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Youth groups call for true freedom, end to repression during 37th EDSA anniversary

The Kabataan Party-list and other youth groups called for true freedom and the well-being of the Filipino people as they marched to the People Power Monument on Saturday to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

In a statement, the Kabataan Party-list stressed the need to increase workers' wages and lower the prices of commodities, which are the current concerns of the Filipino people.

The group also said they opposed mandatory participation in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and charter change under the Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. administration.

Kabataan alleged that the proposed revisions to the Constitution would allow foreign companies to influence the Philippine economy and education system, and would prolong the term of elected officials.

“Hindi mananahimik ang kabataan habang lumalaganap ang mga ganitong tipo ng pagpapahirap at pagsupil sa mamamayan. Patuloy kaming magmumulat, mag-oorganisa, at magpapakilos upang kamtin ang panlipunang pagbabago at isulong ang bagong pulitika ng pag-asa.

(The youth will not remain silent while these kinds of oppression and repression of the people persists. We will continue to raise awareness, organize, and mobilize to achieve social change and promote a new politics of hope.)

“Sa araw na ito, tumitindig ang Kabataan Partylist para sa tunay na kalayaan at kaginhawaan ng mamamayang Pilipino!” Kabataan said.

(On this day, the Kabataan Partylist stands up for true freedom and the well-being of the Filipino people.)

Historical truth

“Defiant under a Marcos Jr. regime that was catapulted through historical distortion and disinformation, the Filipino youth and many other sectors march today to uphold a historical truth—that rampant human rights violations and extreme poverty urged many sectors to foment a popular uprising in EDSA and other urban centers in the Philippines to oust the dictator Marcos,” said Kej Andres, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) national spokesperson.

Echoing other progressive groups, the SCMP said that human rights violations and economic hardships in the first eight months of the Marcos Jr. administration was “similar to what the Filipino people experienced under Ferdinand Marcos Sr.”

The SCMP also said that thousands had been imprisoned and killed, and that they had recorded no less than 81 human rights violations during the first 100 days of the Marcos Jr. government.

The Movement also pointed to the 8.7% inflation rate in January.

“With a lack of any pronouncements for peace negotiations that aim to solve the root of poverty and injustices in the country, the [President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.] administration lets loose police and military to commit human rights violations and is even trying to infiltrate schools through Mandatory ROTC,” Andres said.

At the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City, Martial Law survivors, activists, and human rights advocates commemorated the People Power Revolution through collaborative mural painting and musical performances.

In a statement, the Martial Law Survivors’ Hub urged the Senate and House of Representatives to review Republic Act 10368, "particularly the implementation of recognition, reparations, and memorialization of human rights violations during the time of Ferdinand Marcos Sr."

“Ang pagsasakatuparan ng mga panawagang ito ay makapagtitiyak na matututunan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang totoong kasaysayan ng Pilipinas-kabilang na ang kadiliman ng Marcos Martial Law at ang mga aral mula sa isang kadilimang umabot ng halos 14 years,” the group said. 

(The realization of these calls will ensure that the Filipino people will learn the true history of the Philippines, including the darkness of Marcos' Martial Law and the lessons from the darkness that lasted almost 14 years.)

“Itong lahat ay upang maitayo natin ang isang mas malakas at mas makataong lipunang Pilipino--isang lipunang kumikilala sa karapatang pantao ng lahat, mayaman at mahirap,” it added. 

(All of this is to build a stronger and more humane Filipino society—a society that recognizes the human rights of all, rich and poor.) 

Admired by the world

Non-government organization Angat Buhay Foundation said the challenge to fulfill the promises of the EDSA People Power Revolution were still alive.

“Hindi maaaring manatiling nakasulat lang sa history books ang diwa ng peaceful at bloodless revolution na hinangaan ng buong mundo. Dapat itong isabuhay at alalahanin ng bawat isa, lalo na ng nakababatang henerasyon,” the Angat Buhay Foundation said.

(The spirit of the peaceful and bloodless revolution, which was admired by the whole world, cannot just remain written in history books. It should be practiced and remembered by everyone, especially the younger generation.)

“Dala ng #AngatBuhay ang pag-asa ng EDSA. Magba-#bayanihan at patuloy tayong tutulong sa ating mga kababayan, ano man ang kulay nila. Kasabay nito ang pag-asang darating ang araw na wala nang Pilipinong maiiwan sa laylayan at sama-sama tayong haharap sa maliwanag na bukas,” it added.

(AngatBuhay carries the hope of EDSA. We will continue to uphold the community spirit and help our countrymen, no matter their political beliefs. Along with this is the hope that the day will come when no Filipino will be left behind and we will face a bright future together.)

Times of tribulation

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. offered a "hand of reconciliation" on the 37th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

"As we look back to a time in our history that divided the Filipino people, I am one with the nation in remembering those times of tribulation and how we came out of them united and stronger as a nation," Marcos said in a statement.

"I once again offer my hand of reconciliation to those with different political persuasions to come together as one in forging a better society — one that will pursue progress and peace and a better life for all Filipinos," he added.

On Saturday, a wreath from the President was seen at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, according to a tweet by Super Radyo dzBB reporter Mark Makalalad. — with Sherylin Untalan/DVM/VBL, GMA Integrated News