28 years ago today, 1 million people, in an act of nonviolent resistance, matched down EDSA, the primary orbital Road in Metro Manila to protest and overthrow the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ending his 23 year reign. In what was hailed as the finest moment in modern Philippine history, the people dropped their individualism in favor of common interest and the greater good; and showed the world just how democracy is run.
The Philippines today is far removed from the spirit the people showed that day. A drive along EDSA today would convince you that the Philippines has gone back to its old self; despite being one of the metropolis’ most critical roads, it is bumpy and not well maintained; and there is little respect for the lane markings, forcing most to cut in and weave through traffic aggressively to survive. A metro line runs through the avenue’s length; some sign of progress, yet hardly enough to keep up with the chaos.
Yet perhaps the thought of what the Philippines can be must cross every Filipino’s mind when they pass by the monument commemorating the People Power revolution. Every figure in the monument is moving in harmony; every one reaches upward and outward, a sign of resilience, perseverance, hope and triumph. Surrounded by the national flag, reflective of people’s faith, it inspires and embodies the endurance of human spirit. But does the Filipino see this meaning on an everyday commute? Is the traffic symbolic of how Filipinos drown themselves in each other’s treachery? Or will they rise up and lead the way to transcend small mindedness and bring their society to greatness? Maybe the next great Filipino will be motivated when they see this monument. Just maybe.