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For activists, moving Edsa holiday a bid to ‘dilute’ its significance

By: Dempsey Reyes, Nestor Corrales - Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 25,2023 - 07:14 AM

Renato Reyes for story: For activists, moving Edsa holiday a bid to ‘dilute’ its significance

Renato Reyes. FILE PHOTO

“Holiday economics” may be music to travel bugs’ ears, but not everyone welcomed President Marcos’ order rescheduling the commemoration of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution to Feb. 24, a day earlier than the historically accurate and state-recognized date.

For Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, one of the activists leading the Edsa-related activities today as originally set, the President’s proclamation—which caught companies by surprise when issued early Thursday night—“shifts the narrative from the importance of Edsa to practical considerations and the so-called holiday economics.”

“The bigger concern as well is that this holiday has lost meaning [to] those in power. It remains relevant to people who are struggling for freedom and democracy, but I think the danger is that the occupants in Malacañang would like to dilute [today’s] anniversary,” Reyes added.

Mr. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 167 to move “the celebration of [the] Edsa People Power Revolution Anniversary” to Feb. 24, “provided that [its] historical significance … is maintained.”

Making Feb. 24 a nonworking day, the proclamation was also intended to “enable our countrymen to avail [themselves] of the benefits of a longer weekend pursuant to the principle of holiday economics.

‘Father is now watching’

Also on Friday, on the eve of the 37th anniversary of the uprising that toppled his father’s regime, the President spent the day in Ilocos Norte to lead his home province’s biggest cultural event, the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano (Greatness of the Ilocano) Festival of Festivals.”

“I could not find a better time … to join in celebrating the ‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano: The Festival of Festivals,’ to show off to the world the best that Ilocanos can offer,” he told the crowd gathered at the newly renovated Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium in Laoag City.

“I am certain my father is now watching us proudly to see how far we have fared as a people,” Mr. Marcos said. “I feel in my bones that we all share the same blood and patriotism that have allowed us to achieve these things together.”

No more DILG memo

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has dispensed with its annual memorandum calling on city and municipal governments to also mark Edsa.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos did not respond to an Inquirer request for an interview on the matter.

But in Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte will lead the ceremonies at the Edsa People Power Monument beginning 8 a.m. on Saturday, together with other officials.

They will also attend a 10 a.m. Mass at the Edsa Shrine, where another service will follow at 12:15 p.m. to be led by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Activist groups led by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) will march to the nearby People Power Monument in the morning. —WITH REPORTS FROM KATHLEEN DE VILLA AND DEXTER CABALZA


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