. We can't keep living on the past," he said.
"And I think it is also timely that we try to really think on how do we really take EDSA --- the spirit of EDSA celebration moving forward. So the challenge really is: how do we make this generation continue to be inspired of what happened in 1986? In the coming months, we will prepare for next year's celebration on how the youth, especially today, can live on. And we hope to continue to live up and really pass on the true meaning of EDSA to our children," Concepcion said.
In the meantime, the two officials defended EPPC's decision why the celebrations will be held on February 24 inside Camp Aguinaldo instead of being celebrated on the 25th at the People Power Monument.
They said it was to make way for other groups who wanted to express themselves on Saturday.
"What's really important is we allow people to express themselves and that's why one of the reasons why we did it on Friday is because there are reports that a lot of people who want to express themselves on Saturday. So let them do it and I think it's what democracy is all about," Concepcion said.
For his part, Guevarra pointed out that Camp Aguinaldo was where the peaceful uprising actually began.
"Now, as to what the government intends to do with respect to some other groups who want to let's say rally outside Camp Aguinaldo on the 25th precisely before the People Power Monument, the government will simply allow these things to happen. This is exactly the freedom that EDSA, the EDSA Revolution wanted us to have, all right: freedom to express yourselves, freedom to rally, freedom to gather together and express your sentiments," Guevarra said.
"So the government will definitely allow these activities to happen especially on the 25 all right, of course, subject to certain regulations like make sure that there's no traffic and so forth and so on," Guevarra said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency