From a very compartmentalized and secretive organization during the martial law years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has transformed itself into a transparent and open institution –working closely with civilian individuals and agencies to better perform its mandate of protecting the people and the state.
This transformation is clear during this year’s 30th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power I as Camp Aguinaldo, the AFP’s General Headquarters (GHQ), plays host to a museum set up as part of the activities highlighting this year’s anniversary of the world-renowned bloodless revolt.
Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, commander of the AFP-Civil Relations Service (CRS), said that the AFP’s hosting of the People Power I Experiential Museum clearly shows the military has transformed from its martial law image.
Kakilala said that the AFP has long been a professional organization –working closely with civilian authority.
“This is another opportunity to bring our troops closer to people. This is what AFP Transformation Roadmap and the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan are all about,” Kakilala said.
“Your Armed Forces is transparent. We are your allies in peace and your partner in development,” he added.
Contrary to the image of the AFP during the martial law as a “close and secretive organization,” Col. Noel Detoyato, Public Affairs Office chief of the AFP, for his part, said that the military nowadays is very transparent.
“We want to take these kinds of activities to showcase the AFP transformation, that we are professionals and we work with civilian authorities,” said Detoyato.
“In fact, many, if not most, of our endeavors are being done in conjunction with civilian sector. We adhere to whole-of-nation approach in performing our mandate. That is why we have our Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan,” he also said.
During the martial law years, many believed that the military was used as an instrument of abuse –aggression and suppression against civilians.
Detoyato said that the 125,000-strong AFP is in high gear in its Transformation Roadmap 2028 which is aimed at having a world-class AFP that is a source of national pride.
“We have professionalized our ranks, we play partners with the civilian sector,” said Detoyato.
The AFP played a key role during the EDSA People Power I, with then Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos, along with then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce-Enrile, leading AFP troops in withdrawing support from then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Protected by nuns, priests, lay people and millions of civilians, Enrile and Ramos and other top-ranking officials of the AFP and the defunct Philippine Constabulary marched through EDSA and joined the throng of crowd in protesting Marcos dictatorship.
The bloodless revolt ended in Marcos fleeing the country for Hawaii and the installation of the late Cory Aquino as president.
To properly educate young people, especially children of soldiers, about the role of the soldiers, Detoyato said that the AFP leadership encourages troops to bring along their children to view the museum to better understand their job.
“We want them to expose their children so that they (children) can better appreciate what their parents are doing,” said Detoyato.
Aside from the experiential museum in Camp Aguinaldo, the EDSA People Power Commission lined several other activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1986 revolution.
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES:
1. TalaKalayaan (February 15, 17, and 19, 2016)
People Power was more than a demonstration of courage and solidarity. It was a rare opportunity for Filipinos to listen to each other, share each other’s thoughts and vision for the country, and achieve not only collective action but collective realizations.
Thirty years after the EDSA Revolution, we revisit those rare moments of shared learning through the TalaKalayaan. The portmanteau of the Tagalog words Talakayan and Kalayaan, TalaKalayaan is a series of dialogues that celebrate our freedom to think and speak.
These dialogues will be patterned after the World Cafe format, where participants are given a chance to share their insights to small groups representing different sectors of our society. This method is deemed more suitable for young people given this generation’s need to always be connected and be part of a conversation rather than being talked to or lectured at.
TalaKalayaan sessions will be organized for youths coming from different sectors such as the college and high school students, religious (seminarians), military, government, journalists and non-government organizations. These sessions are planned to be held in historically significant areas like Mendiola, Camp Crame, Club Filipino, etc. Lastly, the EPPC will invite EDSA heroes and participants so that the youth may be able to converse directly with resource persons and collectively harvest new insights about the EDSA Revolution.
2. Iskoolmates (Taping: February 16, 2016/Airing: February 21, 2016)
In partnership with People’s Television Network (PTV-4), the EPPC will be producing a youth-oriented, informal debate show that will discuss the relevance of People Power thirty years after the revolution. In line with this year’s theme, the show will enable viewers to listen to the youth as they are the ones who will continue the fight for freedom and democracy.
This special “Iskoolmates” episode will be an avenue for today’s youth to voice out their views on People Power so that they may be enlightened about how they can use their freedom to serve the nation. The show will feature debates from UP but students from different schools and universities will be invited to join the discussion as part of the live audience. The debate will be held at the CineAdarna Theater, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
3. Launching of the “12:01” Comic Book (February 21, 2016)
The EPPC will launch “12:01,” the third and final installment of its series of youth-oriented books about the EDSA Revolution published in partnership with Adarna Publishing House. 12:01 is a comic book for teenagers written by multi-awarded author and Palanca finalist Russell Molina, and illustrated by equally-celebrated comic book artist Kajo Baldisimo. It tells the story of the social awakening of a group of friends when they were once out in the streets past curfew during the time of Martial Law.
12:01 follows the success of EDSA, a counting book for toddlers featuring symbols of the EDSA Revolution, and Isang Harding Papel (winner Filipino Reader’s Choice Award, Children’s Picture Book Category), a children’s story book about the account of a little girl who grew up without a mother because of Martial Law.
4. Wreath Laying at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (February 22, 2016)
A wreath laying ceremony will be held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to honor all military heroes who fought for the nation’s freedom. Former President Fidel V. Ramos is the guest of honor. This event contextualizes the EDSA Revolution as the culmination of a long struggle of the Filipino people for freedom and self-governance.
5. Martial Law Chronicles music video
The EPPC has partnered with the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) to produce videos that will counter the propaganda materials that seek to revise the nation’s history during Martial Law. Its target audiences are the “millennials,” born in the 1990s, who have had little access to the historical facts on the Martial Law years. The project will use social media to counter historical revisionism, and encourage the youth to think critically about the struggle for freedom and democracy during the era of the dictatorship.
The main feature of the project will be a modern music video that is interactive as it will be shot using a 360-degree point of view, allowing the viewer to watch the scenes from various angles. Posted on a website created primarily for this campaign, visual cues in the music video will entice the viewer to links presenting historical facts and figures in easy reference guides.
The FMA’s creative team is led by Ms. Susan Quimpo, author of Subversive Lives: a family memoir of the Martial Law Years. Palanca awardwinning writer Rody Vera will be partnering with Quimpo to bring about the “Martial Law Chronicles.”
6. EDSA Trenta: Are We Still Worth Dying For?, A PTV Special Forum (Taping: February 18, 2016/Airing: February 24, 2016)
The EPPC is partnering with the People’s Television Network (PTV-4) to produce “EDSA Trenta: Are We Still Worth Dying For?,” a special forum to engage Filipinos and encourage them to think critically about the history of Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution. Key participants in the 1986 People Power Revolution will be invited as resource persons to discuss the topic with students and young bloggers and historians. It is hoped that the forum will serve as a platform to inspire discourse and reflection on the gains of People Power and its relevance to today’s struggle for reform. Over 500 students from different schools and universities are expected to attend the forum which will be held at the Mother Consuelo Auditorium, La Consolacion College Manila.
7. Salubungan Program at the People Power Monument (February 25, 2016)
In accordance with this year’s theme, thousands of students will join the traditional reenactment and program of the Salubungan. Traditional features of the celebration include the flag raising and a commemorative program where His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III is the guest of honor. The children of EDSA Heroes and other youth leaders will also take part in the Salubungan reenactment and program to symbolize the new generation’s desire to keep aflame the ideals of EDSA.
8. People Power Experiential Museum (February 25 – 26, 2016)
In order to educate the youth about the history of Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution, a People Power Experiential Museum will be set-up, which combines elements of theater, cinema, photography, performances, installations, and other allied arts.
The site recreates the experience of Martial Law and the struggle of courageous Filipinos to awaken the sleeping masses. The visitors enter the various halls of the museum and journey through various phases of the Martial Law experience and the miraculous days of the EDSA People Power Revolution. Each phase is “guided” by an actor who assumes the role or character, either imagined or based on history, who takes the audience through the experience that the specific site represents.
The People Power Experiential Museum is expected to be both engaging and educational so that young people may be better informed about the experience of the nation under tyranny and the struggle for freedom and democracy, which was finally reclaimed by the Filipino people at EDSA in 1986.
Just outside the museum on February 25, the rest of White Plains Avenue will be transformed into a festive strip where visitors will get a chance to relive the four miraculous days of the EDSA Revolution. They will be able to gather with EDSA veterans, enjoy the meals at the food stalls, and listen to songs and watch plays that talk about that period. There will also be EDSA-themed games and contests all throughout the day.
To request for media coverage of the official events and information concerning these, please contact Pauline Balmes at 784-4286 loc. 4505, 09055394269, 09288634269, or email her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Rebel” by Ballet Manila
On the 30th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, Ballet Manila (BM) celebrates the spirit of People Power with the world premiere of Rebel – a full-length ballet by British choreographer Martin Lawrance, inspired by the rebellion of the Roman slave Spartacus while deriving characters and events from the historic EDSA Revolution. BM Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde returns to the stage as prima ballerina for the pivotal role of Inang Bayan. Rebel also features internationally acclaimed musical theater artist Joanna Ampil, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga.
Ballet Manila’s Rebel goes onstage at 8pm on February 25, 26, and 27, and at 3pm on February 28 at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available through TicketWorld Manila at 891-9999 or at www.ticketworld.com.ph. #