Friday, January 29, 2010


The closest I’ve come to the First Quarter Storm is my experience in EDSA 2.

You can say EDSA 2 is my political maturation. It came on my third year in college, more than a year after my very first, and rather innocent, taste of political activism.

I remember that months before January 16, the very first day of almost a week long EDSA 2, there has been a steady rise of political activities inside the campus. More and more students are signing up in signatures drives to petition the government to allot more budget for education instead of the All-Out War in Mindanao. “BOOKS NOT BULLETS!” the studentry said. Each day, teachers became more accomodating to activists who knock on their doors during class to ask for a short audience with her/his class, to shortly discuss some issues and invite the class to a mass meeting, a discussion group or a forthcoming rally.

By the second semester, when the campaign is heating up, I had to make the difficult choice of dropping my Bio 11. I thought, better to drop it than receive a 5. However, when January came and students and teachers, non-academic personnel and others were pouring out of the campus and into the streets, towards the EDSA Shrine, teachers were assuring the students that everyone would receive a passing grade if the campaign drags on.

On that fateful night of January 16, when the impeachment court voted against opening the 2nd envelop, I wasn’t part of the people who launched instant noise barrages. I had just come home from school when I received the message from the text brigade to converge at EDSA. I opted to stay in, turn on the television and be part of the growing text brigade.

The following morning, I am ready to go out by 6 am. Before I was out of the door, my parents gave their blessing for the first time for my political activism. It was a very good feeling.

On the trip to the school, I proudly wore my “OUST ERAP!” pin. In Quezon Hall, students and their teachers were already there. We cannot possibly fit into the jeepneys we can readily hire. We made the decision to march from Quezon Hall to EDSA Shrine. We were approximately 5,000 all in all.

The next day, our numbers swelled to 15,000. And everyday, our numbers keep on rising.

Under the sweltering heat of the tropical sun magnified by the concrete jungle, we marched the length of EDSA chanting “Erap, Resign!” and “Sumama na Kayo!” to the cheering crowd along the highway. People lined up along the streets and cheered us on. They honked their cars and buses to the tune of our chants. It was a very heartwarming feeling when you see that you and the people are one in this historical fight.

I spent most of my days in EDSA, going home only before the sun rose to take a refreshing bathm, then it’s off to school once again to march with the students.

On the fourth night of the EDSA vigil, the closest allies of Erap have withdrawn their support. Confetti poured. The jubilitation is high. Onstage, the speaker relatedly that the anti-Erap united front is still deciding on whether to push through with the march to Malacanang or just stay in EDSA. We were consolidating our ranks by the SEC building, talking about the day, about the march, about the plans. Just across us, a church group, Youth for Christ, is having a street party. But the fight is far from over. Talks were rife that Erap is getting ready to escape the people’s wrath. If people slip into complacency, Erap might very well do another Marcos and escape to another country, far from the reaches of the popular masses. I nearly cried in frustration. As certain as they’re having a party, Erap is maneuvering to freedom. This is no time to party, it is time to be vigilant and firm.

At about 3 am, word reached us that while most leaders decided to stay in EDSA Shrine and await Erap’s final moment there. The ND forces, however, decided to bring the fight and the people closer to the proverbial seat of power. By 5 am, we were organising our forces and our fellow students who stayed overnight. We started marching towards Malacanang at 7 am. I don’t know our exact number but we were one long line of militant marchers, waving red banners and chanting slogans. We arrived in Malacanang at about 12 noon.

And the rest they say is history.

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