On the 25th day of February, 2010, the Philippines will once again commemorate the day the Filipino democracy won over martial law. As one nation, we celebrate the triumph of the 1986 People Power Revolution.
This year marks the 24th anniversary of the four-day non-violent revolution, which took place in Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) where the major demonstrations and protests were held against the already crippling effects of Martial Law on the Filipino people.
Image Source: Clergy Join Rally
The Martial Law lasted from September 21, 1972 to January 17, 1981, under the regime of the infamous Ferdinand Marcos. The 10th President of the Philippines introduced and enforced military rule initially as an attempt to counteract the impending insurgency of Communists on the country at that time. President Marcos, however, pushed limits too far and the nation was no longer willing to just let him have his way.
The events of the revolution were triggered by two military leaders’ withdrawal of support for President Marcos. These key personalities are Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, then the Minister of Defense, and former President Fidel Ramos, then the Armed Forces’ Vice Chief of Staff. Enrile and Ramos announced during a press conference that Marcos cheated in the 1986 elections and that Corazon Aquino, the recently widowed better-half of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., had won the presidency.
Image Source: Cory Aquino's Inauguration
On that nerve-racking February 25 morning, a minor clash occurred between the Marcos-loyal troops and the two camps where Ramos and Enrile locked themselves up, Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, respectively. Mrs. Aquino was inaugurated as the 11th President of the Philippines later that day. The ceremony was held at Club Filipino while outside, about two million Filipinos applauded and celebrated. Pres. Marcos conducted his own inauguration an hour later at Malacañang Palace. After which, the Marcos family hurriedly left the Palace as the revolution began gaining ground.
The success of the non-violent revolution awed the world. To quote, CBS anchorman Bob Simon said “We Americans like to think we taught the Filipinos democracy well, tonight they are teaching the world.”
The nationwide observance of the People Power anniversary is a constant reminder of the victory of non-violent protests over bloody insurgencies. This event should always remind us Filipinos that whatever happens in the generations to follow, we will always take pride and refuge on that peaceful revolution in 1986 that restored democracy to our country.