Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radyo Bandido: The Voice of Edsa

I remember my late mother and her transistor radio constantly tuned in to Radio Veritas, the only independent radio station then. I was proud of her because it was hip back then to have access to underground information that carried some very ugly truth behind Marcos and his government. When the late Cardinal Jaime Sin went on the air to call all Filipinos to the streets, we were there in a few hours.

I can still recall our company of instant revolutionaries from all walks of life, hopes switched to full gear, trekking to EDSA. In no time at all, we were singing and dancing in between hours of prayers led by nuns and priests. Fish ball carts and other stalls sprouted like mushrooms to feed millions of people who stayed vigil day and night in front of military tanks and soldiers armed with Uzis.

In the middle of it all was Radyo Veritas, our only source of breaking news. Nothing could stop the truth, even after some government troops came barging in to the radio station. They knocked down the main transmitter forcing the radio station to go off the air.  However, after only a few days, we heard the voice of June Keithley go on the air.  Radio Veritas was back from a secret location taking the name Radyo Bandido. Together with Angelo Castro, Ms. Keithley gave us a blow by blow account of what went on behind the walls of Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. They became the voice of the revolution.

Forty two years ago on April 11, the Catholic Church in the Philippines gave birth to a radio station that would help mobilize a peaceful revolution that toppled a dictator. How we manage to spread the news like wildfire, minus today's electronic gadgets, is the miracle of it all.

For this, we thank Radyo Veritas.  Mabuhay!

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