Duterte admin to hold simple People Power anniversary celebration

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(File Photo) EDSA People Power 1 monument

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government will celebrate the 31st EDSA Revolution anniversary in a "sober and simple" way — but that doesn't make it less meaningful than previous celebrations, Malacañang said on Tuesday. 

"The theme for this year's celebration is, 'A Day of Reflection,' and that's precisely the reason why there's no pomp in this year's anniversary celebration," Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said at a press briefing.

He said people might be making comparisons between the EDSA celebrations of the Aquino and Duterte administrations.

The 30th EDSA anniversary took place during the last year in office of President Noynoy Aquino, the son of democracy icon Senator Ninoy Aquino.

Read: Pres. Aquino: Marcos regime was not a 'golden age' in our history

"Just like any young lady who's celebrating her 18th birthday, we normally celebrate it with pomp. But when she celebrates her 19th birthday, that doesn't mean that if there's no celebration similar to her debut that her birthday is given any less significance," Guevarra explained.

He said the government has lined up a program that will culminate in a commemorative event on Friday at Camp Aguinaldo, where a mass and a recognition ceremony will be held.

Also known as the People Power Revolution, the EDSA Revolution is a nonviolent protest against the authoritarian rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. 

The revolution, which lasted from February 22-25, 1986, restored democracy. 

Protests expected

Joey Concepcion, vice chairperson of the EDSA People Power Commission, said they decided to hold a simple anniversary event on Friday instead of Saturday, February 25. 

Concepcion said they are expecting "a lot of people celebrating in various formats and different expressions" on Saturday.

A coalition of civil society organizations is planning to gather on Saturday to protest Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Senator Leila De Lima, a critic of President Duterte, had previously called on Filipinos to "fight the greatest fight since the People Power Revolution" to protest extrajudicial killings.

Read: Anti-Marcos groups hold protests on Bonifacio Day

Guevarra said the government will allow protest activities as long as these follow rules.

"This is exactly the freedom that EDSA, the EDSA Revolution wanted us to have, all right: freedom to express yourselves, freedom to rally, freedom to gather together and express your sentiments," he said.

But why will the government hold the celebration at Camp Aguinaldo instead of the People Power Monument? 

Guevarra explained Camp Aguinaldo is where the revolution began. 

It is where then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and then Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos announced their resignation from the Marcos Cabinet.

Concepcion said Ramos will attend the event. But there's no word yet about President Duterte's attendance.

Guevarra said Aquino was also sent an invite last week, but he has not yet confirmed his attendance.