EDSA is the term we use to signify the People’s Power Revolution that brought down the Marcos dictatorial regime in 22-25 February 1986. EDSA, or Efipanio Delos Santos Avenue, was the place where millions of people gathered together that led to the dismantling of the violent and murderous Marcos Martial Rule. This week, the government of the Philippines is officially celebrating the EDSA, but Duterte is not scheduled to attend any EDSA Revolution commemorative activity. Each year, I go on a retreat to personally celebrate and remember my fallen colleagues as part of my personal healing. Here is my journal this year.
I was there. I still remember the smell of tear gas. I still remember having wet face-towel in my pocket — to cover my mouth and nose to survive against the poisonous, nauseating stench of tear gas (which to me is the stench of Martial Law). I still hear my colleagues teasing me: “Na-jingle ka ba sa pants mo? (Did you just pee in your pants?)”
I still remember the taste of sandwiches freely distributed by the residents of Cubao.
I still dream about, and hear, the helicopters descending, and still waking up shaken by the fear that those chopper pilots might fire at us; and also immediately feel the relief, when I’m completely awake, remembering the military chopper pilots landing, giving the “L” hand sign for “Laban (Fight).” They were with us!
I still feel the touch of a young seminarian, holding my hands — perhaps my fear was so obvious from his perspective.
I still feel the pain of my feet as we walked and ran through EDSA from Cubao to Ortigas to help support the human barricade against the coming tanks. I still feel sorry for the middle aged man whose toes I stepped on; and still hear him saying, “Walang hiya naman. Kung hindi lang sa sitwasyon natin ngayon, sinapak na kita. (Shame on you. If not for our mutual situation right now, I would have punched your face.)” After I apologized, he continued, “Sige na. Bilisan mo! (Go on. Faster!)”
I still feel the callous hand of a soldier, shaking my hands in gratitude for the sandwich and some flowers which I simply passed on to him, from the nuns and other courageous women with us, in our line in front of the tanks.
(Here are some popular photos from those days that became part of the online memory of this People Power Revolution. Credit to the owners.)
To me, remembering is the psychosocial re-experiencing of liberation from those traumatic years of Marcos’ dark years of Martial Law.
The words of my good friend, Gat Augusto Gus Miclat, resonate deeply in my being:
“Remembering is a very healthy act. It is good for the mind, a balm to the heart and fodder for one’s soul. It is also oftentimes necessary in sustaining one’s balance. For not only does remembering put us in touch with our memories and the lessons that we gain from them, it also provides us a framework for moving on and a perspective to focus on to.”
Never tell me that Marcos rule was “golden”—you might experience my “fright-fight” mode before my “flight” mode.
I will #NeverForget. I will make sure that other young people who love our country are never harmed by another dictatorial Marcos rule. #NeverAgain.