Former President Fidel V. Ramos skipped the commemoration of the 33rd EDSA People Power Anniversary held at the EDSA People Power Monument on Monday.
The EDSA People Power Commission said that Ramos was supposed to attend this year’s rites but had to beg off due to health reasons.
“We are sad that because of the conditions of his body, he was not able to attend and even his book launching last time in Club Filipino, he was not there as well,” Commission member, Pastor Boy Saycon told media at the sidelines of the ceremony.
“We only ask that everyone must pray for him and we hope he will be here in the future EDSA anniversaries,” he added.
Ramos, one of the key personalities of the bloodless uprising, usually leads the ‘Salubungan’, the traditional reenactment of the 1986 historic meeting of government forces and civilians on EDSA, together with then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.
Ramos was the Philippine Constabulary chief during the regime of late President Ferdinand Marcos. His actions, together with Enrile, led to the ouster of the late strongman and propelled Corazon Aquino into presidency in 1986.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde also skipped the event and was instead represented by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar.
Eleazar offered no reason for Albayalde’s absence but said that representing the country’s top cop in events like this is no longer new for him.
“Nangyayari naman talaga iyan na may pagkakataon na for several times o dahil sa dami rin ng schedule ng ating Chief PNP ay ako’y inaatasan na mag-represent sa kaniya,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte also snubbed this year’s EDSA rites as he has in the past three years. But Malacanang clarified that this has nothing to do with his closeness to the Marcoses, who were ousted by the revolution.
Philippine National Artist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, meanwhile, lamented the diminishing number of attendees in the annual EDSA People Power Anniversary commemoration.
“Sa palagay ko, dahil maraming masalimuot na suliranin sa ating bansa, lalo na ngayong election time, kaya siguro walang panahon sa ngayon,” she said in her speech when she received the Freedom Award given to select personalities in recognition of their contributions during the peaceful uprising.
“Nguni’t naniniwala ako, hindi maaaring iwaksi sa ating kamalayan ang napakaningning na kaganapan sa buong mundo, na [naging] halimbawa ang Pilipinas sa mapayapang pagtatakuwil ng diktaturya, sa pagbabalik ng demokrasya at hanggang ngayon. Meron mang suliranin at karahasan, tayo ay nakikilaban, patuloy iyan,” she added.
Education Undersecretary Lorno Dig-dino also stressed in her speech the importance of including the lessons of the peaceful revolution in today’s curriculum for the younger generation of learners.
Dig-dino represented Education Secretary Leonor Briones who was invited as the event’s guest of honor.
“The lessons that we learned 30 years ago are lessons that are still very valuable today. Iyong lessons of peace, iyong united effort. Iyong lessons na po iyan ay para sa akin po ay classic lessons, so kahit kalian, kailangan po buhay na buhay ang selebrasyon para buhay na buhay po sa ating lahat at sa mga susunod na henerasyon, matutunan din ang lessons na iyan,” Dig-dino urged. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Aiko Miguel)