Cristy Sayson Arquilos

People Power Uprising, known as EDSA, is one of the significant events in the Philippines, commemorating a turning point in the nation's history. It serves as a reminder of the power of unity, democracy, and the relentless pursuit of freedom as it paved way for the Filipinos to voice out for the marginalized. Commemorated during the month of February, this event symbolizes the indelible mark that it left to the Filipino people and their journey towards democracy. But is EDSA revolution still relevant today?

The history of EDSA

It was on February 22 to 25, 1986 when the EDSA People Power Revolution began with a series of largely peaceful demonstrations that led to the ousting of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the installation of Corazon Aquino as the new President of the Philippines. It took place in and around Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), a major thoroughfare in Metro Manila, where hundreds of thousands of Filipinos from all walks of life gathered to demand change.

On February 22, 1986, thousands of Filipinos from all walks of life began to gather at EDSA to express their opposition to the Marcos regime. This massive outpouring of support for the opposition candidate, Corazon Aquino, was fueled by widespread discontent with the government's corruption, human rights abuses, and the fraudulent results of the recent snap elections.

As the protests continued to grow in size and intensity on February 23, key military and government officials began to defect from the Marcos administration. The most significant of these defections was that of General Fidel Ramos, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who announced his support for Aquino and urged other military personnel to remain neutral in the ongoing power struggle.

The situation reached its climax on February 24, when a tense standoff occurred between the remaining loyalist soldiers of the Marcos regime and the growing number of protesters and defectors at the EDSA intersection. After hours of negotiations and uncertainty, General Ramos managed to broker an agreement between the two sides, ultimately leading to the withdrawal of the loyalist forces and the preservation of peace.

On February 25, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, fled the country, effectively ending their 20-year rule. Corazon Aquino was then sworn in as the new President of the Philippines, marking the first successful peaceful transfer of power through people power in Asia.

Hence, the event not only ushered in a new era of democracy and freedom for the Philippines but also inspired similar movements around the world.

EDSA as part of the Philippine History

EDSA Revolution demonstrated the power of a democratic system and the significance of the collective voice and action of the masses which eventually led to the ousting of an authoritarian ruler. It then brought people together from various backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities, showcasing the strength of unity among Filipinos.

Aside from that, it also paved way to introduce the significance of freedom of speech and expression in a democratic society. It was then proved when it allowed the Filipino people to voice their concerns and stand up against oppression, setting a precedent for future protests and advocacies.

Relevance in the Modern Era

The main question is: are we still given the chance to speak up as of the moment?

It all rooted from the EDSA People Power Revolution as it continues to resonate in contemporary Philippine society. As the country faces various challenges, such as political instability, social inequalities, and environmental issues, the spirit of EDSA remains a guiding force for those who seek change and progress.

It serves as a reminder to Filipinos of their collective power and the importance of standing up for their beliefs as it encouraged active participation in the democratic process and fostered a sense of national pride and unity.

With its significance and relevancy to freedom, the People Power Revolution holds a special place in the hearts of Filipinos as a symbol of their resilience, unity, and unwavering pursuit of democracy. As the nation celebrates the anniversary of this historic event, it is essential to remember and honor the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and change as the legacy of EDSA continues to inspire and guide the Filipino people in their journey towards a better and more just society.