The AP story below carries the relevant details but doesn’t convey the mood of the country. (I write from Cebu where I have been since July last. My first stay in Manila was in 1984.) The anniversary passed more quietly than one might expect. The memory of Corrie Aquino’s People Power is held in esteem. Still 37 years have passed and in an heavily youngish population, the immediacy has diminished. Commentators did not dwell on the loss of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. To Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. in last year’s election. What controversy there was involved a change in the day of remembrance to accommodate a long weekend.
The evident family drama distracts from the national achievement of the last 37 years – the solidification of a democracy capable of handling peacefully repeated transitions of power. A cynical definition of democracy is when incumbent governments voluntarily resign when they lose an election. The Philippines stands out as an exemplar among ASEAN nations.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Pro-democracy protesters in the Philippines marked the anniversary on Saturday of the 1986 army-backed “people power” revolt with the son of the dictator, who was ousted in that uprising, now leading the country.
About 1,400 demonstrators, some waving Philippine flags and holding placards that read “Never forget,” gathered at a democracy shrine along the main EDSA highway in metropolitan Manila. Left-wing activists, carrying an effigy that depicted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as a pest, protested separately at a nearby pro-democracy monument.
Faced with the awkward situation of issuing a statement to mark the revolt that toppled his namesake father, Marcos Jr. called for reconciliation without citing the event as a democratic milestone, as his predecessors had done.
“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 said in a two-paragraph statement he posted on Facebook.