As we celebrate the historical EDSA People Power Revolution that happened three decades ago, we cannot help but reflect on the legacy this momentous event left to us and the future generations. What has the people power revolution done to us as an individual, as a community and as a nation?
That gathering in the roads of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue on 25 February 1986 made a remarkable outcome in the history of the world, placing our country in such a highlight and had us earn the respect and admiration of many nations for such a peaceful, united, firm stand to end the dictatorship of the Marcos regime that held us down for such a long time.
The military played a major role in the implementation of the Martial rule. It is the duty of all the men in uniform to do as they are told by their leaders. Then known as the Philippine Constabulary, they are the most feared unit in the entire nation for they are known as tough, rough, and hard personalities.
If the militia was all that was behind the “restoration” of peace and order in the country during the Marcos administration, blamed for so many injustices and torture and human rights violations, it was also the same Armed Forces who made the EDSA People Power Revolution possible.
Thirty years have passed. Today, your Armed Forces is so much different from what we were during the Martial Law time.
It is now strictly implemented in the whole of AFP the respect for the dignity of man. We have dedicated a unit/office specifically handling the Human Rights matters of the men and women in uniform. Adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law is one of our gauges with the implementation of our Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan. Guided with this development, the Armed Forces is also aiming to be considered as world-class professionals.
30 years indeed is such a long time, since we are now into “winning the peace” instead of winning the war. We are also now “people-centered.”
When catastrophe strikes, your Armed Forces are and will always be there. We have improved our Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response (HADR) efforts to rapidly take action in every situation. Hand-in-hand with the modernization of the AFP’s equipment, defense system, land, air and water assets, we are prepared and ready to defend our sovereignty from bigger threats trying to get hold of what belongs to us, the Filipino people.
We are now prepared to perform our mandated duty of defending the territory and our country’s freedom and independence from threats because we are an Armed Forces of the Filipino for the Filipino.