EDSA 1: What really failed?

First published in Blogwatch.ph

There should be no debate on whether the EDSA 1 uprisingsucceeded or failed. Obviously enough, it succeeded insofar as bringing millions of Filipinos into one defining moment and toppling the Marcos dictatorship. The more significant question that must be asked is whether post-EDSA regimes succeeded or failed in living up to the hopes of the throngs who trooped to the streets in 1986.

By looking at the current predicamentof overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East, one gets a simple answer: post-EDSA regimes miserably failed.

The irony of the EDSA 1 celebrations stares us point-blank: Are we really free when we are forced to serve foreign masters just to earn a living? Are we really free when we have no option but to work at the remotest desert just to support our families? Are we really better off when more and more Filipinos are desperately leaving the country each day?

What kind of nation-building do we have when we Filipinos, the building blocks of the economy, are aggressively peddled by all post-EDSA administrations? Not surprisingly, we have a jobless economic growth as consequence. The government merely ships labor out of the country in exchange for overseas remittances, skirting its constitutional responsibility to create decent jobs locally.

It is not EDSA 1 which is the Filipinos’ offering to the world, as what the celebration’s official song “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” suggests. Narrow nationalism should not blind us to miss similar people’s uprisings which recently unfolded in Tunisia and Egypt and which continue to flare up in Libya and other Middle East countries.

Rather, we are actually the sacrificial lambs to the market demands of the world. And this shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that all post-EDSA regimes, including the current Aquino administration, all subscribed to the Marcos dictatorship’s Labor Export Program (LEP). And so while throwing diatribes against the dictatorship, all presidents after Marcos retained the labor export policy at the core of their administrations.

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