All these years, EDSA has been so demonized with great funding and virulence. But this song — “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” — was a liberating song for many of us who risked our lives to depose the dictator during the Martial Law.
We saw the Filipino spirit transfigured before our eyes — everyone was euphoric on the streets. We were singing it with tears in our eyes. Because the dictator who has plundered his country and killed his people has left with his family and cronies.
Of course, like the apostles, something still needs to be done after Transfiguration. It was just a moment in the life of their new group. There was still Jesus’ crucifixion which was to come. And they have to work it out as his followers, what to do, how to proceed, how to take it from there. Whatever happened to them after the crucifixion was also the challenge for all of us after EDSA. Some betrayed him; others left.
But many remained and was faithful to his spirit. Most of them, the poor. Without money and power, they harbored within their hearts the longing for God’s justice and freedom. And they went to the whole world and spread the Good News. They seldom speak but when they do, they go through the streets and marketplaces and proclaim God’s message in all courage, notwithstanding slander and persecution.
Today, they are at it again. And the powerful are threatened by their sheer number, honesty and courage. You can never explain why ordinary people are coming out, volunteered themselves, contributed what they have, without coercion, without force, without promise of return. When God’s justice is suppressed, people’s moral sense are awakened and no one can stop them.
For all their comments about the youth as non-engaged and “walang paki,” our young people are in fact the ones who are on the streets displaying all their creativity. They can sense what is real and what is fake.
For all their comments about Class C, D and E whose votes can be easily bought, deep within their hearts, they know what is right and what is wrong. Even in the midst of poverty, they know what is good and what is evil.
To be sure the Transfiguration experience was liberating for the apostles. It did happen. It was not fake news. So was EDSA for the Filipino.
We cannot permit the ghost of dictators (Marcos and Duterte) to come and kill or oppress us again.
Nais na naman nilang bumalik sa kapangyarihan. Ang dami po nila at nagsasanib na ang kanilang pwersa. Lahat ng mga nagsamantala ang mandarambong.
As the song goes:
Di na ‘ko papayag mawala ka muli.
‘Di na ‘ko papayag na muling mabawi,
Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi.
‘Di na papayagang mabawi muli.
Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent on the Gospel of Luke 9: 28-36 by Father Danny Pilario.
Father Daniel Franklin Pilario, C.M. is a theologian, professor, and pastor of an urban poor community in the outskirts of the Philippine capital. He is also Vincentian Chair for Social Justice at St. John’s University in New York.