People Power Revolution: What The Youth Has To Say

Len Ruel | February 25th, 2022

Today in history, 36 years back, the Philippines was at the world’s limelight when its people bravely stood up against the Marcos dictatorship. Filling up the streets of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) for three days—from February 22nd to the 25th—the Filipino masses dared to make history by ousting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. after his 21-year presidency. Much as there is to celebrate about this momentous event in our nation’s past, there are two scores that must be settled. 

One: EDSA People Power I is, was, and will never be a bloodless revolution. Throughout the dictator Marcos’ administration, countless killings were committed, political railroading was prevalent, development aggression was evident, and state-sponsored violence felt like an everyday occurrence—all in well-documented photographs, journals and records. Our collective memory of EDSA People Power I prefaces the long history of disempowering and dismantling the people’s voices, reach, and capacities. And so, People Power I became a culmination to these brutal injustices. It was the time when the Filipino people said, “We already had enough.” 

To say that EDSA People Power I is a bloodless revolution is to discount and discredit the numerous narratives of bloodshed and struggle, some of which are still finding and hoping that peace and justice may be served to end their unfinished stories. Therefore, we must orient ourselves to believe that memories of the hard-fought victory against the dictatorship came at the cost of lives, dreams, and futures. We must cling onto these memories to resonate that stronger message that history never forgets and forgives, and neither will the Filipino people.

Two: EDSA People Power never ended. The spirit of People Power I, more than just to remove the dictator from his seat of power, was also about challenging the oppressive systems and authorities that have perpetuated cycles of injustices with the Filipino people as its major victim.  The movement was about channeling that innate desire of the people to be freed from the chains of poverty, exclusion, vulnerability and insecurity; and they have successfully catalyzed a time when the Filipino people was at the heart of efforts to sustain democracy, enable development, and to ultimately affect positive social change. 

Hence, we must recognize that EDSA People Power is an era—another long chapter of our nation’s story that is dedicated to writing a narrative authored by the people, with the people, for the people. Our new story is being written but we must also realize that we have a personal responsibility in contributing to the efforts. We have to actuate our visions and aspirations for a better country for the coming generations by being present in the “now.” By educating ourselves with issues unknown to us, by instigating conversations among our social circles to raise historical empathy and a sense of urgency to act, by synergizing our initiatives together with the marginalized and the oppressed—these are just some of the ways by which we help our country’s development arc live on. 

In the end, we must believe and acknowledge that EDSA People Power is our collective memory of our shared personal responsibilities—for ourselves, our family, our dreams, and our country.


(Editor's Note)

The article is a product of a mini-focus group discussion held for TIPH members and a small number of guests. Led by the author of this blog himself, the mini-FGD asked of the meanings of the youth, who, although distant from the event and from the past, are still active, curious and passionate. The Initiative PH proudly commemorates the EDSA People Power Revolution today.

Keyword: People Power Anniversary