Poverty mars Filipino freedom festival
Monday 26 February 1996
Manila - President Fidel Ramos led tens of thousands of Filipinos yesterday in a celebration of 10 years of democracy but acknowledged the goals of the "people-power" revolution had not been met.
The four days of peaceful demonstrations that forced the then president, Ferdinand Marcos, into exile on 25 February 1986, became a model for pro- democracy movements around the world. Corazon Aquino, widow of an assassinated opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, was catapulted into the presidency and restored democratic institutions.
But feelings of euphoria soon faded as living conditions failed to improve. The economy slumped, land reform slowed and the number of urban squatters climbed.
"We as a nation face a more formidable kind of tyranny," said Mr Ramos, who succeeded Mrs Aquino in 1992. "The tyranny of poverty still oppresses almost half of our people."
Over the past two months, tens of thousands of people have protested against Mr Ramos's economic policies. On Friday, about 5,000 marched through Manila's financial district, accusing the government of backsliding in the fight against poverty.
In Sunday's anniversary service, Mr Ramos called for a revival of "people power", optimism and unity. "We need to recapture the sense of unity, the sense of being one people that we possessed," he said.
The crowd cheered as two military helicopters dumped confetti on them at the large "People Power Monument" in suburban Quezon City, where Mr Ramos was speaking.
But two important players in the revolt boycotted a re-enactment of the 1986 unity between demonstrators and the soldiers who had broken with the Marcos regime: Juan Ponce Enrile, the former defence secretary and Gregorio Honasan, the former lieutenant colonel in the army. Mr Honasan said that there was nothing worth celebrating.
Over the past week, Mrs Aquino and Mr Enrile have blamed each other for the corruption and the economic hardship that continues to burden most Filipinos. Marcos's wife, Imelda, now a congresswoman, has also defended her own husband's record.
Critics say recent measures, including a new 10 per cent tax and an oil-price increase, have hurt the very poor, estimated to make up 36 per cent of the country's 68 million people.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Russian 'aggression' sees Poland rearm its military as minister warns: 'We must be ready'
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...