The People Power Revolution of 1986

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Avatar for rapsantos
3 years ago

On this day (February 25), 35 years ago. This is where it became a turning point the moment when 2 officials from the Marcos administration entered Camp Aguinaldo followed by other officials who planned to attack the camp but secretly defected from the administration. 2 inaugurations were held on that day, as ordinary Filipino people rise to support the newly elected president, and the other who will continue to rule the country for another 4 years but eventually left the country along with his family in exile as hundreds of people are about to ransack Malacañang Palace.

As millions of people filing up the northbound lane of EDSA towards the Boni-Serrano Avenue-EDSA Intersection.

As I mentioned before, the beginning of the Yellow Revolution started on February 22, 1986. Before the bloodless revolution, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos became the 10th President of the Philippines on December 30, 1965. As he continues other projects from his predecessor Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, our country was the 2nd largest economy in Asia, as he began to create infrastructures from healthcare, schools, roads, bridges, promoting our arts & culture, even nationalism. The Foreign Exchange at that time was $1 is equivalent to P2, and we export our rice to other countries worth $7 million. During his term that would last for nearly 2 decades, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rise to oppose the government after the events of the Jabidah Massacre, followed by a series of protests & civil unrest organized by students and left-wing activists in the 1970s which was called the First Quarter Storm. So with this, FM declares Martial Law signed on September 21, 1972, and he announced it via national television on September 23, 1972 - to combat the communist threat followed by series of civil unrest. It was dark times for some, but they say it was very safe. There was discipline, the country was known as the Tiger of South-East Asia. It was a time of chaos. Media lockdown, mass arrests including political opponents & critics to the likes of Sen. Pres. Jovito Salonga, Sen. Jose Diokno, and Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., unexplained disappearances & killings after Lim Seng's execution. Martial Law was lifted on January 17, 1981, to give way for the Papal Visit and his ally, Pres. Ronald Reagan to visit the country, but will retain his position as President until 1984. On August 21, 1983, after 3 years of exile in the United States, Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated where he dropped off at Manila International Airport in broad daylight, as for the Marcos administration they created a commission to investigate the murder led by Chief Justice Enrique Fernando. For us Filipinos, it was an outrage and we were shocked as they begin to lose their trust in the administration.

AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos (seated on left) and Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile (right) renounced their affiliations with the Marcos administration.

Following the events of the 1985 snap elections, the National Movement of Free Elections (NAMFREL) declares Corazon Aquino - a simple housewife who doesn't have any experience with politics won 7,835,070 votes against Marcos' 7,053,068 votes, while the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) declares Marcos was the victor with 10,807,197 votes over Aquino's 9,291,761 votes. 30 computer technicians from COMELEC walked out in protest because of fraudulent results by COMELEC, and days later 50 opposition members also walked out after COMELEC's proclamation claiming Aquino was the real victor. Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile, and AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos takes over Camp Aguinaldo, while Col. Gregorio Honasan will attack Malacañang Palace but failed since Marcos ordered the Marines to defend the palace at all costs. The moment they took over the camp on February 22, 1986, they severe their ties with the government. The armed forces are split in half. Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin urges the people of every city around the capital region to help out Enrile & Ramos. As hundreds of people from different cities, but curious about what is going on to gather at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. Hence, the People Power Revolution was born.

On February 23, 1986, Enrile & Ramos decided to change their positions from Camp Aguinaldo to Camp Crame. Unarmed civilians covering Santolan & Ortigas Avenue as people continue to gather on EDSA while they listen over the radio for any troop movement until the Marines are massing near in the east, and LVT-5 tanks approaching from the North & South. Nuns holding their rosaries knelt in front of the tanks, men & women linked arms together to block the troops. They asked the crowd to clear the way for them, but they resist. Instead, the troops retreated. The following day (February 24, 1986), more military officials had already defected instead of attacking Camp Crame, they landed through the open field. As for Enrile & Ramos, it boosted their morale the moment they cut the strings of the Marcos administration encouraging their fellow soldiers to join the movement. Aquino returns from Cebu to Manila as she was greeted by Enrile, Ramos, and other military officials. It was a peaceful & non-violent revolution, as ordinary civilians, members of the church, military officials, and left-wing activists gather to oppose the dictatorship estimated from 2 to 3 million people living in the capital region, but that is just 2% of the country's population. Here's an interesting and completely ignored fact, Gen. Fabian Ver - the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines replacing Fidel Ramos was about to prepare an attack at EDSA, but Pres. Marcos' orders were not to attack, and this was even televised when both officials argued on what will be their move against the uprising.

Corazon Aquino swore in as the 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines

On February 25, 1986. 2 inaugurations were held on that day. Corazon Aquino was sworn in as the 11th President of the Philippines at Club Filipino, San Juan City, along with Salvador Laurel as her Vice President. An hour later at the Malacañang Palace, on the Palace balcony, Marcos took the Oath of Office with First Lady Imelda Marcos. It was televised but all the television networks covering Marcos' inauguration were captured by the opposition. Hundreds of people have now gathered outside the Palace only a hundred meters away at Mendiola. The following day (February 26, 1986), they received news that Marcos and his family left the Palace as they went exile in Guam. As the news reaches the general public, many rejoiced in the streets and began to ransack Malacañang Palace.

Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and his family at the Palace balcony addressing our fellow people after his inauguration.

The Aftermath?

As the whole world turned their views to the Philippines, the People Power Revolution of 1986 became their source of influence: from the Berlin Wall, the 8-8-88 Uprising, the Tiananmen Square protests, the Romanian & Velvet Revolution. Including the Arab Spring of 2011. Pres. Aquino made reforms and a new constitution. During her presidency, many people suffered from poverty, responsible for the deaths of farmers during the Mendiola Massacre, the economy rests on the shoulders of our Overseas Workers, lack of education as they changed history from our books so the new generation who would look up on to. The legacy that left after the 1986 Revolution was a monopoly, the hegemony of the media, inequality when it comes to our justice system, justice is only for the middle & high class, and the eternal suffering of the poor.

Today's P500 bill with Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. & Pres. Corazon Aquino. They should be replaced with a different figure, or hero after they destroyed my country for decades.

I remember from our history books written that Marcos was a dictator, while Aquino was a hero of democracy. As I grew older and looking back from our country's history, first I'm not a supporter of Marcos but from my family they're avid supporters, and from their stories they experienced the safety, security, what was life back then in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Looking through his achievements as President, he did everything in his power to eradicate the filth against corrupt officials, including the oligarchs. Just like a father who would do anything for his children to live. I love my country, but looking back on what they have done to my fellow people? Marcos indeed told about what will happen when Aquino will be president, the economy will collapse, hundreds of thousands of people will be in starvation due to poverty. The moment she became president, even her son also became the president, they didn't re-open the investigation of Ninoy Aquino's death, because it was a conspiracy. The P500 bill should be replaced. Now, that the Yellow Army's influence is now in shambles to the public, there are still political figures from the House of Representatives, to the Senate, and even the Vice President should step down from their position. How many years have they already remained on their posts? Because of their money. Money from the people! They can buy things, even power. But, once the election starts next year, I'm hoping that these voters learned their lesson and give way to a new generation of leaders to change and onward with progress to the future.


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3 years ago


Fascinating story, thank you for sharing! I have started looking more into the Yellow Revolution thanks to your articles.

Also, I wanted to say, you should know there are political movements today pushing for a return to Marcos-style authoritarianism. Yesterday I saw someone literally posted on Facebook supporting "constitutional monarchy" as a political system.

They think democracy is some kind of mob rule where the majority rule over the minority, and for some reason it's better to have one person or a minority ruling over everyone, I guess?

People in history have fought and died for so many freedoms we take for granted. It can be as simple as a regulation on chemicals in cleaning supplies, or the regulation on the maximum number of hours someone works in a factory. These things were set as rules after someone got so exhausted they fell on a conveyor and died, or inhaled cleaning fumes and got lung cancer.

Yet today, you have people railing against the government for holding back companies from making a little more money with these regulations. Begging to let more people suffer for the profit of billionaires.

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3 years ago

"People in history have fought and died for so many freedoms we take for granted." I agree on what you've said, @lucas. Our ancestors sacrificed with blood and sweat to achieve freedom against their oppressors. For the Yellow Army, their definition of "democracy" is when a senator was gunned down in broad daylight, expecting to rule the country from a housewife who doesn't have any experience in politics, and use our money - the taxes that is showing from our payslips every payout so they can fill up their pockets instead of helping out our fellow people starving in poverty.

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3 years ago