Tag Archives: EDSA

[People] The Success and Failure of the EDSA Revolution by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Success and Failure of the EDSA Revolution
Fr. Shay Cullen
26 February 2016

325-fr-shay-cullenIt’s the 30th anniversary of the non-violent people’s power “revolution” that toppled the cruel and bloody Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Ironically, the son and namesake of Ferdinand E. Marcos called Bongbong, who is a senator, is making a strong bid with powerful financial backing for the vice president this election year 2016. For some, it is terrifying to see that a once political T-Rex, thought to be extinct, can make a comeback. If elected, he is only a heartbeat from becoming president should the president have health problems or resigns.

Who would have thought that the bloodiest tyranny and economic disaster to befall the Philippines would ever be so quickly and easily forgotten and overwhelmed by clever and consistent propaganda of the Marcos family and their cronies?

Today, the new generation of Filipinos has little knowledge or awareness of the events and human suffering of that dictatorship that was propped up by the United States of America. President George Bush Sr. praised to high heavens the Marcos regime for adhering to “democratic principles and processes.”

At the same time, hundreds if not thousands of dissenting and protesting Filipinos were being disappeared, tortured and murdered by the Marcos death squads and those of his cronies. The traditional ruling oligarchy of dynastic families who owned and controlled the country, the one percent more or less, were driven into exile or jailed and lost their economic power and their business empires were taken over by Marcos and his followers.

The great success of EDSA bloodless revolution by non-violent, passive resistance and the accession to the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino was that it was a mass movement and relatively bloodless. It was a protest movement against the dictatorship showing that huge numbers can change the political status quo. The middle class was motivated by social activists and human rights advocates, the Catholic and Protestant Churches and funded by the political dynasties in exile.

The great weakness and failure of the revolution was that it was not a “revolution.” It was the return of the exiled dynastic families to power who had lost their economic power and plotted the Marcos downfall from abroad.

It was not a revolution like that in the historical revolutions of France, Russia, China, Cuba- violent and inspired by ideology and supported by the poor, the oppressed and the hungry masses and led by the communists and other political groups.

The left leaning trade unions, students, young professionals and communist insurgents in the Philippines led the active resistance and street protests and many were killed and tortured by Marcos and his goons. They did not have a popular heroic opposition leader but the exiled elites did, Benigno Noynoy Aquino, who was assassinated as he returned from exile in the United States.

His arrival was the symbolic return of the traditional ruling elite and the dynastic families to challenge Marcos and claim what they believe was their “rightful privileges and entitlement.” The dynastic families were the oppressive landowners and industrialists since Spanish times and they claimed to be of Spanish lineage and to be the true owners of the Philippines by right of conquest. They drew much support from the powerful and very wealthy Chinese -Filipino community.

The great failure of the Left, despite the sacrifice of so many, was their inability to mobilize the people behind a heroic popular leader because they had none. The failure of the Aquino presidency was that it was the return of dynastic family system supported by the church. Why would they abolish the system, perverse as it is, that gave them power and influence and great wealth? This is what the Left would want.

It would be political self-immolation had the revolutionary government of Corazon C. Aquino declared laws banning family dynasties and nationalization of private estates over twelve hectares for proper land reform and nationalization of utilities and all natural resources.

That was their chance to transform this country to a just and fair nation and give equality to the people. They should have repealed presidential decrees and laws of Marcos that unfairly favored certain industries and cronies.

They did not but they took back control of the industries and the unfair laws now favor them to this day. That is one of the factors that explains why the economic growth today favors the ruling elite and excludes the middle class and the poor. The Marcos regime did the elite families a big favor. The Marcos decrees have not been repealed and few people ever ask why not.

The dark side of the Marcos regime was the death squads and they too continue to this very day as tools of the ruling elite. The evidence is clearly and well documented by Human Rights Watch with confessions from the assassins themselves as seen on YouTube and the Human Rights Watch website.

The record of the murdered human rights workers, pastors and priests and environmentalists and journalists is the undeniable truth that the practice of assassination of the Marcos regime is still imbedded in the Philippine political system.

A presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, using bombastic rhetoric and dire threats littered with expletives favors another martial law regime if he gets elected and is linked to Death Squads in Davao City. He denies any wrongdoing.

Death squads are already active in campaigning for the upcoming elections as opponents are already getting assassinated. Ferdinand “BongBong” R. Marcos Jr. is in the running for the position of vice president and claims the era of his father was a “golden age” of The New Society.

The nightmare for the Filipino people is if Duterte and Marcos win.


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[Press Release] Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’ -PM

Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’

The 1986 People Power uprising created great opportunities for the country to move forward and to fulfil the great Filipino dream of enjoying a better quality of life.  Yet for the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the past 28 years can truthfully be described as ‘sayang’ or wasted opportunities bungled by post Edsa rulers.


In a statement PM enumerated some of the major achievements of Edsa, which, if haven’t been wasted, could have transformed the life of the working people adequately better.

These include the dismantling of the Marcos dictatorship and replacing it with a relatively more liberal order; the institutionalization of anti-corruption measures; the ratification of a new Constitution that embodied a strong national patrimony and social justice provisions; and; the regular holding of national and local elections thereafter.

“But behind Edsa’s democratic façade were undisputable facts about its failed outcomes,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

The group stated further that while every Filipino especially those who braved the streets against the dictatorship must be recognized for making Edsa 1 and also Edsa 2 possible, it is worth evoking as well that there really is a visible failure in making life better for the masses under the rule of post-Edsa regimes.

Notwithstanding the unaddressed problem of corruption, PM cites as a more biting example the failure of the two Aquinos (Cory and PNoy) to capitalize on their immense mandate and popularity to move the country away from the ‘business-as-usual’ development path imposed by foreign and local capital.

“So when PNoy asked his cabinet men and women on why the unemployment rate remained high despite the remarkable growth in GDP over the past several years, it only showed how pathetic the second Aquino can be to remain puzzled over the issue of jobless growth which is a problem that has been there since the time of his mother,” said Magtubo.

The average unemployment rate in 1986 was 6.7 percent. In December 2013 it stood at 7.3 percent based on government’s official survey to as high as 27.5 percent based on the survey by Social Weather Station (SWS).

The group also drew some pessimistic parallelism on the two Aquinos, particularly on the power issue.  PM explained that Cory Aquino left the Presidency with a crippling power crisis.  PNoy might finish his term in 2016 leaving the same problems of high power rates and thinning power supply.

And with the elite class apparently exercising full control of government and businesses, the group considers the PNoy government very far from being inclusive.

In conclusion, PM pointed out that the major failures of Edsa led to the perpetuation of elite rule, inequality, and chronic poverty in the country. They include:

§  The intensification rather than the weakening of political dynasties due to lack of political reforms and the pervasiveness of corruption;
§  The dogged subservience to neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and liberalization which prevented the country’s march towards industrialization and inclusive growth;
§  The corporate capture of almost all branches of government.

The group, however, won’t declare people power as “sayang”.  It maintained that all is not lost of Edsa, specifically on the necessity and wisdom of resistance and collective action taking this form.

“Workers will never give up the union spirit of collective action.  With the whole system faithfully serving the interest of the 1%, we have no choice but to keep the people power option our ultimate recourse to effect change that is truly meaningful,” concluded Magtubo.

Partido ng Manggagawa
25 February 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza

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[Statement] 28 years after the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, cyber-martial law is now here to repress us -SANLAKAS

28 years after the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, cyber-martial law is now here to repress us

Today marks exactly twenty-eight years since the much-hated fascist Marcos Dictatorship was ousted by the Filipino masses in their millions across the Philippines, especially at EDSA.  As the chief architect of Martial Law in September 1972, Ferdinand Marcos, together with his brutish reactionary minions, collapsed and fell under the collective and united will of the broad masses on February 25, 1986.  Yet, although they have not totally forgotten our country’s historic past, the people’s political spirit must always continue to remain vigilant and even more aflame today.


The ousted anti-democratic regime was merely replaced with a liberal democratic one under the leadership of yet another faction of the Philippine ruling-elite. This replacement regime, however, never brought about any real and genuine economic, social and political change throughout our society.  For nearly thirty years now, our society’s poor majority continues to remain marginalized, exploited and oppressed.  Thus after EDSA-1, the 99% social majority was never liberated from a social-economic system that persists in upholding a class-divided Philippine society on the basis of a few rich and powerful elite harshly ruling over the poor working-class masses in a near-permanent manner.

For almost three decades already, all Philippine presidents and their respective governments have only successfully pursued an anti-poor neoliberal policy agenda.  In direct collaboration with local and foreign big capitalist interests and deliberately kept under the external dictation of American imperialism, the Philippine state’s traditional political leadership has never consciously committed itself to uphold our people’s general welfare and sovereign aspirations through any necessary systemic change.  On the contrary, the highly reactionary ruling elite, largely characterized by the trapo political dynasties, continually tries to find various ways and means to keep the poor masses locked out from attaining a far better life for themselves.  As such, even the pursuit of a basic set of much-needed policy reforms to alleviate the dire social-economic conditions of the masses is simply out of the question for all the Malacañang occupiers—from Cory Aquino until her son today, PNoy.

Our country’s present national situation has already clearly reached a dangerously-worse condition.  In fact, it is already creeping into a pre-crisis situation given the many political-economic indicators since the start of 2014 alone. These inter-connected developments may yet spark a new and open political crisis that could still put the PNoy Regime into question before his constitutional term is even reached.  This is the same fateful presidential lesson that the Marcos Dictatorship failed to understand 28 years ago today.

In fact, today’s Philippine neoliberal economic framework has openly brought about a swiftly deteriorating social-economic situation for many of our poor masses, including the rapidly declining middle class.  The institutionalized combination of an economic track that fundamentally upholds a privatization-liberalization-deregulation-contractualization-public-private partnership agenda is only steadily killing and terrorizing the lives of our people and the future of our society. The nightmare of a never-ending cycle of high prices and almost inaccessible basic essential services are just a mere reflection of the systemic monstrosity which the capitalist-controlled post-EDSA-1 Philippine state unleashed upon the masses and which, it never bothered to correct at all.  Closely manifested by this capitalist system, is a national dose of near-daily political scandals and scams, almost all of them bearing graft and corruption issues and concerns; an anti-progressive, militaristically-provocative and non-internationalist foreign policy thrust directly aligned with mainly US imperialist-led global interests; and, a climate justice-insensitive mode of thinking which fails to comprehend and prepare for the long-term impacts of climate change upon the Philippines.

And yet in this setting, we now have a recent wave of human rights and democratic freedoms-related threats initiated by no less than the only son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino.  In this regard, we continue to witness a trend of human rights violations—in both the civil-political and economic-social-cultural realms—such as those that largely emerged from the Marcos Dictatorship and were again highlighted during the almost one-decade-reign of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Regime.  But what is perhaps surprising to some is the factual and democratically-unsympathetic behavior of PNoy himself in relation to the Malacañang-appointed leadership of the new Human Rights Violations Claims Board. In particular, the appointment of a retired police general to chair the Claims Board is bringing about a vicious howl from many pro-democratic forces and individuals from across society.  This government body is principally tasked to oversee the process of proper compensations for the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos Dictatorship.  Ironically, it is now headed by a former top officer of the Philippine state security apparatus which was directly in the frontline of causing massive human rights violations, grave harm and many deaths to many democracy and social justice activists decades ago.

More ominous still, is the PNoy Regime’s public defense of the Cybercrime Law of 2012 (Republic Act 10175), including its provisions related to cyber-libel concerns and state-security surveillance matters.  In effect, what we are now facing under this law is a rising ‘Cyber Martial Law’, or even a ‘Cyber Dictatorship’ environment affecting both the online and offline democratic spaces and freedoms now enjoyed by everybody in Philippine society as a whole—a national condition that was brought about by the hard-fought and well-won struggles of the Filipino masses before, during and after EDSA-1.  This is now a frightening specter threatening Philippine democracy if this law is allowed to remain in place.

Thus, as our people today commemorate EDSA-1, SANLAKAS once again calls upon the general public, all true democratic forces and freedom-loving individuals to continue to remain vigilant in guarding our country’s hard-won democratic space and civil-political freedoms.  At the same time, SANLAKAS stands firmly and solidly with the broad-based progressive mass movement in our collectively principled struggles aimed at advancing and building a truly politically-free, economically-liberating and socially-just Philippines.  And as one of the many steps forward to attain this progressive vision, SANLAKAS now freely states its defiant rejection of the PNoy Regime’s anti-democratic maneuvers to once again repress the Filipino masses.  Hence, we loudly and proudly shout out:  “Never Again to any type of Dictatorship! Stop Cyber Martial Law! Scrap the Cybercrime Law Now!”.

*For more information, please contact:  Mr. RASTI DELIZO
(SANLAKAS Political Affairs Coordinator/Celfone# 09998092461)

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[Press Release] Labor vows to lead the next EDSA revolt towards genuine social change -BMP

Labor vows to lead the next EDSA revolt towards genuine social change

TWENTY-EIGHT years after the first EDSA people power uprising, militant labor expressed indignation at the outcomes of the 1986 uprising which they branded a “hijacked revolution” and vowed to correct this by ensuring that the lessons of history shall be applied. The group likewise slammed Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte for her recent statement regarding the uprising.


The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) asserts that the opposing faction of the country’s local elite led by then opposition leader Cory Aquino “hijacked” the struggle against the dictatorship and merely supplanted the Marcos dictatorship with “elite democracy”, relegating the masses to mere bystanders after Marcos’ ouster without any substantial policy altered to uplift the lives of the poor.

The BMP cited that the regimes after Edsa Uno pursued the anti-poor policy of privatizing much-needed social services, followed by unrestrained profiteering by corporations in deregulated industries, the wanton contractualization of labor and excessive and regressive taxation capped off by the government’s business-as-usual attitude towards the mounting grievances of the people as the major manifestations of the failure of “elite democracy”.

All mentioned policies emerged after the EDSA uprising.

“Sadly, nothing has changed in twenty-eight years in the lives of ordinary folks. The regimes of Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Erap Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and now Noynoy Aquino have all contributed to make workers conditions a living hell every day since 1986 despite being only beneficiaries of the people that struggled and died fighting the dictatorship.  All policies and programs initiated during their terms were favorable only to the elite and their foreign business counterparts,” said Gie Relova, the BMP Secretary General for Metro Manila and Rizal.

“The ever-growing gap between the super-rich and the poor today has only widened; this can be traced to the tyranny of capitalists and its agents in the government feeding their voracious appetite for profit and extravagance,” he said.

Relova explained further that, “Capitalist abuses are fortified by the enactment of unjust laws such as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the Oil Deregulation Law, the Automatic Appropriations Law and the Department of Labor and Employment’s Order 18-A which render the people defenseless against the onslaught of capital”.

The BMP leader also took a swipe at Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte saying that, “Look who’s talking? Valte’s statement has no weight. If truly for the people, how come all policies have adverse effects on the poor. Her statement only show that this government is trying it’s hardest to find their relevance among the people as it continues to fail in addressing chronic social issues such as unemployment, land reform and socialized housing”.

Last Friday, Valte claimed that, “Edsa belongs to the people” and should not focus solely on the major players in the 1986 revolt.

The BMP also claimed that even graft and corruption then and now has immensely worsened. “During the dictatorship, the Marcos family and their cronies feasted on the national coffers. Corruption, though rampant, was in-check. No one could have more than what Apo and Imelda should get,” said Leody de Guzman, BMP national chairperson.

“After EDSA 1, with the return to the pre-Martial law system of elite democracy, political clans from all levels had a feeding frenzy. The free-for-all contest for the spoils of EDSA 1 has corrupted in all layers of governance, from the nationally-elected positions down to the barangay level. Corruption worsened as it is now done under the veneer of freedom and democracy,” De Guzman clarified.

The BMP vowed that the next people power revolt whether it is in EDSA or anywhere else will be led by the labor sector for it will not be simply against a singular leader but against the whole rotten economic and political system of elite rule and their allied foreign interventionists.

Genuine change they say can only be initiated if the interests of the capitalists and landlords are expunged and not to be considered in policymaking.

24 February 2014
Contact person:
Gie Relova

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[Event/Campaign] BLACK TUESDAY at EDSA: Protest action to #StopCyberMartialLaw -PIFA

Stop Cyber ML event

Cyber Martial Law has been declared. Our freedom has been killed. EDSA is grieving.

Join us on February 25, 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, as we once again fight for our freedom. (Check event page for details/updates –


Black Tuesday EDSA

[From the web] Media, netizens to mark EDSA with ‘Black Tuesday’ protest -PCIJ

Media, netizens to mark EDSA with ‘Black Tuesday’ protest
February 21, 2014

MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS, netizens, and civil society groups will commemorate the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolt on Tuesday, Feb. 25, with a coordinated online protest against a recent Supreme Court ruling affirming the constitutionality of online libel.


The “Black Tuesday” protest was agreed on during a roundtable discussion held by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and other media and online organizations that had questioned the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The groups say Tuesday’s protest highlights the “regression” of both press freedom and freedom of expression since press freedom was restored after the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos on February 25, 1986. The protest also comes exactly a week after the Supreme Court ruled on R.A. 10175.

Read full article @pcij.org

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[Statement] Reclaim EDSA from the Elite -SANLAKAS

Reclaim EDSA from the Elite
Sanlakas Statement on the 27th Anniversay Celebration of EDSA I People Power Revolution

sanlakas-logo2Sanlakas, together with the Filipino people, celebrates today the EDSA People Power I anniversary. But while it is an important milestone in the democratic struggle to end the tyrannical regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos, it is but a culmination of decades of sacrifice – in sweat, tears, and blood – of the Filipino working class.

Years before the fateful day of February 25, 1986, the working class has long been openly challenging Marcos through daring and innovative mass actions, the most famous of which is the daring La Tondeña strikes in October 1975. From this we learn an important lesson – victories are not won overnight, and it is through smaller collective actions that we build political revolutions. It is through smaller struggles that we set the conditions for quantum leaps in the movement for the advancement of our democratic rights.

Unfortunately, a section of the traditional political elite has successfully manoeuvred to claim the anti-Marcos struggle as their own, relegating in history books the role of unionists, indigenous peoples, and peasants to mere footnotes. The grand effort towards historical revisionism is so great that while anti-Marcos politicians from the Liberal Party bask in public glory and help themselves in partaking state power, scores of Martial Law-era political detainees continue to rot in jail without hope of release. The activists who fought for our democratic rights continue to be pursued, tortured, and incarcerated by the very government which existence had only been possible because of their sacrifice. Until now, the deaths of labour and student leaders like Ka Lando Olalia and Lean Alejandro, perpetrated by the military backers of post-EDSA regimes, remain to be without justice.

But it is not just the history of the struggle which the elite stole from the working class, it is also the outcome. The post-EDSA administrations have seen the return of traditional politicians which basically continued a foreign policy subservient to the imperial power of the United States. Land reform has been derailed by a landlord-dominated Congress, purchasing power of the working class consumers continue to decay even as inflation remains low, and every Filipino still owe P59,000 in debt. Meanwhile, the oligarchy which has been the target of Marcos’ “democratic revolution from the center”, and which Marcos himself perpetrated by creating new plutocrats from his pool of cronies, has further entrenched themselves through the purchase of privatized public utilities sold at the height of Ramos’ neoliberal frenzy. Nothing has changed in this respect.

This, while the section of the elite which took over has largely bungled in their mandate to make the Marcoses pay for their crimes. The Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) recently announced that they are waving the white flag, even as they are yet to reclaim more than half of Marcos’ loot. The Marcoses themselves are back into power, with a Senator, Governor, and Congressman. The annual platitudes and self-congratulatory remarks of this elite must be put side-by-side with its two-decade long story of incompetence and impotence. But we suspect that goes beyond incompetence, and it just shows their insincerity and hypocrisy when they fought with the working class to put Marcos and his cohorts to justice.

Clearly, it is time that we reclaim EDSA from the elite. Sanlakas calls on the Filipino working class to remember its historical role in EDSA, and repudiate the elite which has stolen the victory from us.

February 25, 2013

Contact Person:
Manjette Lopez, Sanlakas Secretary-General @ 0922-860-8863
Val De Guzman, Media Liaison @ 0919-965-7509

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