34th on the 25th

The country is not facing the same battle or the enemy of the same kind as it did 34 years ago. Today, the energies of our people are geared towards ensuring that governments seated produce results, listen to their sentiments, and act without much fanfare.

On 25 February 2020, the country will be commemorating the 34th anniversary of the First EDSA People Power Revolution. In past years, the celebrations have been modest unlike those during the previous administrations. President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to skip the traditional ceremonies for the 4th consecutive year, though it is likely that his office will release a Presidential Message addressed to the Filipino people.

The Philippines is much different now than it was 34 years ago, contrary to the claim of others that we are living once again in the age of dictatorship. The space for exchange of ideas, democratic discourse and debate are very open. Social media has become a marketplace of perspectives and opinions, whether for or against the current administration. While cases are being filed against media outfits for perceived violation(s) of law, they continue to operate freely without interference from the state.

Times are different, and governance styles have evolved over the years not only in the country but also throughout the rest of the world. While this may be the case, democracy is not under threat. It is those that abuse democracy who must feel threatened as people today are more discerning on the issues of the day, well-versed on a wide range of topics and critical of facts and events. At certain instances, government listens to the people when legitimate political pressure is exerted by the citizens and their representatives. Laws, executive policies and department rules and regulations have either been implemented or overturned as people have made their voices heard and as platforms are accorded to them for citizen participation.

Media has become more powerful ever than before, thanks to various social media platforms. Traditional media is no longer the sole source of news in large part due to the emergence of citizen journalism. Information can now be obtained through a variety of legitimate and verifiable sources. Those who belittle the intelligence of Filipinos should feel threatened as people have generally become more circumspect on determining what is genuine news from what is fake news and pure propaganda. People today can immediately distinguish authentic leaders from pretenders.

The country is not facing the same battle or the enemy of the same kind as it did 34 years ago. Today, the energies of our people are geared towards ensuring that governments seated produce results, listen to their sentiments, and act without much fanfare.

EDSA People Power 1 will continue to be a critical moment in the country's political history. There are valuable lessons to be learned from this experience.

Forgive but not forget. Move forward, not just move on. Learn to remember, not to have anger. These are the lessons I want to share to this generation--- from someone who was born in 1986- the same year of the First People Power Revolution.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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