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Strengthen institutions that safeguard freedom – Duterte

Updated

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte is calling for unity and solidarity to defend the institutions that safeguard the freedom brought by the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the 'merienda' he hosted for the rebel returnees at the Malacañan Palace on February 21, 2018, assures the surrenderees government support for them to be reintegrated back to the society. YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the ‘merienda’ he hosted for the rebel returnees at the Malacañan Palace on February 21, 2018, assures the surrenderees government support for them to be reintegrated back to the society. YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte issued the statement as he joined the nation in commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the bloodless revolution which brought back democracy after almost a decade of being under martial rule.

President Duterte described it as the country’s “most crucial and trying times.”

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “EDSA 2018: Effecting Change Towards Strengthened Democracy.”

“May this occasion foster unity and solidarity as we pursue our hopes and aspirations for our nation,” Duterte said in his message.

“Let us further enrich our democracy by empowering our citizenry, defending their rights and strengthening the institutions that safeguard their freedoms,” he added.

According to Duterte, the Filipinos, through the first EDSA revolution, have shown the world how a people’s courage and resolve can alter the course of a nation’s history.

“Since then, the People Power Revolution has become the enduring symbol of our determination to fight for what is right and – during our country’s most crucial and trying times – to defend and uphold our cherished democratic values,” he said.

Not joining EDSA program

Duterte, though, will not join the program for the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA Revolution.EDSA People Power Commission member Pastor “Boy” Saycon, in an interview over ANC, said: “The president will be in Davao City during the EDSA People Power anniversary celebrations. He is a very prudent person.”

Saycon said that Duterte prefers to remember the 1986 revolution with the people in Davao City since the President was not part of the original movement which resulted in ousting the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Saycon said that Duterte supports the spirit of the revolution and the celebrations held in its honor.

“The instruction to the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] by the President was to commemorate EDSA all over the country simultaneously. There will be flag raising [ceremonies], job fairs, medical and dental [missions],” Saycon said.

Last year, Duterte also skipped the EDSA People Power anniversary rites in Camp Aguinaldo as he opted to attend the re-launch of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Davao.

‘Salubungan’

Today, 300 policemen will take part in the historic “Salubungan” reenactment where soldiers and policemen joined forces to topple the dictatorship of President Marcos.

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PNP spokesman, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is sending some 1,500 of its personnel who will serve as the police contingent to secure today’s celebration.

“These PNP uniformed personnel will provide security coverage, traffic management, emergency preparedness and response, and other public safety services in all places of engagement,” said Bulalacao.

Activities

Many activities will be organized by various government agencies, such as Holy Mass at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA in Ortigas, Pasig City; Medical, Dental, and Optical Service; Diskwento Caravan of Department of Trade and Industry; Jobs Fair; and Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the LibinganngmgaBayani.

Dictatorship can be toppled

One of the groups expected to attend will be the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) who said the 1986 EDSA People Power 1 showed to the world that dictatorship can be toppled and tyranny can collapse.

“At EDSA we fulfilled a seemingly impossible dream. A united people toppled a dictatorship after 14 long years of tyranny and darkness,”the group said in a statement released in time for the 32nd anniversary of the peaceful revolt.

“We showed the world that dictatorship can be toppled. Tyranny can collapse in the face of a united and determined people rising up to change their lot,” it further read.

The AMRSP said the unsung, faceless and nameless heroes and martyrs of the resistance paid with their lives so that we may taste freedom and democracy.

Today, the group said we are once again called to continue to dream and to toil in the vineyard to realize that dream as the struggle to emancipate the people from poverty and want remains an “unbeatable foe”.

“Dynasties and elitism remain an ‘unrightable wrong’. Tyranny and the insatiable lust for wealth and power remain the bane of our leaders. Hate and divisions reign in our politics, culture and social life! Indeed there is a pressing need to change ourselves and our society!” said AMRSP.

“Today we say NO to a charter change that will further entrench political dynasties, extend terms of office and surrender our sovereignty!” said AMRSP.

“Today we light a candle for peace and justice, for all of Creation. Today we light a candle in hope that we may be led to the path of righteousness and a land flowing with milk and honey,” AMRSP said.

EDSA traffic rerouting

MMDA announced that EDSA and White Plains Drive will be closed today, Feb. 25.

As per MMDA, Ortigas Avenue to Santolan (northbound) shall be partially closed from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Two outer lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic while three inner lanes from EDSA -Ortigas flyover will still be passable to motorists up to Aguinaldo Gate.

As such, both directions of White Plains Drive, from Temple Drive to EDSA, will be fully closed to traffic from 12:01 a.m. onwards.

Garcia said White Plains Drive will be used as venue for medical, dental and optical services such as free eye check-up and reading glasses.

Affected motorists are advised to avoid the said areas and instead use following alternate routes:

Along the southbound of EDSA, motorists are advised to turn right to Aurora Boulevard or Santolan; left turn to Gilmore or Ortigas; right to EDSA to destination; and right turn to Katipunan or Libis-C5 Road to destination.

Meanwhile, those travelling EDSA northbound are urged to head right to Kalayaan/ Shaw Boulevard/Ortigas, left turn to C5 Road to destination; left turn to Ortigas towards Greenhills, right turn to Santolan to destination; right turn to Ortigas or left Ortigas flyover towards Greenhills, right turn to destination

MMDA said 150 traffic enforcers will be deployed to man traffic in the busy thoroughfares. (With reports from Aaron Recuenco, Leslie Aquino, and Jel Santos)

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