[* this post is by Ji-an Manalo (with some of my photos from CBT's 'People Power'). It was taken from the Philippine history Facebook group I created earlier this week: CLICK HERE]
What went wrong after People Power?
“While the Philippine revolution deposed a powerful dictator, it left much of the old centralized power structure unchanged. The U.S. still retained major influence through military aid and bases. The Philippine military remained intact under Defense Minister Enrile, the same man who had gotten rich from political connections while serving as Defense Minister under Marcos. The new President, Cory Aquino, was from a wealthy family. The poor were still poor, and the rich were still in charge. Capitalism emerged stronger than ever.
What the story of the Philippine revolution demonstrates is the power people can have when they withdraw consent. The same dynamics apply, no matter what the issue. Had Filipinos decided to go on and struggle for a more equitable distribution of wealth, the abolition of the military, or a decentralized government that was more responsive to their needs, who knows what more amazing things they might have achieved” --1997, from http://www.fragmentsweb.org/TXT2/philiptx.html
My [Ji-an's] personal views:
Perhaps we weren’t quite ready to take further steps back then, and I have such high respect for my seniors who did what they did in EDSA back when I was just 8 years old! The journey has not ended. As I observe the growing number of members of this Questions in Philippine History group, I get the feeling that there’s a big “wake-up call” happening now, in our generation. It seems that we have already begun experiencing the phases of decolonization and I believe we are headed towards a collective experience of phases 4 & 5, commitment and action. What would happen then can be very powerful, but it all depends on how we can understand our past , and integrate that with our imagination on what we can do now.
My question is: How do we define the evolution of People Power, a movement which could even have started from the Katipunan?
Resource on the term decolonization: http://www.opihi.com/sovereignty/colonization.htm (i was inspired to read this article from a thread in facebook, which I can no longer find)
Further resources: Laenui worked closely with a Filipino native, Enriquez: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgilio_Enriquez
Interesting article on Enriquez’ work: http://philcsc.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/re-visiting-sikolohiyang-pilipino-in-honor-of-virgilio-enriquez/
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A youth named Donmar responded to this with:
In my opinion, we have People Power revolt in order to replace one group of elites with another group of elites... thats what basically happen... but then again people power is not about those politicians taking the credits and the limelight... people power is nothing without the people...
For me, we need the people and the military (not the right wing military adventurist) if we want to launch another successful one... without the people then its called a coup but then without the military its called a demonstration protest... so we need both...
But I believe we don't need another people power regardless how people viewed the current president... whats the use of having a constitution if we keep breaking it..
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Thank you for your response, Mr. Pineda. Very interesting indeed, but it does not really answer my question. It is clear that the People Power movement hasn't been able to ameliorate the situation in the Philippines. However, IF the movement could evolve to effectively make things better for the people, what would that look like to you? How can we keep corruption from happening? I know that People Power has been used to oust corrupt presidents, but I'm wondering if we can use the strength of this movement to get things done correctly; If impeaching a president hasn't been quite efficient, then what other peaceful strategies are possible?
But before we can offer those questions wise answers, I really do believe that we have to deeply understand the effects of colonization; and when we are ready to face these effects, we can start the process of decolonization, and thus from there, reconstruct a truly independent (healthy) country. To further explain, can we agree that the power of suggestion is a strong one? And if so, the colonizers' refusal to believe that the natives were capable of ruling their own land without the "help" of colonizers, could have lasting effects on the generations to come... This quote is taken from the first Philippine Commission, a legislative body appointed by the U.S., headed by Dr. Schurman: "Nevertheless, they recognize the indubitable fact that the Filipinos cannot stand alone. Thus the welfare of the Filipinos coincides with the dictates of national honour in forbidding our abandonment of the archipelago." I don't know how you feel about him saying that the Filipinos cannot stand alone, but it's something that I can't take lightly. Statements like these had been strongly suggested to us Filipinos in the past and I don’t believe that we have completely liberated ourselves from its power. However, having a platform (such as this one) where we can discuss such things can help us explore possible solutions together…
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What are your thoughts KPC peeps?