Speech of President Aquino at “Revolution Revisited,” a photo exhibit by Kim Komenich

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
Upon visiting the photo exhibit, “Revolution Revisited” by Kim Komenich

[Delivered at the Ayala Museum, Makati City on February 21, 2011]

From the People Power monument to the EDSA shrine, the images that fill the Ayala Museum today remind us of that time in our history: a time of hope, of miracles, of the power of the people. And some of you might think that we would be desensitized to these images by now, that we would be both used to and tired of the memories of the revolution. And yet here we are again, amazed and out of words at the mere memory of it.

The solidarity we showed that day will forever be ingrained in our memories, concretized by the kapit-bisig, by the soldiers that rediscovered their inherent goodness and nationalism in the midst of conflict, bridging the division then between civilian and military. The solidarity of the Filipino people did more than move mountains that day; it stopped tanks, it won freedom.

To this day, the hope that People Power signifies continues to inspire not only our people but those from so many nations around the world. That is what the pictures displayed here today provide: proof that the path of peace and the path of change need not diverge from each other; proof that it is indeed possible for compassion to conquer all.

Since 1986, so many tyrants have been toppled with very little blood being spilled. The Filipino people made this possible. And while we gave that possibility to the world, another possibility has for so long eluded us: that of our nation fulfilling its great potential.

That is why I believe our yearly EDSA commemorations are more than just celebrations. They are reminders of the responsibilities we must still collectively fulfill. And I believe Mr. Komenich wants to remind us of this as well. I read about his project in an article in the Philippine Star last September involving his search for the people he photographed for his Pulitzer Prize-winning images. This was more than 24 years after the revolution, but as the article said: Mr. Komenich dubbed our story as never-ending, and it seems he believes that while the revolution was the end of a regime, it was also the beginning of another journey, another story, for the Philippines.

He is right. As we look back fondly on the 1986 EDSA Revolution, we must also remember to sustain that spirit of unity because our triumph back then only remains a triumph if we make certain that each and every Filipino lives free from the darkness of oppression today. And thus, as we celebrate the 25th year of EDSA, we must ask ourselves: Have we really achieved what we wanted to achieve back then? Are we any closer?

Make no mistake about it: we are a country in the midst of a continuing revolution, and we must all continue working for the sake of what our heroes fought for, and some died for. The people know that we are gaining ground: with the lifelines we are providing for the poorest of the poor; the jobs that will be waiting for skilled graduates; the justice we are ensuring for our citizens; and above all, the transparency and accountability we are instilling in our institutions.

I know that we are capable of once again standing under that yellow banner of solidarity, of showing the world what the Filipino is capable of, and of allowing the world to stand witness to the vibrancy and power of a people claiming their own destiny.

Let us give the world more great things to witness. Help your government fulfill the promise of every revolution: that the people will disperse and go back to their homes, with their heads held high and their hearts full; able to allow their children to inherit the future they rightfully deserve.

Thank you.