For 26 years now, History kept on fondly reminding us the vivid memories of the first People Power Revolution in 1986. Whenever people who flocked on the busiest street in the country would tell their own stories of how the vast yellow sea of humanity – with only food, flowers and prayers as their weapons – won over the threats of pirates through those tanks and soldiers with high-powered guns, one could see their nostalgic smiles and read at the back of their minds their strong desire to bring back that unifying force that was EDSA 1.
For today’s youth who were born months after that historic event or weren’t even a possibility then, they could not totally appreciate it. I must admit, yes, we were not physically present there, it’s just a mere memory or part of the History curriculum. And yes, I couldn’t avoid thinking that the revolution had failed us; in fact, I could see the proof in the news and on the streets.
But here comes the point. The pressure – or the grace, rather – is on us. The pressure to record everything our parents and other EDSA 1 personalities and participants tell us, do them according to the demands of the times, and pass it on to future generations. But we also have the grace – our mere youth and the fresh ideas we can always think – and more of it is needed to preserve the virtues exemplified by EDSA 1, enrich and sustain the legacy it left us, and do the rest. Therefore, the revolution hadn’t failed us; in fact, it still continues until now, with more worthwhile causes.
One virtue we learned on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution was the sacrifice one can make for a noble cause. And that cause was to protect, nurture and save our natural environment.
iamninoy-iamcory Movement, together with the Project Inspire campaign of the Ayala Malls, Community Action for Reforestation (CAREFOR) and Fostering People’s Education, Empowerment, Enterprise (FPE3), organized “Nurture the Marikina Watershed”, a tree nursery and planting initiative. Volunteers of all ages and from different sectors, including the graduates of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey (NCALJ), took part in gathering tree wildings and, in the future, planting them in the vicinity of the watershed. It was considered a new form of ‘people power’ which would build enough nurseries to produce more tree wildings that would be replanted in the area.
That line from Sir Ben Tangco, managing director of the iamninoy-iamcory Movement, said it all: “Kung sila ay nasa kalsada at ginugunita nila ang nakaraan, tayo naman dito ay itatanim ang binhi ng kinabukasan.” Knowing that we are now experiencing the hazards brought by climate change, we have already created and must meet the goal of providing the future generations with a cleaner, greener and safer world as a way of commemorating and preserving the legacy of EDSA 1.
We learned from the facilitators from CAREFOR and community volunteers from Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal (which is part of the Marikina Watershed) the actual process of nursing the tree wildings – from putting the soil in small black bags, trimming the roots and leaves of the wildings, sprinkling the soil-filled bags with water, planting the wildings on the moist soil, and gathering them in their respective chambers.
Everyone worked accordingly in the said process, and eventually made friends with each other.Some of us even jokingly sang the lines “Magtamin ay ‘di biro / Maghapong nakaupo…” or threw their what-they-call pick-up lines at each other as realizations of how tiring yet fun the activity was. Also, the breathtaking sights of the green-draped hills, the stream where cool and clear water flowed freely, and the warm hospitality of the residents were bonuses to the fun we had and the lessons we learned there.
How wonderful that despite: the early call time; the difficult trip en route to the venue and back to the meeting place; the scorching heat; the mud we got on our hands and stuck on our clothes and shoes; and the exhaustion we felt after the activity, we managed to sacrifice everything we had to fulfill the said cause. And all these were worth a very enriching experience.
I realized that that was what EDSA 1 was trying to teach us in its 26 years of remembrance. Back then, people fought for liberation and democracy by sacrificing their lives on the streets for four days no matter how grave the threat imposed by the military was. Now, as we face challenges and problems of all sorts in our families, communities and even in our country, we are called by the memories of EDSA 1 to reach out and help each other to confront all these and come up with long-term, feasible and beneficial solutions. Through that, we can revive and pursue the virtues that defined the event that changed the course of Philippine history: courage, faith and sacrifice.
Let us preserve our natural environment. Let us nurture our future. Let us preserve and nurture the legacy of EDSA 1.