“People Power Revolution”

Photo source: https://coconuts.co/manila/news/more-half-filipinos-werent-even-born-during-edsa-revolution/


The EDSA Revolution Anniversary is a special public holiday in the Philippines. Since 2002, the holiday has been a special non-working holiday.The greatest contribution of the Filipino people to the world, is the legacy of giving the world the first “People Power Revolution”. The French Revolution change the world controlled by monarchy under the Divine Right Theory, the monarchial form of government, where the King or Queen is given the power by God to rule over his or her subjects, was brought down by the French Revolution where the Queen of France Marie Antoinette, famous for being overthrow by revolutionaries and being publicly beheaded by Guillotine, following the abolition of the monarchy.

The People Power Revolution has inspired a call for a change of government through peaceful protests rather than bloodshed. Many similar revolutions have followed since then, taking the Philippine example of nonviolent regime change, such as that in East Germany and many other former Soviet Bloc countries. It also helped inspire the Arab Spring in 2011. Rampant corruption during the term of President Joseph Estrada led to the similar 2001 EDSA Revolution leading to his resignation from the presidency. On September 12, 2007, Estrada was found guilty of plunder beyond reasonable doubt by the Philippine anti-graft court and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on October 25, 2007. The People Power Revolution (also known as the EDSA Revolution, the Philippine Revolution of 1986, EDSA 1986, EDSAI (pronounced as EDSA One or EDSA Uno) and EDSA People Power) was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines, mostly in Metro Manila, from February 22–25, 1986. There was a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and alleged electoral fraud. T henonviolent revolution led to the departure of Ferdinand Marcos, the end of his 20-year presidential rule, and the restoration of democracy in the Philippines. President Ferdinand E. Marcos was elected president in 1965, defeating incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal by a margin of 52 to 43 percent. During this time, Marcos was very active in the initiation of public works projects and the intensification of tax collections. Marcos and his government claimed that they “built more roads than all his predecessors combined and more schools than any previous administration”. Amidst charges from the opposition party of votebuying and a fraudulent election, President Marcos was reelected in the 1969 Philippine presidential election, this time defeating Sergio Osmeña, Jr. by 61 to 39 percent. President Marcos’ second term for the presidency was marred by allegations by the opposition Liberal Party of widespread graft and corruption.

According to leftists who rioted during the First Quarter Storm, the increasing disparity of wealth between the very wealthy and the very poor that made up the majority of the Philippines’ population led to a rise in crime and civil unrest around the country. These factors, including the formation of the New People’s Army and a bloody Muslim separatist movement in the southern island of Mindanao led by the Moro National Liberation Front, contributed to the rapid rise of civil discontent and unrest in the country. Barred from running for a third term as president in 1973, Marcos announced Proclamation No. 1081 on September 23, 1972, declaring martial law with rising civil disobedience as a justification. Through this decree and after obtaining voters consent through the plebiscite, President Marcos seized emergency powers giving him full control of the Philippines’ military and the authority to suppress and abolish the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and many other civil liberties. President Marcos also dissolved the Philippine Congress and shut down media establishments critical of the Marcos Administration. President Marcos also ordered the immediate arrest of his political opponents and critics. Among those arrested were Senate President Jovito Salonga, Senator Jose Diokno, and Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., whom Marcos linked with the Communists and the man who was groomed by the opposition to succeed President Marcos after the 1973 elections. On November 25, 1977, the Military Commission charged Aquino along with his two coaccused, NPA leaders Bernabe Buscayno (Commander Dante) and Lt. Victor Corpuz, guilty of all charges and sentenced them to death by firing squad. Despite warnings from the military and other First Lady Imelda R. Marcos, Ninoy Aquino was determined to return to the Philippines. Asked what he thought of the death threats, Ninoy Aquino responded, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” On November 3, 1985, after pressure from the US government,[18] Marcos suddenly announced that a snap presidential election would take place the following year, one year ahead of the regular presidential election schedule, to legitimize his control over the country. The election was held on February 7, 1986.

The official election canvasser, the Commission o n Elections (COMELEC), declared that Marcos was the winner. The final tally of the COMELEC had Marcos winning with 10,807,197 votes against Aquino’s 9,291,761 votes. On the other hand, based on returns of 70% of the precincts[21] of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), an accredited poll watcher, had Aquino winning with 7,835,070 votes against Marcos’ 7,053,068 votes. Cardinal Vidal, after the result of the snap election, issued a declaration in lieu of the Philippine Church hierarchy stating that when “a government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so.” The declaration also asked “every loyal member of the Church, every community of the faithful, to form their judgment about the February 7 polls” and told all the Filipinos, “Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to repair the wrong. The wrong was systematically organized. So must its correction be. But as in the election itself, that depends fully on the people; on what they are willing and ready to do.” After Cardinal Vidal’s condemnation of the snap election’s fraudulent result, a message was aired over Radio Veritas at around 9 p.m., Cardinal Sin exhorted Filipinos in the capital to aid rebel leaders by going to the section of EDSA between Camp Crame and Aguinaldo and giving emotional support, food and other supplies. For many, this seemed an unwise decision since civilians would not stand a chance against a dispersal by government troops.

Many people, especially priests and nuns, still trooped to EDSA. At dawn, Sunday, government troops arrived to knock down the main transmitter of Radio Veritas, cutting off broadcasts to people in the provinces. The station switched to a standby transmitter with a limited range of broadcast. The station was targeted because it had proven to be a valuable communications tool for the people supporting the rebels, keeping them informed of government troop movements and relaying requests for food, medicine, and supplies. Still, people came to EDSA until it swelled to hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians. The mood in the street was very festive, with many bringing whole families. Performers entertained the crowds, nuns and priests led prayer vigils, and people set up barricades and makeshift sandbags, trees, and vehicles in several places along EDSA and intersecting streets such as Santolan and Ortigas Avenue. Everywhere, people listened to Radio Veritas on their radios. Several groups sang Bayan Ko (My Homeland),[33] which, since 1980, had become a patriotic anthem of the opposition.

People frequently flashed the ‘LABAN’ sign, which is an “L” formed with their thumb and index finger. ‘laban’ is the Filipino word for ‘fight’, but also the abbreviation of Lakas ng Bayan, Ninoy Aquino’s party. At dawn on Monday, February 24, the first serious encounter with government troops occurred. Marines marching from Libis, in the east, lobbed tear gas at the demonstrators, who quickly dispersed. Some 3,000 Marines then entered and held the east side of Camp Aguinaldo. At 3:00 p.m. (EST) on Monday, President Marcos phoned United States Senator Paul Laxalt, asking for advice from the White House. Laxalt advised him to “cut and cut clean”, to which Marcos expressed his disappointment after a short pause. In the afternoon, Marcos talked to Minister Enrile, asking for safe passage for him, his family, and close allies such as General Ver. At midnight PHT, the Marcos family boarded a United States Air Force HH – 3 E Rescue helicopter and flew to Clark Air Base in Angeles City 83 kilometers north of Manila. The deposed First Family and their servants then rode US Air Force DC – 9 Medivac and C – 141B planes to Andersen Air Force Base in the north of the United States territory of Guam, then flying to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where Marcos finally arrived on February 26. The United States Government documented that they entered the United States with millions of dollars in jewelry, gold, stocks, and cash.

The revolution had an effect on democratization movements in such countries as Taiwan and South Korea; other effects include the restoration of the freedom of the press, abolition of repressive laws enforced by the previous regime, the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, and the subordination of the military to civilian rule, despite several coup attempts during Aquino’s rule. In other countries, people also rejoiced and congratulated Filipinos t h e y knew. CBS anchorman Bob Simon reported: “We Americans like to think we taught the Filipinos democracy. Well, tonight they are teaching the world.”