EDSA anniversary passed unnoticed in Bukidnon

Police noted empty parks and streets even if residents spent an extended weekend, thanks to the holiday.

"Maybe the people do not really care," housewife Anita Busayo, 43, said.

"It's just another typical day," said Nonong Jalover, 49, a laborer.

PO Warlika Sadang, a desk officer at the Malaybalay City Police Station, told MindaNews Monday that no activity was organized in public to commemorate the EDSA anniversary. There was also no movement from multisectoral groups.

She did notice a big crowd in the streets at noon, but it was for a funeral procession for city councilor Amador Melendez, who died last week of stroke after being in coma for three days at the Philippine Heart Center.

Sadang said one of the reasons could be the preparations for the Kaamulan Festival and the arrival of Taiwanese dentists Monday to hold a medical mission.

"The people were in the Kaamulan grounds for the festivities. It seems they didn't care about EDSA," she said.

Provincial board member Roland Deticio, who chairs the board's committee on laws, confirmed the local governments had not lined up activities for the EDSA anniversary.

The provincial officials who won in the May 2007 elections, including the Zubiris, are predominantly pro-administration. The patriarch, Jose Ma. Zubiri is governor, son Juan Miguel Zubiri is senator while another son, Jose Ma. III, is district representative to Congress.

Around 400 priests, brothers, nuns, and lay ministers from around Bukidnon also gathered at the Diocesan Formation Center, but a staff at the Bishop's house said it was for the annual Diocesan Pastoral Assembly.

Fr. Jonathan Tianero, media coordinator of the diocese and head of its environment desk, said there was no mention of EDSA nor on the aftermath of the testimonies of Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada in the assembly.

He said maybe nothing was prepared because the anniversary came at the same time with their assembly.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who chairs the church's National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), is also expected to give inputs to the assembly on Tuesday.

"We expect that he would touch on the crisis," Tianero said.

Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), had earlier called for “communal action” to respond to the government's alleged misdeeds in the controversial ZTE-NBN deal.
Lagdameo was quoted in reports as saying that civil society must take the lead "in a sustained national campaign against graft and corruption."

Civil society leaders reportedly have espoused a new strategy for people power: to "intensify the people's outrage against the abuses of the Arroyo administration and create a snowball effect among the middle class, business sector, the students and others" in contrast to a "Sin template" spearheaded by then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

Tianero said however, they expect some action in the following days.

He admitted that Malaybalay Bishop Honesto Pacana is in Manila to attend an emergency meeting with other bishops. "Probably it's because of this  (political) crisis," Tianero told MindaNews via telephone. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)