by Kiko Matsing

“A Revolution from the Center”
Marcos Martial Law Propaganda

This Week with David Brinkley covering
the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution
with Jim Laurie reporting from Manila

Vintage news footage of the People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship thirty years ago (February 22-25, 1986). It ended more than two decades of despotic rule by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos without any bloodshed–the first revolution of its kind in the world. I was a 16-year-old high school kid at the time. By 1989, one authoritarian communist regime after another fell behind the Iron Curtain from similar (if not as bloodless) popular revolts.

The aftermath of the People Power Revolution, however, was bittersweet. The presidency of Cory Aquino, widow of Ninoy Aquino (opposition leader assassinated by the Marcoses in 1983), was wracked by multiple attempts at power grabs by the very mutinous military wing that precipitated the 1986 revolt. Whatever they may say of Aquino’s presidency, in my mind, her main achievement was surviving seven coup attempts that would have dragged the country back to repressive military rule.

It was because of this that this year we mark three decades of not-always-but-still civil government in the Philippines.