February 27, 2023 (11:23 PM)

4 min read


REPRESENTATION OF (T)RUTH. Jet Birondo-Goddard, together with Grace Mahinay (L) and Don Pagusara (R), shares the story of her gruesome experience looking for Ruth Emeta Dueñas (in portrait) way back during the Martial Law regime. Photo by Jerachris Megaela Rosal

Commemorating EDSA People Power Revolution’s 37th anniversary, Davao activists recalled the atrocities they suffered during the Marcos-led regime, opening discussions on a continuing struggle for social transformation in Intergenerational Sharing: Honoring Davao’s Heroes and Martyrs and Continuing the Struggle for Social Transformation.

“People Power Revolution was a political success, but a failure for social transformation,” Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana stated during her opening remarks, signifying how EDSA 37 was both a success and failure for the Philippine administration. 

“Baka mas tama na, it’s not the place that we’re honoring, but it’s really what transpired (during the People Power Revolution). Hindi siya locations specific. EDSA People Power happened across all the country,” Maglana added.

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Anthropology graduate student Amiel Lopez shared his utmost dismay in the struggle for social transformation.

“Conflicting kaayo ang hope because as we try to see the reality, the very person that we overthrew that time, is back in power.” 

Keynote speakers Fe Salino, Malu Lopez, Cris Ranoa, Grace Mahinay, Don Pagusara, Jet Birondo, and Norma Gonos gave live testimonies, struggles, and situations in Davao as part of the movement during the peak of Martial Law (ML). 

“To take the risk of entering the ocean, because only then, will fear [to] disappear. Because that’s where the river will know, it’s not about disappearing in the ocean, but of becoming the ocean itself,” Malu Lopez shared as her most memorable takeaway as a Davao activist survivor during ML. 

“It was a sacrifice for us, but compared to the other challenges, being a part [of the movement] was a really small sacrifice,” she added.

Birondo also shared her story as a church worker and of her brother, who was unjustly executed during ML. 

She noted a famous quotation that helped her overcome fear in those critical times, “It was the best of times and worst of times.” 

“Worst of times, kay daghang namatay, daghang gitorture. However, dili ma-conquer ang human spirit, kita, ang atoang human dignity ug atong desire for truth, freedom, ug justice kay dili na mapatay,” Lopez continued. 

In honoring Davao’s Heroes and Martyrs, Prosianos mentioned how disheartened he was by the failure of the social transformation after People Power Revolution. 

“I was there. I was part of history, but I never considered myself [as] a hero; it was my duty and obligation,” 67-year-old Percy Basil Prosianos stated during the open sharing.

Former Chairperson at the University of the Philippines Mindanao – College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student Council Jayvie Cabajes asserted the youth’s duties in aiding the problems of social transformation. 

“Ang pinaka-susi nga trabaho sa mga kabatan-unan karon kay ang kanunayong pagsabot sa katawhan, unsa ang nahitabo sa sinauna, unsa ang kasabtangang sitwasayon, ug unsa ang buhaton aron tarong ang kaugmaon.” 

“Ang EDSA revolution dili jud ingon nga solusyon na na kadto na jud ang tubag sa gusto nato na ginasulti na ginahimo sa gobyerno, pero ayaw kakapoy. Ipahinumdom nato sa gobyerno ug unsa ang mali,” Gonos reminded the youth in fighting for the continuing struggle for social transformation. 

Youth sectors also raised a common question, seeking tips on explaining and persuading their parents of what they are fighting for.

“Wala jud nako hunungi ug communicate ang akoang mga ginikanan, ang akoang pamilya ngano na-aktibista ko,” Birondo advised the youth during the activity.

“Tuod man, masabtan man sa akong pamilya tungod kay wala nako sila gi-undangan og pagpasabot,” she added.

Birondo shared her perspective as a mother and grandmother in influencing her children to strive for a better community and governance. 

“As long as makita nato nga there’s something wrong with our present society, how can we contribute to change it? For the parents here, mangita tag paagi, we have to be creative.” 

​Intergenerational Sharing: Honoring Davao’s Heroes and Martyrs and Continuing the Struggle for Social Transformation is an activity event hosted by Konsensya Dabaw, Sentrong Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center, MindaNews, and Social Initiatives Towards Nurturing Communities and Active Governance.

The event was conducted at Training Room 8F, CCFC Building, AdDU, on February 25, 2023.

End the silence of the gagged!

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