MANILA (UPDATE) — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Saturday said he is offering his "hand of reconciliation" again "to those with different political persuasions" as the country commemorates the 37th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
Marcos is the namesake son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. who was ousted by the peaceful revolt after being in power since 1965. The country is commemorating the event under a Marcos presidency for the first time.
"As we look back to a time in our history that divided the Filipino people, I am one with the nation in remembering those times of tribulation and how we came out of them united and stronger as a nation," Marcos said.
"I once again offer my hand of reconciliation to those with different political persuasions to come together as one in forging a better society — one that will pursue progress and peace and a better life for all Filipinos," he added.
Marcos also said people are "free to speak their minds and challenge realities that shake their convictions and beliefs" as the world grows and matures.
Democracy, he said, will only truly be possible when people abandon ideas of “individualism” and “embrace our infinite love for humanity.”
He also stressed the importance of unity.
“If we truly stand for democracy, let us face the future by making our sense of community and patriotism the defining cornerstones of our society and the overarching goals of all our efforts in nation-building,” he said.
“To obtain our aspirations moving forward, we must compose ourselves and appropriate our actions towards settling our differences and identifying collaborative ways to nurture our society,” he said.
“By accepting our diversity, we deepen our interpersonal relationships and discover how to make things work better for all.”
Marcos was not present at the event's commemoration at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.
He was in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte for the Tan-ok ni Ilocano: Festival of Festivals on the eve of the People Power anniversary.
Malacañang had said Feb. 25 is a regular working day after Marcos signed a proclamation moving the special non-working day to Feb. 24 in line with the "principle of holiday economics."
About 6 in 10 Filipinos believe the spirit of the EDSA Revolution is alive, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll showed.
According to reports from human-rights watchdog Amnesty International, there were 100,000 victims of Martial Law, with 3,000 killed, 34,000 tortured, and 70,000 arrested.