Thirty-five years have passed since the historic EDSA People Power Revolution took place in our country and put an end to one of the darkest era of Philippines history – the Marcos regime. However, state terrorism and impunity continue to haunt the country while majority of Filipino children along with their families live in hunger and destitution.
Today, the country is in the grip of a tyrant. While there was no formal declaration of martial law, state-sponsored atrocities and political repressions have become more rampant and systematic under the regime of President Duterte.
He waged a bloody war on drugs that resulted to incessant killings of the poor. Hundreds of innocent children were also killed while thousands were orphaned. Duterte also intensified the political repression through red-tagging, extra-judicial killings, illegal arrest and detention of human rights defenders over fabricated accusations. Worse, the Duterte regime has passed the Anti-Terror Law which further emboldens the persecution of dissenters in the country.
Last February 15, the state forces have conducted an illegal and violent raid against the school and sanctuary of displaced Lumad at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City which resulted to the arrest and detention of 26 Lumad students, teachers and tribal leaders. Fabricated cases were then filed against seven (7) adults while the 19 Lumad children were forcibly taken away by the authorities. Moreover, vilification campaign is being waged against the University of San Carlos, Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) and other organizations assisting the Lumad children.
Under the Marcos regime and the subsequent administrations, the Filipino children bear the heaviest toll of state neglect, discrimination, oppression, exploitation, and human rights violations. The plight of children reflects the conditions of the sectors they belong to and their experiences are not separate from the experiences of their families and communities.
The farmers continue to demand for genuine land reform while workers call for wage increase and an end to contractualization so they could support the needs of their families. While corruption thrives in the government, majority of Filipino families are deprived of basic social services including health, education and housing. There are still many social issues that the government does not pay attention to. It failed to address the pandemic and its socio-economic impacts. Moreover, the situation has been capitalized by the Duterte regime to implement anti-poor and anti-people policies.
Therefore, as we observe the 35th anniversary of EDSA People Power, it is very important that we find within ourselves the lessons it teaches us. We have to unite and fight back against tyranny, social injustices and impunity. We have to take a stand for the betterment of our next generation. ###