Monday, March 7, 2011

People Power: Looking back through the Years

by Jay Fermin

The Philippine Revolution known as the ‘EDSA Revolution’ and also the ‘People Power’ Revolution happend 25 years ago. Almost 2 million Filipino civilians, as well as several political, military and religious leaders joined the series of street protests from February 22-25, 1986. The majority of the demonstrations took place along Epifano de los Santos Avenue, commonly known as EDSA, in Quezon City.

Almost 40 percent, an estimated 39 million of today’s populace of 98 million in the Philippines were not yet born when the People Power Revolt occurred which led to the dismantling of President Ferdinand Marcos’ 20 year rule.

The years leading to 1986 were the most turbulent times. The New People’s Army (NPA) were active in most of the 71 provinces of the archipelago. They were about ready to launch a tactical offensive, having a peak of 25,000 fighters supported by a huge mass base at the countryside.

What stopped them on their tracks was the assasination of opposition leader Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, which swung the pendulum of the peoples’ support to the political opposition of Ninoy’s widow, Corazon Aquino, who ran with vice-president Doy Laurel under the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), the party that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and restored democracy during the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Today, when most of the 7,526 victims of the Marcos regime are finally getting their compensation from human rights abuses in the initial payment of $ 1,000 from the approved distribution of $7.5 million to the members of the class action lawsuit, the Philippines is reeling in corruption within the military and the government.

Looking back on this historic event almost a quarter of a century ago, can we say that the landscape of Filipino politics have indeed changed? Are we better off today than when we were in 1986? Only time will tell.