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February 2014

28 Years Ago (1986 People Power) in the Philippines

I can hear the bullets zing over us. They are very close. We are praying under a tree and I see splinters from the tree fall by my feet. We are praying. Francis, Ricky, and I are holding hands petitioning our Creator God to stop this violence.

This is February 24, 1986. I am crouching behind a car on Scout Bayoran. After our prayer, we duck for cover from behind the parked cars. My two companions are behind some other vehicles. A sniper, a military Marcos loyalist, was randomly shooting at anyone and everyone. He is atop the Channel 9 tower. Everyone is taking cover. A little while back, we were marching with a Mother Mary entourage, a prayer march in peaceful protest against violent events happening that day, namely, the Channel 9 shooting. Everyone spreads out once the bullets comes passing by our way, way too close for comfort.

Suddenly, a guy comes running towards me and joins me behind the car. He has his hand on his abdomen. "May tama ako," he tells me. (Translate: I am hit.) I look at the blood on his hand and his shirt. I know I just have to do something. I see a pick up truck trying to drive away from all the chaos. I run towards the driver and persuade him to help the injured guy. And he agrees. Other people come to help load the injured guy into the truck. Screeching truck tires. More tree splinters on the ground. All of us cowering behind a safe place.

28 years ago. I remember we later found out the Rebel soldiers came on a helicopter and shoot down the sniper perched on the Channel 9 tower. We all went home. The following day, we heard the news that the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, left the country. We all cheered. We were celebrating the freedom we gained.

28 years, and I am now residing in another country. I see the Philippines still struggling with the same issues we faced when the Marcoses were still ruling. Corruption. Extreme poverty. Crime. To be fair, many things have changed for the better. But still, almost three decades later, we are still struggling.

I am still praying to our Creator God that He will extend His mercies to Filipinos and the Philippines. I am no longer hiding behind a car or under a tree. I am out in the open. I am hoping many friends will come and join hands with me in prayer.

Tomorrow will be the Philippines 1986 People's Revolution anniversary. What can we do?