Veteran broadcast journalist Howie Severino, a “millennial” Ateneo teacher back in 1986, recalls: “The iconic image of EDSA People Power is of nuns stopping tanks. I remember seeing that in the flesh – BUT MY DOMINANT MEMORY FROM THOSE FOUR DAYS IS OF A BATTERED BLUE PICKUP TRUCK THAT I BORROWED FROM MY LANDLADY TO REFILL THE WATER CONTAINERS AND DISTRIBUTE FOOD TO THE HUGE CROWD AT EDSA….”
HOWIE CONTINUED THAT, AT ONE POINT, SOMEONE TOOK A PHOTO OF AN ARMORED COL-UMN THAT TURNED BACK AFTER SEEING THE PEOPLE WITH LOCKED ARMS – WITH A CERTAIN BLUE PICKUP TRUCK IN THE BACKGROUND. THAT PHOTO WAS EVENTUALLY SHOWN TO HIS LAND-LADY, WHO GASPED BEFORE LETTING OUT A BIG LAUGH! (“A PICKUP TRUCK ON EDSA,” GMANET-WORK.COM, 26 FEBRUARY 2018)
“LABAN” DOCU–VIDEO–GLIMPSE OF HISTORY
“LABAN: THE MEANING OF EDSA REVOLUTION” IS A COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTARY THAT NOT ONLY REVISITS THOSE DRAMATIC FOUR DAYS OF THE “REVOLUTION” THAT COULD HAVE EXPLODED TO PROTRACTED CIVIL WAR (AS NOW HAPPENING IN THE MIDDLE EAST), AND THE LIBERALIZING AFTERMATH OF THE NON–VI-OLENT (BUT DO–OR–DIE) RESISTANCE AND COURAGEOUS OPPOSITION THAT ENDED THE TWENTY–YEAR DICTATORIAL RULE OF PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS.
It also contains insightful personal accounts of the principal players. Produced and direct-ed by a talented and millenial Filipino, Sally Jo Bellosillo. The documentary presents most of the major decision-makers of that transformation– particularly former Presidents Cory and Marcos, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Jaime Cardinal Sin, former FL Imelda Marcos, RAM Colo-nel Gregorio Honasan, Bishop “Soc” Villegas, Fr. James Reuter, FVR, plus several others.
Bellosillo, a U.P. graduate completed the docu–video as part of her Master of Arts thesis at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., where she was the only Filipino international scholarship recepient in 2004.
PRODUCED IN TIME FOR THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EDSA PEOPLE POWER REVOLU-TION IN 2011, “LABAN” IS NOT ONLY A FACTUAL RECORD OF THAT TRANSFORMATIVE EVENT, BUT ALSO THOUGHT – PROVOK-ING NARRATIVE THAT LEADS THE VIEWER TO ASK: “ WHY DID THE EDSA REVOLUTION HAPPEN AND WHY PEACEFULLY – ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES??”
WORDS FROM “LABANS” MAIN PLAY-ERS HERE ARE EXCEPTS FROM SOME MA-JOR PERSONALITIES IN THAT DOCU–VID-EO: Pres. Ferdinand Marcos (at a prescon in Malacañang, 22 February 1986) –“There is no need to organize any assault group. Camp Cra-me is sorrunded. Camp Aguinaldo is sorround-ed. But I definitely ordered that no hostilities be started….” FVR (responding promptly to Pres. Marcos through a phone–patch interview by popular TV personality–turned–rebel broadcaster June Keithley–Castro over Radio Veritas [DZRV] – “The armed troops of Mr. Marcos and Mr. Ver are now somewhere along Santolan Road which is just two kilometers away from Camp Crame. These troops are merely obeying an order of a discredited and now illegal regime. Marco’s troops will not fire at their compatriots–who are also their parents, relatives, wives, and children– and whose only fault is to stand–up for what they believe is right.
“We know there are two battalions of you out there in the Camp Aguinaldo are with artil-lery reinforcements. While you think this is numerically superior to our defenders in Camp Cra-me, please understand – see for yourselves – look around you: you are surrounded by the Filipino people. These people do not hate you. They love you, and they would want you to turn around and be part of them….”
Opined FVR in a later video interview (2010) – “All of these separate, diverse, independent, isolated elements – within four short days – were eventually put together like the many scattered pieces of jigsaw puzzle….”
BISHOP SOC VILLEGAS (THEN CARDINAL SIN’S ASSISTANT): “THERE WAS NO FORMAL MEETING OF THE POLITI-CAL LEADERS, THE CHURCH ELDERS, AND THE MILITARY COMMANDERS. BUT THEY SORT OF NATURALLY CONVERGED FOR A COMMON PURPOSE WHICH, I BELIEVE, IS PROVIDENTIAL. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN LIKE THAT ALL THE TIME BECAUSE THESE THREE SECTORS HAVE MINDS OF THEIR OWN. THEY DON’T USUALLY SEE EYE–TO– EYE. YET, AT THAT PARTICULAR POINT THERE WAS A CONVERGENCE OF OPIN-IONS, OF POSITIONS, WHICH RESULTED IN COMBUSTION.” JUNE KEITHLEY–CASTRO: SERVANT FIGHTER ONE OF THE HEROIC BUT LARGELY UNSUNG EDSA 1986 STAL-WARTS WAS THE LATE JUNE KEITHLEY – CASTRO. AS RAPPLER RECALLED (29 NOVEMBER 2013): “FATHER JAMES REU-TER TOLD JUNE THAT SHE HAD TO DO SOMETHING TO BRING OUT THE TRUTH DURING THE SNAP ELECTIONS AND THAT HER TALENT FOR BROADCASTING HAD TO BE PUT TO GOOD USE TO INFORM THE PEOPLE ABOUT THE CONDUCT OR MIS-CONDUCT OF THE ELECTIONS,’ SAID HER FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, AIRASIA–PHIL-IPPINES CEO MAAN HONTIVEROS, FOR-MER TV AND MUSIC EXECUTIVE.”
Father Reuter had reactivated a network of masscom talents he organized earlier during the February 1986 snap elections to gather and broadcast reports at a time when all media outfits were controlled by the Marcos regime. In those hectic days, Radyo Bandido (DZRJ) was improvised as the rebel forces’ last resort to replace the Catholic Church–run Radio Veritas (which had been dstroyed by Ver’s forces because no other network would dare take Keithley in. According to Hontiveros, June was very brave and continued broadcasting for 14 straight hours despite physical exhaustion and dangers to her life. Maan was supposed to replace Keithley at Radyo Bandido but the former got stuck inside the TV Channel 4 building when violence erupt-ed as rebel forces tried to enter the Government run network. “Despite her physical fatigue, June told me to stay in Channel 4 with the rebel forc-es. She continued with her radio broadcasts at Radyo Bandido,” Hontiveros added. (Manila Bulletin, 01 November 2015) THE FOREGOING ARE SOLID REASONS WHY SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS OF FILIPINOS SHOULD BE PROUD OF WHAT WAS ACHIEVED PEACE-FULLY AT EDSA. A PEOPLE POWER FREE-DOM LEARNING CENTER AS CONFIRMED IN OUR MANILA BULLETIN COLUMN LAST 25 FEBRUARY, MAYOR SARA RECALLED THAT IT WAS HER FATHER. THEN DAVAO CITY FISCAL (NOW PDU30) HIMSELF WHO TOLD THEIR FAMILY–32 YEARS AGO–“DO NOT FORGET BEING PART OF THAT HIS-TORIC NATIONWIDE EVENT.” ALL OF US TODAY–BUT, MORE IMPORTANTLY, OUR SUCCESSOR GENERATIONS WHO WOULD TRY TO DIMINISH THE RELEVANCE OF EDSA 1986 – SHOULD NEVER FORGET THAT IT WAS ALSO NO LESS THAN “NANAY” SO-LENG DUTERTE HERSELF WHO COURA-GEOUSLY LED DAVAO’S ANTI–MARCOS MOVEMENT FROM START TO FINISH. IF, DESPITE THE DISTANCE, MINDANAOANS HAD FELT SUCH PATRIOTIC FERVOR, THEN THOSE AT GROUND ZERO IN EDSA 1986 MUST DO BETTER TO HELP INSTITU-TIONALIZE OR IMMORTALIZE SUCH LIFE – CHANGING EVENTS LIKE THE 1986 PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION WHERE PEOPLES IN TROUBLED REGIONS CAN LEARN ABOUT PEACEFUL REGIME CHANGE. IT IS HIGH TIME, AS EARLIER SUGGESTED, THAT FIL-IPINOS DEVELOP THE PEOPLE POWER FREEDOM LEARNING CENTER (PFFLC) IN CAMP AGUINALDO, WHICH WAS:
• CONCEPTUALIZED BY SPIRIT OF EDSA FOUNDATION (SOEF) FOUND-ING CHAIRMAN CHRIS CARRION, AN AR-DENT EDSA VETERAN, IN AUGUST 1988 BY MEANS OF ENVISIONING THE CON-STRUCTION OF A PROPOSED “TOWER OF PEACE,” TO SERVE AS THE FIRST PHILIPPINE LANDMARK TO “PERPETUALLY COMMEMORATE” THAT WORLD–RENOWNED, PRAYERFUL, PEACEFUL, PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION IN FEBRUARY 1986 AND THE “EDSA SPIRIT AND IDEALS” OF LOVE OF GOD, PATRIOTISM, FREEDOM AND VOL-UNTERISM.
• IN 1992, CARRION REITERATED HIS PROPOSAL REGARDING SAID “ TOWER OF PEACE” TO PRESIDENT FVR. THE PRO-POSAL WAS RETURNED TO SOEF TO REDE-SIGN THE FACILITIES THAT CAN INCLU-SIVELY SERVE A LARGER NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE.
• 09 MAY 1996–DND SECRETARY RE-NATO DE VILLA APPROVED THE ALLOCA-TION OF A TOTAL AREA OF 2,000 SQUARE METERS FOR THE PROPOSED PPFLC, WHICH LATER BECAME 4,000 SQUARE ME-TERS UPON FVR’S APPROVAL
• TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEYS WERE CONDUCTED BY ENGINEERS OF THE DPWH AND AFP, TOGETHER WITH REP-RESENTATIVES OF SOEF TO DETERMINE THE EXACT SITE AND AREA FOR THE PRO-POSED PPFLC.
• ARCH. PABLO ANTONIO, JR. WAS REQUESTED TO UNDERTAKE THE PRELIM-INARY DESIGNS.
• 25 FEBRUARY 1997–UNVEILING OF THE ARCHITECTS’ DESIGN PERSPEC-TIVE WAS DONE DURING THE EDSA ANNI-VERSARY COMMEMORATION.
NOTE: OVER THE YEARS, THE DESIRED AREA FOR THE PPFLC HAS IN-CREASED TO ABOUT 2.5 HECTARES BUE TO NEED FOR MORE LIBRARY AND MU-SEUM SPACES, FACILITIES FOR INTERAC-TIVE GLOBAL E–BONDING, MORE FUNC-TION ROOMS AND LARGER AUDITORIUM TO SERVE INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES; AND ADEQUATE AREA FOR OPEN–AIR PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES, DIORMA OR STATIC DISPLAYS, AND PARKING SPACE. (MANILA BULLETIN, 26 FEBRUARY 2017)
THIS FOLLOWS THE EXAMPLE OF THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT WHICH PUT UP THE PHILIPPINES–KOREA FRIEND-SHIP CENTER NEAR THE LNMB AT FORT BONIFACIO LAST 2012 ON LAND MADE AVAILABLE BY THE DND TO HONOR THE PHILIPPINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCES TO KOREA (PEFTOK) OF 5 BATTALION COM-BAT TEAMS WITH MORE THAN 7,400 FILIPI-NO WARRIORS WHO FOUGHT TO DEFEND FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY IN THE KO-REAN PENINSULA AND, CONSEQUENTLY, ENHANCE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY ALSO IN THE PHILIPPINES.
THE EXEMPLAR MODELS OF HOW-IE SEVERINO AND SALLY JO BELLOSILLO WHO WERE MILLENNIALS IN 1986, OTHER UNKNOWNS LIKE FVRMING’S TOTALLY SUPPORTIVE 5 DAUGTHERS–PLUS MANY OTHER WITH RELEVANT OPINIONS, PRO OR CON–NEED TO BE RECORDED.
KAYA NATIN TO!!!
By Fidel V. Ramos