FVR opposes Malacañang's 'moving on' theme for 31st People Power revolution anniversary

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Former President Fidel Ramos agreed to attend the "subdued" celebration of the 31st People Power Revolution anniversary on one condition.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippines should never "move on" from the EDSA revolution of 1986.

This was how former President Fidel Ramos, one of the key leaders of the near-bloodless revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, responded to the Duterte government's planned low-key commemoration on Friday of the 31st anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

"Having a subdued celebration of what could be the legacy of the entire Philippines to the world… It's not 'moving on.' It's 'moving back,' the way I look at it," Ramos said Thursday in an interview with CNN Philippines' "The Source."

Malacañang announced a "very simple and very quiet" celebration of the People Power Revolution, a historic event that gathered millions of Filipinos in nonviolent mass action on the main highway of EDSA from February 22 to 25, 1986 and led to the overthrow of longtime strongman and alleged human rights violator Ferdinand Marcos.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that "It's time to move on from just celebrating the past."

Ramos agreed to attend this year's Malacañang-led celebration, but pleaded with the government to "make it a real big one next year" to preserve the legacy of EDSA.

"Please let us all put up an EDSA People Power Freedom learning center which will be funded both by the government and the people, through their voluntary contributions, because that's what people power is all about," Ramos said.

Ramos will attend the commemorative "salubong" on Friday at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where a mass and recognition ceremony will be held. He said only a few key people were invited to the event.

There's no official word yet from Malacañang about President Rodrigo Duterte's attendance but Ramos said he was told the President won't be there.

"That is also I think by design to subdue it (the event) further," Ramos said.

Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said she wants to attend the events lined up for the EDSA anniversary but she has not received an official invitation yet. She earlier said the event "deserves a more dignified treatment than a 'quiet celebration' in the guise of moving on."

Meanwhile, Ramos said he understands that holding a huge celebration at the People Power Monument on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue near the enclave of White Plains "might attract a lot of anti-government protests." This might also be one of the reasons the government chose Camp Aguinaldo as venue for the culmination program, Ramos said.

But there will be a wreath laying and flag raising ceremony at the People Power Monument on Saturday, Malacañang said.

The People Power Monument is next to Camp Aguinaldo, one of the military's main camps where soldiers led by Ramos and then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile holed up in a standoff against Marcos.

It is a sculpture of towering people created by artist Eduardo Castrillo and installed in 1993 to depict the Filipinos' unity and bravery during the revolution.

WATCH: The People Power Revolution: Icons and Symbols

Joey Concepcion, vice chairperson of the EDSA People Power Commission, earlier said they decided to hold a simple anniversary event on Friday as they are expecting "a lot of people celebrating in various formats and different expressions" on the actual holiday on Saturday, February 25.

FVR: No regrets in allowing return of Marcos' remains in PH

A coalition of civil society organizations is planning to gather at the People Power Monument on Saturday to protest Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 18.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 after the people power revolt ousted him in 1986. His remains have since been kept in an air-conditioned crypt in the Marcos Museum when the body was brought back to the country in 1993.

A 1992 agreement between then President Ramos and the Marcos family allowed Marcos's remains to be buried in the Philippines but on conditions that the body would be flown straight to Batac, Ilocos Norte to be buried at the family's mausoleum.

Ramos in the Thursday interview said he does not regret allowing the return of Marcos' remains.

"Can you imagine if that helicopter last November that flew his remains from Batac had to go all the way from Hawaii to take him to the Libingan? No possible helicopter can do that," said the former president, known for his sense of humor.

Ramos, a second cousin of Marcos and former chief of the Philippine Constabulary during the period of Martial Law, was the Armed Forces vice-chief of staff who turned his back on his commander-in-chief, then President Marcos, when he led the peaceful revolution that inspired People Power revolts in other countries.