REMEMBERING EDSA ’86: How it helped change the world and what went wrong back home

REMEMBERING EDSA ’86: How it helped change the world and what went wrong back home

By Noel Dolor

MANILA — Thirty-five (35) years ago today, the Philippines created a revolution that evolved into a morality play between the people and one person or ruling clique: People Power. It culminated with the military supporting the peoples’ side, the power of prayer, and the installation of a new government, all in a matter of four days, through peaceful means.

While the first People Power revolution epitomized the concerted efforts of Filipinos from different sociopolitical and economic levels, their collective patriotism and commitment for a common cause had never been matched by such a degree.

Yes, yours truly was there and stood vigil, along with many of us. But rather than bask in the achievements of those politicians and figures that made it happen—and sadly, helped its legacy fail in the next decades that followed, let yours truly discuss the impact the four-day revolution brought on an international scale towards the closing years of the ‘80s and on to the early ‘90s: the transition from authoritarianism to democracy among Asia’s dragon economies, in their bid to be part of the developed, free country statues, economies- and civil- liberties-wise; the downfall of Marxist-Leninist Communism and the rebirth of freedom in Eastern Europe; and the end of apartheid.

Different Asian extremes: South Korean, Taiwan, and Thailand

Above all, the four-day EDSA People Power revolution of 1986 which ignited several movements globally during that same time frame represented, as Asiaweek best puts it,’ the demand from the educated, forward-looking middle class for a greater say in their national affairs—as evident by the way citizens struggled against troop commanders who executed these acts and found their relatives and friends in the picket lines. Plus the fact that leaders in countries with booming economies bowed to the reality that they could not jail all protesters without paralyzing vital industries and services, too. As the sequel of events would unfold, the military itself would change sides and kowtow to the demands of the majority. Besides freedom in the streets and, increasingly, in the marketplace, People Power brought to Asia a new vigilance against state abuse such as factional infighting and corruption.

These were the scenarios that best fit South Korea. Ruled for nearly two decades under the iron grip of Park Chung Hee, whose regime transformed the country into an economic miracle, with an average growth rate of 8.5 percent until his assassination in 1979, his successor, Chun Doo Hwan, extended martial law and enhanced his powers by sending paratroopers into the city of Kwangju in 1980 to suppress pro-democracy protests. The Kwangju uprisings, which demanded the release of pro-democracy dissident Kim Dae Jung, resulted in several deaths. Haunted by that massacre, coupled with, as National Geographic best puts it, an outlook among the growing, well-educated Korean middle-class that ‘the leaders will have to learn from the people, not the reverse,’ the Koreans in 1987 staged their own popular uprising that forced Chun to appoint Roh Tae Woo to submit to a presidential election. Roh was elected that same year, garnering 37 percent of the vote while the splintered opposition, shared the remainder. In its road towards full democracy—and in an ironic twist of fate–former opposition leaders and rivals Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung became Korea’s popularly elected presidents in 1993 and 1997, respectively.

Orderly transformations

On another extreme–and widely regarded by many political analysts as the most successful and orderly transformation from authoritarianism to democracy within a short period of time ever to take place in Asia is that of the Republic of China—Taiwan, which at that time, has become one of Asia’s most prosperous lands with a standard of living next to that of Japan, with generous amounts of foreign reserves and with a middle-class that has become much more educated and more open in their socio-political outlook. At first, a report from Free China Review noted that the Kuomintang (KMT)-dominated government did not want to lift the three-decades-old Emergency Decree that activated martial law, but was forced by circumstances. For one, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party, made up of oppositionists then called ‘tangwai’) was established in 1986. At that time, the government felt that there were two ways to deal with the opposition: let it be, or put its member behind bars. But arresting people simply for organizing a political party was bound to create strong antipathy, so the government thought it best to end martial law. As then-President Chiang Ching-Kuo, son of strongman Chiang Kai-shek remarked at that time: “Times are changing and trends are changing.”

It was also known that he took his cue from the events at EDSA.

Prior to his death in 1988, the ailing Chiang lifted the Emergency Decree a year before and named his then-vice president, Taiwan-born agronomist Lee Teng-hui as his successor. He also set the ground rules for constitutional reform that paved the way for multi-party participation, freedom of expression and assembly, complete economic liberalization, and improved cross-straight relationships that would allow the initiation of semi-official talks between representatives from Taiwan and the mainland, and for Taiwanese to visit their relatives in Mainland China for the first time since 1949.

Since taking over Chiang, Lee had strong backing among his people. He held the distinction as the first Taiwan-born official to lead the island republic, thus representing a major break from the ‘old guard’ of mainland-born and-dominated KMT figures. His pragmatic, forward-looking style of leadership and outgoing, cosmopolitan nature enabled him to reform outdated institutions which were designed to consolidate power in the hands of the old guard KMT; this included the retirement of aging KMT legislators in 1991, to pave way for the participation of a younger breed of legislators who were in touch with the times. Too, following the lifting of the Emergency Decree, Taiwan has held several major elections. Each of them, furthered Free China Review, contributed to something uniquely significant to the gradual devolution of power from the ruling KMT to a multiparty system competing for control at the local, provincial and national levels of government. The DPP, on the other hand, has furthered its competitive presence as its candidates won several seats in the Legislative Yuan in 1989 and 1992, positions of magistracies and mayoralties, and the Taipei City mayorship in 1994.

Thai uprising

The uprisings that occurred in Thailand in 1992—at a period when its economy was taking off as ‘Asia’s newest tiger’—showed that tolerance for the military rule was fast diminishing. Vast economic growth generated a large Thai middle class (the ‘mobile phone mob’ as political observers pointed out, as pro-democracy organizers conducted their actions by cellular phone) pushing for enhancement of freedom, education, reform, and information. Because of this, they saw no reason for the military to continue with their corrupt and domineering ways. It was a sign the democracy asserted itself in the Kingdom, imparting a very strong message to all in Asia that “it’s time for the military to get off center stage and give way to public participation.”

Also playing a crucial role in the end of the May 1992 uprisings was Thailand’s revered monarch, His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Though the King was known and revered for staying out of politics, it was at this exceptional instance when His Majesty summoned two conflicting factions (the much-disliked prime minister, Suchinda Krayapoon, who was not elected but appointed versus the pro-Democracy Member of Parliament and ex-Bangkok governor, Chamlong Srimuang) to the Royal residence at Chitralada Palace. His Majesty gave the two a stern admonition to put a stop to the confrontation and to work together. Moments after their audience, the two men vowed to work together through parliamentary procedures, thus putting a stop to the violent confrontations while the Thais felt relieved that His Majesty’s admonition to both Suchinda and Chamlong worked with great impact that calm was restored.

Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin Wall

In Eastern Europe, the fall of Communism (Marxist-Leninist Communism, and its corrupt ways, anathema to the tenet of creating a classless society, of which those in power at that time did not live up to) was triggered by the peoples’ initiatives who marched in the streets and forced socio-political as well as economic reforms.

In the Soviet Union, thanks to glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, the failure of Communism in terms of economics was due to stifling central control, as then party leader Mikhail Gorbachev admitted. As Gorbachev himself complained to TIME in 1987: “The economy is in a mess. We are behind in every area. We cannot remain a major power in world affairs unless we put our domestic house in order. Soviet rockets can find Halley’s Comet and fly to Venus with amazing accuracy, but . . . many household appliances are of poor quality.” His remarks resulted in the passing of measures during the 19th All-Union Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1988 that launched several reforms in the socio-, economic-, and a political system meant to decentralize party control. These included full independence of local bodies in tackling socio-economic matters in their respective territories; the first free elections to the Congress of Peoples’ Deputies held throughout the country in 1989—and a first to be participated by the people since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917; the surrender of the monopoly of power by the Communist Party in 1990; and the Presidential elections of 1991 that swept into power Boris Yeltsin, who transformed the Soviet economy into a free-market one and saw the dissolution of the USSR, a process whereas many former Soviet republics such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, declared their independence from Moscow and emerged as sovereign states.

In Czechoslovakia and Poland, oppositionists Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa would rally the people to their side and lead to marches that would restore democracy to their countries. In a related twist of faith—and thanks to the Velvet Revolution—Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia while Walesa became Poland’s head of state a year later. In neighboring Hungary, the progressive-minded Communist leadership at that time crafted the most ambitious economic reforms in Eastern Europe by passing radical laws promoting private enterprise while on the political front, Hungary’s smooth transformation was a constitution unveiled in 1990 and modeled after the US Constitution complete with a bill of rights and a tripartite separation of powers. The situation was not that smooth in Romania, where events turned bloody when secret police killed thousands of protesters. These skirmishes helped trigger a revolt that resulted in the execution of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife and co-ruler Elena.
Regarded as the crowning point in the fall of Communism was the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. Also regarded as the day that changed history forever, this was a triumph of the will of the people in the former German Democratic Republic which paved the way for reunification with West Germany a year later. The position and importance of Berlin, as a city that witnessed tensions during the Cold War as well as its end, was firmly embedded when it was designated as the capital of the reunified Germany; this commenced in 1991 when the German parliament (Bundestag) passed a resolution to move the seat of government from Bonn to Berlin. In 1994, the Presidential residence was moved there. In 1996, the Bundesrat (federal representation of states) decided to move to Berlin. Following extensive alterations to existing buildings and construction of a host of new ones to accommodate the Bundestag, Bundesrat, and other government buildings, the final relocation took place in the summer of 1999.

Southward movements: Indonesia, Chile, South Africa

The demand for greater freedom among a growing number of dissatisfied citizens also swept southwards, the most notable examples being those of Indonesia, which was under the iron hand of Suharto for three decades; Chile in South America, which was ruled since 1973 under the firm grip of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte; and South Africa, which was suffering the agony of harsh criticisms and economic boycotts throughout the world due to apartheid.

Dominated since the late 60s by the corrupt, authoritarian ways of President Suharto and his military-backed government, Indonesians went to the streets to initiate massive protests that led to Suharto’s resignation in 1998 and free elections year after.

In retrospect, the fall of Suharto was partly the result of the aging of Suharto, like the book, Transitions to Democracy in East and South East Asia stressed. This also presented a dilemma for succession for someone who had been in power for over three decades. Because the issue was bound up with the person of Suharto, his health, added to the book, became a key factor. In his final years, Suharto became an increasingly remote political figure, more and more isolated and turning inward to a select few that consisted of his family members and cabinet and other senior government officials who lacked personal support bases and had little credibility in the ruling elite, let alone the broader political public. While some economists may give credit to Suharto for presiding over the most sustained period of economic growth in Indonesia’s history, his corruption was so gross, so open, paying so little to the niceties of civilized corruption that it added political insult to economic injury-as epitomized in the way permits and large infrastructure projects including one or another Suharto offspring or crony, or both.

The issues of corruption, conspiracy, and nepotism moved increasingly to the center of public discourse as the business interests and political ambitions of Suharto’s children were given free rein. National development policy was transparently subordinated to the interests of the family—paving the creation of the moniker ‘Suharto, Inc.’ Rumours of the latest business activities and the flamboyant overseas wheeling and dealing of the children and grandchildren regularly shocked, titillated, and angered the public, and even embarrassed a growing number of loyal but skeptic supporters of the President.
The turbulent days of May 1998 climaxed with the resignation of Suharto on the 21st; his Vice-President, Bacharuddin Jusuf (‘B.J.) Habibie took over as the new leader of the world’s most populous Moslem country and ushered in an era of reformasi. A German-educated former aeronautical engineer, Habibie headed a transition period where he presided over the 1999 legislative elections, the first free election since the 1955 Legislative Election, liberated the media, and released political prisoners. In 1999, during the Presidential elections, Habibie decided not to run; he handed over the leadership to the freely elected President and Vice President, Abdurrahman ‘Gus Dur’ Wahid, a moderate Islamic scholar and political leader; and Megawati Sukarnoputri, housewife-turned opposition leader and daughter of Indonesia’s first President, Sukarno, respectively.

For his part, Pinochet soon realized that pressure from both the Chilean people and the outside world—among these Pope John Paul II who supported the Vicariate of Solidarity, the Church-led pro-democracy, anti-Pinochet organization, and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe—prompted him to call a plebiscite in 1988 to decide on whether his term would be extended for another eight years or not. The majority voted ‘no,’ and when open presidential elections took place in December of 1989, Patricio Aylwin (a civilian and academic who led the movement that called for the end of Pinochet’s term during the plebiscite), was elected President. As the first civilian ever to assume office after 17 years of dictatorship, Aylwin presided over an economy that was already South America’s answer to the Asian dragon economies, and one of the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest-growing—averaging an annual growth rate of 8 percent. The affable former academic was also able to reconcile left and right, employers and unions, the armed forces and civilians, and rich and poor through a center-left coalition La Consortacion. He also embarked on massive social reform programs that greatly reduced the poverty level by ten percent during his incumbency. Aylwin did not seek re-election in 1993 and was succeeded by another civilian, former civil engineer, and Christian Democrat standard-bearer Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

In South Africa, the white (Afrikaner) dominated government, led by F.W. ‘Willem’ de Klerk understood that to be a part of the global community—or most precisely, rather than suffer ostracism from the rest of the world—dismantled the relics of apartheid and gave the black majority a voice in determining that country’s future. The result: Nelson Mandela was freed after 25 years in solitary confinement in 1990, presidential elections were held—and Mandela became the duly elected head of state on May 10, 1994. For de Klerk, who engineered the end of apartheid (and who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993), the first free elections that took the participation of all South Africans of different races, creeds, and languages were ‘a sense of achievement,’ as this made my plan operate,’ as he told TIME, while Mandela, in an interview with the same publication as the new President, extolled this milestone with ‘I cherish the idea of a new South Africa where all South Africans are equal, where all South Africans work together to bring about security, peace, and democracy in our country.’ Mandela also recounted how he left prison with little bitterness in his heart, emerging as a more mature person who had great strength as evident in his generosity towards his enemies through his belief in the human heart even though he spent a lifetime in isolation. And, in the true spirit of reconciliation, Mandela even appointed de Klerk as first Deputy President in his Government of National Unity for two years.

Though the first few moments of freedom in those countries were not that easy to take, their new governments managed to weather whatever difficulties there were, thanks to the middle class who continued to work very hard to maintain those precious liberties; and to globalization, which has set certain new standards of what proper governance has to be.

‘Kanya-kanya’ an obstacle to generate change

The following is a song ‘Kamusta Na’ sung by Yano whose lyrics best depicts the post-EDSA fever whose promise of better change never actually came.

Thus:

Kumusta na, ayos pa ba, Ang buhay natin, kaya pa ba
Eh kung hinde, paano na, Ewan mo ba, bahala na?

Napanood kita sa tv, sumama ka sa rali
Kasama ang mga madre, pinigilan mga tangke
Umiiyak ka pa sa harap ng mga sundalo
Namigay ka pa ng rosas na nabili mo sa kanto

Dala-dala mo pa, estatwa ni Sto. Nino
Eskapularyo’t Bibliya, sangkatutak na rosaryo
At sa gitna ng EDSA, lumuhod ka’t nagdasal pa
Our Father, Hail Mary from thy bounty thru Christ our Lord amen

Pebrero, bente-sais nang si Apo ay umalis
Ngiti mo’y hanggang tenga sa kakatalon, napunit a’ng pantalon mo
Pero hindi bale, sabi mo, marami naman kame
Kahit na amoy pawis, tuloy pa rin ang disco sa kalye

Nakita kita kahapon, may hila-hilang kariton
Huminto sa may Robinson, tumanga buong maghapon
Sikat ka noon sa tibi kase kasama ka doon sa rali
Pero ngayo’y nag-iisa, naglalakad sa may EDSA

Ewan mo ba, bahala na, Bahala na, bahala na

If yours truly would single out one particular song that indeed dwells on the painful realities after the peaceful people power revolution of 1986, nothing can best duplicate the message imparted by ‘Kumusta Na’ that was composed and sung by the folk-pop duo Yano, made up of the duo of co-musicians, co-composers, and vocalists Dong Abay and Eric Gancio. First heard in 1993 over two FM rock stations as an unplugged alternative song and having received considerable airplay over mainstream radio stations as well as being spoofed in gag shows a few months after its release, Kumusta Na is a musical commentary that injects within our minds how we, as Filipinos have fared after the EDSA Revolution of 1986.

Just as the lines depict how we, as Filipinos, were able to restore democracy by forcing the Apo (Marcos) into exile as we stood vigil praying Our Father, Hail Mary, amidst those tanks and men in battle gear, Kumusta Na also stresses with a heavy dose of irony how those dreams expected of people power brought about by the euphoria at those shining moments have failed, with the line ‘Nakita kita kahapon, may hila-hilang kariton, Huminto sa may Robinson, tumanga buong maghapon’ recalling a reality encountered at one of the very spots where those vigils were held seven years later. Poignant but true.

Robinson Galleria corner EDSA and Ortigas Ave. is where the EDSA Shrine, a place of worship and symbol of the so-called EDSA Revolution, is located.

This song also makes many of us ponder and discuss the reality that if People Power led to the formation of fast-moving, progressive, free-market democracies in other parts of the globe, how has it shown failings in our own country?

Some would blame it on our leaders, while others, on the people who vote for such leaders. Yet what many introspective souls would claim is the root of all-cause in our so-called bad attitude of ‘kanya-kanya or the talangka’ mentality.

These two unpleasant and unproductive habits or traits, inseparable as they will always be, are best brought to us everyday, alive in the way we incessantly complain, finger-point and look for scapegoats at each other—at governmental, private, and corporate levels, need I say more?—at the height of any crisis, calamity or scandal. Then we procrastinate or resort to the bahala na syndrome until some miracle will come to restore order, or some act of karma will drastically awaken us to face the harsh reality of doing an action and devise solutions to such crises.

Better yet, go to the Senate and you have a microcosm of our country at work at its worst. Observe our legislators how they debate endlessly over pressing issues without reaching definite conclusions. The result? Bills that do not get passed or rules that are junked out at sea simply because our lawmakers cannot agree among themselves to compromise for the good of all. Is it because they prioritize personal interests first before the urgent needs of the country?

Because of ‘kanya-kanya,’ we are not able to instill a strong sense of solidarity, where we, despite our differing beliefs, are not able to find workable common denominators among ourselves and cannot learn to compromise for the benefit of all just to get things done. The more we take ourselves first, the more we end up as poor followers with a weak sense of responsibility to our fellows, the community, our country, and the outside world in that order.

Kanya-kanya also hinders the development of self-discipline which, in the long run, is meant to breed a collective culture of efficiency, order, and system.

Self-discipline, in turn, leads to the formation of responsible citizens. I am very much reminded of the ironies that I observed during my travels in the more civilized and democratic, free-thinking societies like the Teutonic countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the Netherlands, and Denmark where, despite legalized nudism, the streets are spotlessly clean and crime rates are low, where everybody, regardless of whether they are Conservative, Centrist or Socialist, follows simple laws and ordinances without complaining simply because they agree that those rules benefit one and all in the long run. Or during my trips to Hong Kong in the late ‘80s and mid’90s where, thanks to British rule, the strong sense of punctiliousness has furthered a fetish for efficiency—and propelled the territory into one of the world’s most successful economic powerhouses. This, despite the laissez-faire attitude towards business and personal matters plus the fact that Hong Kong has never experienced any election under its British masters!

Then let us not forget Singapore where, during my visits, I have always been amazed at how the late great Lee Kuan Yew—whose governance is a combination of ruthlessness, vision, charisma, and credibility—skillfully and successfully combined Asian discipline with the very strong regard for law and order, system and efficiency in governance that has been a legacy of British rule to create the dynamic, prosperous city-state.

Out with parochialism, moving up with changing socio-economic trends

For many of us who have been exposed to more open, more contemporary concepts and ideas with the onset of globalization (especially the Generation- X of which yours is a proud member, the Generation-Y and the millennials) who regard parochialism that stems from the ‘kanya-kanya’ syndrome as somewhat politically and socially incorrect, I believe that it is high time for us to learn and adopt certain positive values from other nationalities that served as tools in forging their progressive, forward-thinking and dynamic spirits. More so if we, who make claims for being among Asia’s most cosmopolitan people, want to be respected members of the free, democratic, law-abiding global village.

On an intellectual level, parochialism hinders us from enhancing our personality further as we attempt to free our mind and exert our experimental and creative efforts to elevate as well as empower the mentality and perception of our countrymen away from the status quo of the mediocre, shallow and hackneyed.

This is so true of the ‘hanggang dito lang ang alam at kaya namin’ syndrome as evident in the way we refuse diversions of higher pursuits such as reading or surfing to broaden our knowledge or even engage in healthy discourses on issues that are happening on the global arena (and their impact among us Filipinos), but opting instead for undesirable pastimes like petty gossip, the pursuit for easy money and involving ourselves with the world of showbiz intrigues and other forms of escapism instead of devoting to the more productive, nation- and people-building pursuits. It is high time for us to give support of that layer of Filipinos who have the inner depth, intellectual curiosity, and innate capabilities who adhere to a benchmark of substance and quality to develop, nurture and mobilize the mindset of that critical mass that can serve as that tool to generate socio-economic, political, cultural and attitudinal reforms that, in the long run, will mold us to be more competitive and respected vis-à-vis the outside world.

I strongly agree when one of our respected economists not long ago stressed that the Filipinos of the free, global era can have a bit of Swiss diplomacy, the Teutonic regard for law and order, the punctiliousness of the British, the doggedness of the Israelis, the firmness of the Indians, the sagacity of the Chinese, the discipline of the Japanese and the determination of the Koreans, Taiwanese and Singaporeans. We must ask ourselves not just what it’s like to be free, but what our freedom is all about.

People Power

Let us also remember that People Power is not only limited to a particular clique or party; in as much as socio-political and economic shifts have drastically changed over the last three decades, the reality is, peoples’ mindsets DO change.

A very strong show of People Power that is attuned with today’s changing trends and rapid shifts was also shown by the ballot; this took place in 2016 when majority of Filipinos, fed up with the incompetence, insensitivity and inaction of the administration of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III and the one he anointed to succeed him, Mar Roxas —voted for Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the Philippines’ new leader. The platform of the Mayor from Davao turned Chief Executive, vigorously campaigned for change in contrast to his predecessor whose ‘daang matuwid’ turned out to be a bumpy ride. These changes—or more precisely reforms, in the socio-economic, political, and diplomatic levels—no matter how controversial a number of these may be, have put the country back on track for a better, more promising future and have earned the respect of the majority of Filipinos.

The amusing irony of it all was that the Davaoeno leader’s predecessor was the scion of the woman in Yellow who ignited the first People Power revolution 35 years ago. But in the end, both mother and son failed to implement the much-needed reforms that the country drastically needed that would make it more competitive and vibrant on a socio-economic level, as well as assert its independence in foreign affairs without too much reliance on the beleaguered West and their questionable policies that deem ‘overly interventionist in domestic affairs.’

Not to be outdone, let us also remember that the masa who voted for Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 1998—but whose incumbency turned out to be a disaster after less than two years which prompted his resignation—were the very same ones who voted overwhelmingly for Duterte, because their mindsets made them feel that he was the appropriate person who can lead the country.

An adage by a great author stressed that the ‘only thing changeless in this world is change.’ How very true. But let us remember, that if the legacy of People Power was to be effective, we do have that obligation, as responsible Filipinos to help generate those changes—or more precisely, reforms—to reverse those remnants of incompetence that had set the country backward. We need more of action and initiative not only to support these reforms, but to make sure we do it collectively with a strong sense of pride and sincerity to help generate a very positive, productive, and inspiring impact among our fellow Filipinos.

As we bask in the benefits of freedom in this borderless age, triggered by the impact of social media that help change, as well as empower mindsets, we, of past, present, and future generations, also must take the time out to ask ourselves not just what it is like to have freedom, but what our freedom is all about. True, it will take a lot of sacrifices to start among ourselves as individuals. But once we develop and nurture our innate senses by instilling a strong dose of responsibility with sincerity tempered with a culture of discipline and implant these to others, we then can correct negative attitudes and replace these with positive workable concepts that transcend religion, ethnicity, political preferences and personal beliefs as these will benefit the good for one and all and set that initiative towards true reform.

Only then can we achieve true, workable freedom with progress and dignity and be proud that, as free, patriotic, and responsible Filipinos, we can all make these happen and earn greater respect. (AI/MTVN)

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