President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday joined Filipinos in commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution, urging them to appreciate freedom that was once lost but eventually restored.
“May we all have a profound sense of appreciation and understanding of what we lost and what we reclaimed,” Duterte said in his EDSA day message.
“I am hopeful that this occasion will inspire all of us, especially the younger generation, to deeply value the freedom and liberty that we won in EDSA,” he added.
Duterte also asked Filipinos to never forget how our ancestors joined hands to topple a dictatorship under former president Ferdinand Marcos.
“Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who came before us so that we may always be motivated to preserve and protect the democratic way of life that we enjoy today,” he said.
The President noted how the peaceful revolution showed to the world that “history can be rewritten” in nonviolent means.
He emphasized that it was an event that “brought together Filipinos from all walks of life” and eventually gave rise to a Philippines that was “reborn from the ashes of its tumultuous past.”
Duterte also reminded Filipinos to use the event as an inspiration to make wise decisions during the upcoming mid-term elections.
“As the entire nation prepares for the upcoming mid-term elections this May, let us always remember how this historic revolution restored our power to collectively chart our future through the ballot,” he said.
Malacañang, meanwhile, defended Duterte’s absence in EDSA day events anew, noting that he had “more pressing matters of the State” but recognized the day’s importance, nonetheless.
“While the President has to attend to more pressing matters of the State and may not be physically present during the commemoration of the People Power Revolution, he will, however, be there in union with the celebrators, as well as in recognition and reminder to all that our government is a fruit of democracy and our sovereignty resides in the people and all authority emanates from them,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The lesson learned in EDSA is unmistakable. Power is transitional as life is ephemeral. You abuse either and it will be taken away from you. As a wise sage says: Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad,” he added.
Instead of attending EDSA day events, Duterte will be attending the 1st National Assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
The President had two public events in Cebu on Sunday night — the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) payout to beneficiaries and the PDP-Laban campaign rally.
In 2018, Duterte was also absent from the EDSA celebration in Manila since he spent it in his hometown city Davao, which he regularly visits on weekends.
He also skipped the EDSA anniversary rites at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City in 2017 to attend the relaunch of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Davao City. (PNA)