Filipinos fondly recall "people power"
As Arab authoritarians are being battered and even swept aside in a tide of popular uprisings, Filipinos are marking the anniversary of their own moment of democratic triumph 25 years ago.
One hero of the now-famous “people power” movement credits Filipinos with helping sustain people's hunger for genuine change and true freedom around the world and in the Middle East.
Senate President and former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile is convinced the People Revolution at Edsa in 1986 changed not only the Philippines, but the world as well.
Enrile made his remarks at remembrance activities for the 25th anniversary of the historic event held in the very room of the Department of National Defense where he and former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos - who later on became the Republic’s 12th President - withdrew their support to the former strongman, President Ferdinand Marcos.
The room was being repurposed as a museum commemorating this critical stage in the People Power drama, where the “Edsa heroes” made their historic decision to oppose Marcos on February 22, 1986.
EDSA 1 was “one of our nation’s finest moments, which made every Filipino proud. I firmly believe that EDSA People Power was the Filipino nation’s greatest gift to the world,” Enrile said.
The Senate President said he recognizes the yearnings and even similar techniques in the ongoing massive demonstrations that have already pushed Arab leaders out of power in Tunisia and Egypt.
“May each Filipino hold his head up high and say, with unmistakable pride, that EDSA did not only change us, but it also changed the world, for even in the 21st century, it continues to inspire hope and bring encouragement to people who are desperately longing for freedom and democracy,” Enrile continued.
Unlike the most recent events in Libya, where scores have been reported killed by security forces, the Philippines’ self-styled “people’s revolt” was a bloodless revolution, which earned the world’s respect for the citizens' restraint.
Enrile described People Power as “one single event, yet a very powerful and very meaningful one that has inspired similar movements abroad, leading to the fall of the Berlin wall, the dismantling of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in Eastern and Central Europe, and the emancipation of people from the clutches of tyranny.”
The Senate President said he was “humbled and honored by the opportunity of playing a prominent part in EDSA and claimed it was one of the highlights of his public career and his being a Filipino.
“And it is my fervent wish and prayer that the Filipino people will keep the spirit of EDSA alive in their hearts.”
Despite his pride in the accomplishments of People Power, Enrile said he would not join any such movement in the future, fearing it would set the country back too far.