Random Reflections on EDSA 2
by Danilo Arao
I must confess. While cause-oriented groups and concerned individuals were already at the EDSA Shrine, I spent the whole morning making revisions to my MA thesis proposal on January 19, 2001!
I was supposed to do it the night before (January 18), but I was unfortunately invited by IBC Channel 13 to appear in its special coverage of the impeachment trial. I also failed to finish it earlier since I had to prepare a yearend economic briefing paper that I presented at the IBON Birdtalk on January 11. The days after saw media interviews left and right regarding the statements I made, particularly Estrada's ouster as a prerequisite to economic recovery.
On my way to De La Salle University (DLSU) where I was enrolled then in a graduate program, I heard on radio then President Joseph Estrada's announcement that he advised his lawyers to allow the opening of the controversial second envelop.
After submitting my paper to my thesis adviser and panelists at DLSU (and getting the assurance that I will be allowed to submit my thesis next semester), I then proceeded to the EDSA Shrine. As my FX ride reached Welcome Rotonda, I heard on radio the resignation of various government officials and there was also a report that PNP Chief Panfilo Lacson's withdrawal of support was forthcoming.
"History is unfolding. Go to EDSA now!" I sent this text message to my Journalism students as the FX reached Cubao. Some replied they were already there, while others stated their dilemma since they were still not yet finished with the paper I required them to submit the next day (January 20).
I told them to temporarily forget about the deadline since their presence at the EDSA Shrine is more important. Upon reaching EDSA – after walking from VV Soliven, negotiating my way through the already mammoth crowd -- I immediately went to the College of Mass Communication (CMC) tent just beside the EDSA south-bound traffic
light. Not surprisingly, I saw most of my students there.
"Times like these bring out the militant in all of us," I jokingly told a student who admitted being apathetic at first.
I spent the whole night with them, telling stories about EDSA 1 in 1986 and how President Estrada plundered the economy based on the researches I did for IBON Foundation where I was then employed as Research Head.
We also traded various Erap jokes, and we all laughed at the pathetic statement of Erap's call for a snap election. And then I also remember all of us cheering after hearing on radio Lacson's call for Estrada to resign.
For me, EDSA 2 was a sight to behold, as the power of the people is not just manifested by the numbers but by the sheer resolve for social change.
Three years later, it is unfortunate that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not have the political will to effect social change. The promises of EDSA were conveniently forgotten and we see the chronic crisis still existing.
If there is one lesson that can be learned as we commemorate EDSA 2, it is the people's commitment to social change and their resolve to act and contend when necessary.
Indeed, revolution remains an option for those who are deprived, especially in a situation where societal structures and institutions fail to look after the welfare of the marginalized.
So where were you during EDSA2? Tell us what you remember in the Talakayan Board