May 19, 2011
LP Revisits People Power
To what extent did the 1986 People Power Revolution inspire
the recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa? This
was the question asked of panelists during the "Philippine
People Power Goes Global" forum at the Liberal
"Because of recent people power events in the Middle
East and North Africa, there has been
increasing interest in the Philippine experience," according
to Mr. Jules Maaten, Country Director of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Liberty, Philippine Office.
Hon. Chito Gascon, an active participant during People
Power I, said that he was taken back to when he was a youth leader
by the images he saw of Tunisia and Egypt.
"In a personal way, I could identify what was happening."
Chito Gascon, Esq.
"Philippine People Power also draws inspiration from previous
events. Prior to this, there were similar initiatives of facing
power with truth and violence with non-violence," Gascon
added. "But Philippine People Power is one of the first
models that succeeded and the reason the Philippine case
has gone global is the succession of similar events that followed,
including the Velvet Revolution, Orange Revolution, Tulip
Revolution and Reformasi in Malaysia and Indonesia."
Dr. Benjie Tolosa
of the Ateneo de Manila University
described people power as a struggle for social and political-economic
democratization, a non-violent struggle and an unfinished struggle
for genuine democracy. At the same time, he stressed the importance
of building a successor generation in order to defend and deepen
democracy today. In following the call for ipagpatuloy ang
(continue the struggle), young people should be given
more leadership roles, mechanisms and multiple venues to engage
"People power should be viewed as a work in progress,
rather than a project completed. This has been true in
the Philippines, and this would also be true for recent democratizers
like Tunisia and Egypt," added Congresswoman Dina
Abad. "They need to be oriented on building institutions
that really work, so that the gains that the revolutionaries worked
so hard to achieve would be preserved."
This forum was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for
Liberty and Council of Asian Liberals
together with the National
Institute for Policy Studies
as part of the "Road to Manila
Congress", a series of forums in preparation for the Liberal
International 57th Congress on Human Rights and Trade
. The next
forum, "Did the Philippines Sacrifice Human Rights
in the Altar of Free Trade?"
will bring together Chairperson
Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights, Prof. Felipe Medalla
of the Foundation for Economic Freedom and Sen. Wigberto Tañada,
Chairman of the Philippine Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights
Mechanism on Thursday, 26 May, 4-6pm at the Ateneo Rockwell. This
activity is open to the public. For more information, please contact
Pauline Sanchez at 0920-9158428.
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