A former Arroyo executive revealed that organizers of the 31st EDSA People Power anniversary have decided to scale down the annual celebration on the bloodless revolution which kicked out the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos because they feared adding to Metro Manila’s hellish traffic.
In a press conference, former National Commission for Culture and the Arts Executive Director Cora Guidote Alvarez said: “Alam po ninyo naririnig namin as years passed, minumura nila ‘pag meron traffic. Kaya mabuti naman lang ito na not to add to the traffic crisis but not to deviate from the intention of really protecting the memory, the integrity of history na hindi binabalewala.”
Guidote denied that Duterte’s decision to allow the burial of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November was connected to the low-key celebration. “We don’t want amnesia inflicted on our nation,” said Alvarez.
Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, vice president of the EDSA People Power Commission, said they have agreed to keep the anniversary a “very simple affair” inside Camp Aguinaldo with the budget limited to no more than P1 million. “We decided to do it on Friday because we felt that Saturday, there will be a lot of people celebrating in various formats and different expressions,” said Concepcion. February 24, of Friday, is a regular working day.
Concepcion is the son of National Movemement for Free Elections (Namfrel) founder and former Trade Secretary Joe Concepcion who spent millions of pesos to hold lavish celebrations for EDSA People Power when he used to be its party organizer.
Concepcion said people who want to celebrate outside Aguinlado and on the street were free to do so as long as “hey conform to the law ‘no and they don’t disturb traffic, which is one of the very reasons why we decided to put it in the AFP grandstand.”
Concepcion said people should not look too much into the lack of confirmation on Duterte’s attendance because he was busy and he would be represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Meardo Gueverra explained that having simple ceremonies did not mean the event was less significant to the Duterte administration. He said the Duterte administration just wanted to “quiet down and reflect.” “Just like any young lady who’s celebrating her 18th birthday, we normally celebrate it with pomp. But when she celebrates her 19th birthday, that doesn’t mean that if there’s no celebration similar to her debut that her birthday is given any less significance,” said Guevarra.
Concepcion admitted there was little time to prepare the event (he was assigned the job a week ago) because of their busy schedule.
“Let’s try to define how we think it’s simple. I mean the 30th definitely is — being the 30, that’s the biggest event. I mean, it’s like our ASEAN 50th ‘no. It’s…You celebrate it. The 31st … many things are happening this year. I mean, we have the ASEAN event and that is keeping everybody busy including so many other programs that this government is trying to do,” said Concepcion.