EDSA People Power 31 Years Later: Of Memories and Democracy

ARTWORK: "Ang Patuloy Na Pag-usad ng Lipunang May Sayad" by Sangviaje

ARTWORK: "Ang Patuloy Na Pag-usad ng Lipunang May Sayad" by Sangviaje


February 25 marks the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution – a peaceful series of mass demonstrations that ousted former president Ferdinand Marcos from power. 

What is EDSA now --- especially to those who haven’t been born yet during the time of political turmoil through the years of dictatorship --- but a mere highway, and a constant symbol of anguish for those who have to travel hours in heavy traffic?

A vestige of the past

EDSA People Power is a melting point and symbolism that we are not alone. It is a long narrative, whose context we must understand from the very beginning.

The People Power revolution was not a one day event but a series of actions that culminated in the streets.

To disregard People Power is to disregard the sovereign people’s power. With uncertainty, they chose to fight for freedom at all costs.

Regardless of political colors, we can never deny that EDSA People Power succeeded in its vision: to overthrow an oppressive regime. What happens next, though, is another round of contemplation and discussion.

Where are we now as a democratic nation who once fought for the rights and dignity of our fellowmen? Does this generation still uphold the democracy and rule of law fought for by those courageous enough to take to the streets and brave martial law?

Where did this democracy lead us? Did the electorate give power to genuine leaders who would serve the Filipino people with integrity, excellence, and the country’s best interest at heart? Or did this very democracy lead us to the damnation of our nation?

Now more than ever, there is a need to never forget. Memory is frail when only a number of people remember.

The discourse continues and thanks to the People Power Revolution, it has given us back our right to ask and voice out opinions---energizing a citizenry long silenced by a dictator. 

EDSA People Power is proof that collective action can bring about massive changes. 

The People Power makes us realize that our faceless, nameless neighbor we haven’t seen before in our lives is our strongest ally in changing social realities. The people’s movement is a testimony of the immense possibilities we can achieve as a nation. People coming together, fighting for the same thing, has dethroned a dictator. It has restored democracy and returned the power back to the Filipino people.

Let’s not undermine the actions of our forefathers. The struggle and fight does not stop there.

We move forward without forgetting the past and the lessons it has instilled. We, as a nation, cannot afford to stand complacent in the face of political turmoil. We cannot afford to simply forgive and forget.  

We all have our torches to bear and the responsibility to uphold democracy. YES, oligarchy, impunity, and corruption found its way back into the system, crippling it but this is precisely the spirit of the EDSA Revolution: to not let the system destroy this country.

This is, then, the legacy of EDSA People Power 1986: Acknowledging the power of civil resistance against an oppressive authoritarian regime, it is proof that we can and we will topple it again, when the need calls for it.