#NeverForget: High Five Facts About the EDSA People Power Revolution

by Karen Morales
EDSA Revolution
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Nearly four decades have passed since the historical EDSA People Power Revolution that changed the fate of countless Filipinos for generations. Known as a nonviolent uprising, this remarkable event in the history of the Philippines has played a pivotal role in bringing democracy back to the nation.

Now that the times have drastically progressed, many are at the brink of forgetting how freedom was once unwillingly taken, and how it had been won back. No progress shall be truly achieved without those who never forget to look back.

Therefore, in commemoration, let us travel back in time through these high five facts about the EDSA People Power Revolution.

 

The Reason

EDSA Revolution Reason

Manila Summit Conference in 1966. Photo by Presidential Museum and Library PH (2010-2016).

Years before the revolution, then-president Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law for 14 years, resulting in longtime oppression under the authoritarian regime. After having ruled for over two decades, Marcos was dared to prove that he still enjoyed the mandate of the Filipino people. Only a few months later, a snap election was conducted for the presidential and vice-presidential positions. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) proclaimed that the results unanimously showed Marcos’ party winning despite the recount of the National Movement on Free Elections (NAMFREL) which clearly revealed the opposition’s win.

This electoral fraud fueled growing resentment against the dictatorship, which according to the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, was one of the key events that sparked the Filipino people to revolt from February 22 to 25, 1986 along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).

 

The Instigators

EDSA Revolution  instigator

Artists and performers celebrated onstage after Marcos was ousted. Photo by Erwin Elloso, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986.

After the declaration of Marcos’ victory, 30 COMELEC computer technicians walked out in protest to the deliberate manipulation of official election results. This gesture affirmed the allegations of vote-buying, fraud, and tampering with election results, making it one of the first sparks that ignited the revolution.

Days later, a military coup was staged by former allies of the Marcos administration in response to the ridiculing result of the snap elections. One of the plotters contacted Manila’s Cardinal Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Sin, for his support as they rebelled against the regime. Government troops scattered around them, essentially trapping them in between the headquarters of the armed forces and the national police. Cardinal Sin then urged the public to bring food and encouragement to the entrapped rebels in EDSA through an announcement on Radyo Veritas.

Despite the obvious threat of getting in between the traitors and the military, crowds of civilians from different walks of life rushed to EDSA to peacefully show their support.

 

The Protest

EDSA Revolution

Millions of Filipinos halted military trucks in EDSA on February 24, 1986. Photo by Roland Neveu.

As columns of armored tanks and heavily armed battalions barricaded the perimeter of EDSA, the civilians rallied their cause with songs, slogans, and prayers, showing force in the most peaceful way possible. This portrayed the values and strength that Filipinos have as a nation. With hearts and arms linked together, they made the impossible possible in just a matter of days, as documented in countless primary news sources from the period.

 

The Aftermath

EDSA Revolution

Corazon Aquino was inaugurated as the 11th president of the Philippines. Photo by Presidential Museum and Library PH (2010-2016).

The once Marcos-led military forces later on deflected and withdrew, prompting the people’s inauguration of Cory Aquino (Marcos’ opponent) as the new president of the republic. Marcos and his family were then exiled and sought refuge in Hawaii (with the help of United States’ government officials) where he eventually passed away. This victory against tyranny marked the return of democracy to the hands of the Filipinos.

 

The Worldwide Impact

EDSA Revolution

Millions of Filipinos rallied at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. Photo by Joey De Vera, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986.

This was not the end of the revolution, but the beginning of change in the country and around the world. On a visit to the United States, then-president Corazon Aquino addressed the joint session of the US Congress to discuss her commitment to peace and to restoring democracy in the Philippines, which was received with a standing ovation by the representatives in attendance.

The People Power Revolution did not only change the course of Philippine history, but the world as well. It affected the democratization movements in South Korea and Taiwan. Many other revolutions of similar nature followed suit, such as the one in East Germany and other former Soviet Bloc countries, most of which had direct connections to the end of the Cold War years later.

This list is just a glimpse of the tyranny that occurred during Ferdinand Marcos’ authoritarian rule and the solidarity that it had inspired. May it serve as a reminder of the power that the citizens hold to achieve justice and freedom together, and to #NeverForget no matter how long a time may pass.

 

What are your thoughts about the EDSA People Power Revolution? Let us know and share it in the comment section below!

 

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