Article by: Liz Kang
Photos collated by: Charlene Mamaril
Under the Proclamation 655 Series of 2013, February 25, or EDSA Revolution Day, was proclaimed a school holiday by the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines. But EDSA Revolution Day is more than just a ticket out of classes. It is a day when the Philippines was finally freed from the Marcos regime and restored to democracy.
The EDSA Revolution, also known as the People Power Revolution, began in 1986, when millions of Filipino citizens united in Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Metropolitan Manila, nonviolently demonstrating against President Ferdinand Marcos’ 21-year-dictatorship. It symbolized Filipinos’ active pursuit of freedom and nationalistic pride. The “People Power” movement, led by Benigno Aquino, gained support from many sectors, including military and religious groups. Even after the assassination of Aquino, millions of Filipinos continued the protest, carrying yellow ribbons as a symbol of Aquino’s leadership. When the Marcos regime was finally overthrown, Corazon Aquino led the Philippines down a new path of democracy
The EDSA Revolution is celebrated to this day. Schools in the Philippines commemorate the event by displaying yellow ribbons on hallway bulletin boards. After Typhoon Haiyan, President Ninoy Aquino visited affected areas to encourage his citizens to stay strong, rekindling the “spirit of EDSA People Power”. Every year, the day earns recognition through reenactments of the salubungan, the turning point in the protests in which ordinary citizens, nuns, and priests stopped military tanks along Edsa and convinced soldiers to join the fight against Marcos. This year, says Secretary Coloma, Jr., “President Aquino will also hold a forum” in which Filipinos “from various sectors” will be able to share their views with the President.
The EDSA Revolution redefined the relationship between the Philippine government and its people. It showed us that the power of democracy lies with the people. It proved that a people’s unity is enough to overthrown tyranny and restore justice to a nation. So for children across the Philippines, February 25 is more than just a school holiday: it is a day to reflect on the past and look forward to their future.