HomeCommentaryPursuit of Peace: EDSA, Negros, Gaza, Ukraine, and Elsewhere

Pursuit of Peace: EDSA, Negros, Gaza, Ukraine, and Elsewhere

Days before the commemoration of the EDSA Revolution, reports of bombings and the use of firepower have been made in the islands of Negros, Bohol, and other areas in Mindanao.

We cannot effectively demand a ceasefire in Gaza, in Ukraine, or elsewhere, when even at our doorsteps we cannot insist on one.

The deaths of Filipinos are a common mark of civil disorder, that our government should mitigate by pursuing peace and addressing the roots of the social injustice, not by modernization of the military and security sectors.

As the late Bishop Antonio Fortich of Bacolod said “Peace is radically rooted in justice. Peace is the flower of justice. Unless the government sees to it that justice is given to everyone it is very hard to talk about lasting peace. Let’s look at some of our real problems.”

The highlight of the EDSA 1986 People Power Uprising was the triumph of civilian participation in governance over the military dictatorship of Marcos.

It was a break from the military abuses and Marcos functionaries that gripped the Philippine society for twenty years, only to be intermittently revived by succeeding regimes and revived brutally by the regime of Rodrigo Duterte from 2016 to 2022.

And yet, we have seen the bastardization of history resulting in the reassumption of power by the Marcoses, effectively erasing, or at least camouflaging, their guilt of corruption and cruelty inflicted on the Filipinos.

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The 1987 Constitution was the by-product of EDSA, enshrining the mark of Philippine democracy and bequeathing governance to the ‘sovereign Filipino people’, solidly emphasizing the supremacy of ‘civilian authority… over the military’.

A rights-based constitution became integral in the Philippine society. However, the continued interest of political elites in charter change threatens what we have achieved in the EDSA 1986 People Power.

We cannot simply allow them to snatch the gains of EDSA and the power bequeathed on us as Filipinos in our 1987 Constitution. Let us protect the Filipino People, and never allow self-serving charter change!

“Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil, but those who counsel peace have joy” (Prov 12:20).

In the aftermath of EDSA 1986, it was also a dream to pursue a just and lasting peace in the areas affected by militarization and civil strife. Sadly, this has thus far failed due to the egocentricities of certain elements among government leaders.

Bearing witness to the continued victims of attacks and atrocities in the doorsteps of our Diocese, as a pastor, I reiterate the renewed call for Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Let us work together to address the issues of poverty and injustice suffered by the poor. We must not allow the continuing bloodbath among Filipinos.

Thus, let us pray for peace, let there be a nonviolent revolution for peace.

Bishop Gerardo “Gerry” Alminaza, D.D. is the prelate of the Diocese of San Carlos in the central Philippines. He is the vice-chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice, and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and a staunch human rights and environmental defender. He also heads the Laudato Si’ program of the bishops’ conference.

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