Some years ago, I listened to a CD called, “20 Speeches That Changed A Nation“. It was a list of 20 Speeches that changed, made and molded our country into what it is now. In homage to that, and borrowing from that idea, I am featuring 10 Videos that I think best represent, or show us what this country is all about. This one is by no means a definitive list. But I have tried my best to get a good sampling from all over. Please add your own videos in the comment section below if you find a video that you think should be included.
Our nation is a nation stained by the blood of nationalists and martyrs who came before us. There are proud moments for sure. And there are moments we should never forget in its infamy. Here are the 10 Videos That Made our Country into What It Is Now:
10. The 1971 Plaza Miranda Bombing
The Liberal Party’s campaign rally on August 21, 1971 was held to proclaim the candidacies of eight opposition Senatorial bets as well as the candidate for the Mayoralty race in Manila. As a crowd of about 4,000 gathered to hear speeches, two hand grenades were reportedly tossed on-stage. Among those killed instantly were a 5-year-old child and The Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas. Almost everyone on stage was injured, including incumbent Senator Jovito Salonga, Liberal Party president Gerardo Roxas and Sergio Osmeña, Jr. The blast left Jovito Salonga blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. Ramon Bagatsing, the Liberal Party mayoralty candidate for Manila, lost his leg.
Then President Marcos blamed the communists for the bombing, took the opportunity to seize emergency powers and suspended the writ of habeas corpus — a prelude to declaring Martial Law.
9. Marcos Declares Martial Law
This is the iconic speech that shocked the whole nation. Rumors were afloat that it was going to happen anytime soon. And so when Marcos took over national television and gave this speech, it wasn’t so much a surprise, as it was a realization that we had finally come to what will be one of the darkest points of our nation’s history.
You can see the full text of the Proclamation of Martial Law in the PHILIPPINE PRESIDENCY PROJECT.
8. Assassination of Ninoy Aquino
Despite a convoy of security guards (all assigned to “protect” him by the Marcos government), a contingent of 1,200 military and police personnel on the apron, three armed bodyguards personally escorting him, and a bulletproof vest Aquino was wearing, Aquino was fatally shot in the head as he was escorted off the airplane. From the airplane, aviation security personnel were seen firing into the body of an unknown man dressed in blue, who was later identified as Rolando Galman. Aquino’s body was quickly loaded into a van and sped away.
The assassination of Ninoy Aquino, in the very tarmac that now bears his name, triggered a series of events that changed our nation and made us who we are.
7. Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo
This is our own version of We Are the World. Directed by the great Mike de Leon, it is the definitive video that captured the mood of EDSA 1 or the People Power Revolution of 1986. When this was shown on TV a few months after the revolution, people would cry and remember. Let us watch it too, and remember. Or forever lose that which marks us as a nation, and as a people.
6. Cory Aquino’s Speech in the US House of Congress
A proud, proud, proud moment in our country’s history. I cry every time I watch it. I don’t understand why. Maybe because at that point, Cory’s journey which she talked about in the first part of her speech, echoes the lives of every Filipino who fought for freedom and got it back. Maybe because the love and respect of the US House of Congress was very palpable when she made the speech. Maybe because it was one brief shining moment few and far between our country’s history. I cry for what was once lost. I cry for what we could have again. I cry because we always forget that we are capable of snatching victory from defeat.
5. Erap Impeachment Trial
One of the best telenovela of our times, the Impeachment Proceedings against President Joseph “Erap” Estrada created a whole new set of heroes and villains in our country. But it was an educational exercise for us Filipinos. And for the second time in our nation’s history, we ousted a President without shedding blood.
4. Hello Garci
This is not a video, but this is an audio tape that irritated Filipinos so much. But we were probably too tired to go to EDSA again, and the next option wasn’t a very good one, so we allowed Gloria Arroyo to continue. Because of this communal laziness and the fact that we have all but given up, we allowed GMA and her family to steal millions more from our coffers. Hope we don’t forget that she is the most hated President in the history of our country. Oh, and if the Garci tape is true, she would be the only Philippine president who was never voted to power!
3. GMA’s I AM SORRY Speech
I think this is the first time in the history of the Philippines that a President apologized in front of national television. Ho hum.
2. Maguindanao Massacre
There’s probably a pattern here somewhere. In the year 2009, something so barbaric and a throwback to the 1600s could still happen. I heard someone say that even the devil will be ashamed about the crime committed here.
1. Mareng Winnie vs. Mikey Arroyo
This video is important because it tells you several things: Mikey Arroyo (and his family) thinks we’re stupid, he thinks he can smile his way out of a serious allegation of corruption (please refer to his mom’s sullen I Am Sorry speech to see the difference). And Mareng Winnie puts him in his place, wipes away the smile off his face, and made him cringe and look stupid. I wonder why we’re not watching this video enough. We should. So we will never forget that he tried (and succeeded) to put one (which is probably a billion pesos worth) over us.