by: Jazie Mein Rangga || Photo Credit: Filipino News
Screams of protest, masses of large crowds, and absolute chaos.
The dates of February 22-25, 1986 marked a moment of history. Millions of Filipinos marched the streets of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), protesting against the former president, Ferdinand Marcos, to reclaim their freedom.
For nearly two decades, Filipinos lived under the authoritarian rule of the Marcos regime, going throughout the day in fear of what could happen to them, their families, and even their property. All while the Marcos’ family and allies lavish in the wealth and luxury, from not only the expense of the Filipino people, but also the national and international banks that plunged the country to grave-deep debt.
Marcos was known for large plans — projects, infrastructures, programs. These, however, were not enough to cover the grand spending and hole of debt he was digging the country deeper into. His establishment of Martial Law, the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., a long time political enemy, the snap election that he himself claimed to have won, and all the years of the oppressive and autocratic rule pushed the Filipino people to come together to form one of the biggest and most historic rallies of the Philippines. It was one of the most patriotic and bravest moments in Filipino history, giving a sense of pride to the countrymen.
Yet, some still say otherwise. If the EDSA revolution was so great, how are people still nostalgic for the late dictator’s rule, dubbing his time of ruling as the ‘Golden Era’ of the Philippines? They blame the rioters and the liberals, saying they never should’ve ousted the former president. Some even dream about the idea of letting the man rule longer than the 20 years he has painted over.
It was never the Aquinos, the Roman Catholic Church, the powerful family dynasties, or the liberals — the so-called “yellow oligarchs” — who wanted to overthrow the late dictator, no, it was about the people. The same Filipino people who shed their blood, sweat, and tears to fight for their freedom. The very same people who wanted to be treated fairly in the country they call home.
Lastly, the EDSA revolution was not a failure. In a sense, it did achieve its goals: to stop the years of abuse, to start a new era for the presidency, and to oust Marcos. But most importantly, it lent the country the helping hand, lifting it out of the hole of abuse and suffering.
February 25 marks 36 years since the People Power Revolution. Let it be a reminder that we should never forget the effort, bravery, and act of patriotism that the Filipino people have done for this country.
Hopefully, we, as the youth can also shed light on the importance of this occasion, so that our country and its people never again experience the years of trauma and torment.