This year, the country will celebrate the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution that led to the ouster then-President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
During the four-day uprising, millions of Filipinos trooped to EDSA to stand against the regime.
Here are some significant events leading to the uprising that altered the course of history, not just of the Philippines, but of other countries that were inspired by the event.
FEBRUARY 20 - President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared himself as the winner of the snap elections. On the same day, his rival Corazon Aquino led a people's victory rally at Luneta where she called for civil disobedience.
FEBRUARY 22 - Past midnight, a meeting was in progress in the home of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile. A speech was being finalized wherein he would proclaim himself as the head of a ruling junta. According to the plan, rebel troops would launch an attack at Malacanang on February 23 at 2 a.m. Expected to lead the attack was Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan.
However, while Enrile was preparing for his speech, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver was fortifying the Palace's security. Unknown to the rebels, top-secret details of the coup plot were being leaked to Ver.
At 3 a.m., Honasan discovered that a Marine battalion was sitting exactly at their planned point of attack. By dawn, it was already clear that they had been betrayed.
By noon, President Marcos met with US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth and Philip Habib, said to be U.S. President Ronald Reagan's "troubleshooter."
Before leaving home for Camp Aguinaldo, Enrile contacted AFP Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos, asking for his support. Ramos answered, "Yes, sir, I'm with you all the way."
After meeting with some supporters of Cory Aquino in his house, Ramos finally arrived in Camp Aguinaldo to join Enrile.
At 6:45 p.m., the two announced their defection from the Marcos regime. "We're going to die here fighting," declared Enrile.
At 9 p.m., Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, through Radio Veritas, called on people to show their support for "our two good friends." "Leave your homes now. I ask you to support Mr. Enrile and Gen. Ramos, give them food if you like, they are our friends."
Radio Veritas continued with its blow-by-blow account of the unfolding siege.
At 10 p.m., Enrile talked to Cory Aquino over the phone. Ninoy Aquino's widow had just finished speaking at a rally in Cebu. Enrile warned her that her life was in danger.
At 10:30 p.m., Marcos appeared on television where he insisted that he was "in control of the situation." He told Enrile and Ramos "to stop this stupidity and surrender so that we may negotiate."
FEBRUARY 23 - From Cebu, Cory Aquino called on the Filipino people to rally behind Enrile and Ramos, and told “decent elements in the military” to join the defectors and side with the Filipino people. She also asked Marcos to step down for the sake of a peaceful transition in government.
Enrile and Ramos also met along EDSA surrounded by their throng of supporters.
Marcos and his officials mobilized forces. Columns of armored tanks formed barricades. But Filipinos came in droves and filled the streets of EDSA, acting as a shield of sorts that stopped the tanks from coming close to where Enrile and Ramos were.
For the rest of the day, the road between the camps was a sea of people carrying banners demanding Marcos’s resignation.
Enrile called the U.S. ambassador, hoping the White House will pressure the Palace to be more prudent in its actions. Later in the day, the White House issued a statement questioning the "credibility and legitimacy" of the Marcos government.
At about 6:30 p.m., Radio Veritas went off the air. its transmitters had been “neutralized” by the military earlier, and the emergency transmitter it was using finally gave way.
FEBRUARY 24 – On Jaime Cardinal Sin’s call, church bells tolled, and people flocked to the areas surrounding Camp Crame when word spread that Marcos's forces were going to attack the rebels' stronghold.
Marcos accused Enrile and Ramos of wanting to grab power and run the government under a junta.
Ver ordered an all-out attack by riot police using tear gas. Marcos loyalists came in as tear gas canisters exploded outside Camp Aguinaldo, but the civilians stood their ground.
At past 6 a.m., reports that the Marcos family had departed came. Ramos likewise announced a "confirmed report" of the departure of the Marcos family.
"This is the day of our liberation!" he and Enrile announced to a cheering crowd.
But their joy was short-lived. At 9 a.m., Marcos appeared on television to declare a state of emergency and announce that he had no plans to resign or concede. He also said his inauguration would proceed as scheduled.
Later in the hour, the television screen blacked out as Marcos was about to answer a reporter’s question.
Meanwhile, people continued to flock to EDSA and fill the areas of Greenhills, San Juan, Ortigas, Libis, Cubao near Crame to protect, Ramos, Enrile, and other officials.
In the afternoon, Aquino spoke to the crowd: “We have recovered our freedoms, our rights, and our dignity with much courage and, we thank God, with little blood. I enjoin the people to keep the spirit of peace as we remove the last vestiges of tyranny, to be firm and compassionate. Let us not, now that we have won, descend to the level of the evil forces we have defeated.”
In the evening, Enrile and Ramos announced an "almost complete" takeover and control of the “New Armed Forces of the People” in a press conference attended by local and foreign media.
At 7:30 p.m., the United States endorsed the provisional government of Aquino, abandoning their 20-year ally Mr. Marcos.
But Marcos appeared again on TV at past 8 pm to assert that he and his family in Malacañang were “prepared for any eventuality."
FEBRUARY 25 - The day began with more rumors of Marcos' flight.
Past midnight, soldiers fired at barricades of a group of rebel supporters. Several people were wounded.
President Marcos called his labor minister, Blas Ople, who was in Washington that time. Ople said there was an overwhelming negative attitude there. He suggested that the Marcos family should just leave the country but the president refused. Marcos said the first lady did not want to leave.
At 10:15 a.m., Aquino arrived at Club Filipino amid a crowd chanting "Cory! Cory! Crowd!"
Salvador Laurel took his oath of office as the duly elected vice president before Supreme Court Justice Vicente Abad Santos.
Aquino was then sworn into office by Senior Supreme Court Justice Claudio Teehankee.
At 11:55 a.m., it was Marcos' turn to be sworn into office. The ceremony was held in Malacanang's Ceremonial Hall amid cheers of "Marcos, Marcos, Marcos pa rin!"
But as the president raised his hand to take his oath, the live television coverage was abruptly cut.
Between 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Marcos called Enrile with an appeal for the rebels to stop firing at the Palace. The president mentioned his willingness to leave the Palace. Everyone in the Palace began to pack.
Tommy Manotoc, Imee Marcos' husband, called up his friend at the U.S. Embassy and accepted an offer of transportation out of the Palace.
But Marcos told his remaining Cabinet members and family members that he had decided to die in the Palace. His family pleaded in tears for him to take the helicopter and leave.
The U.S. Embassy notified the Palace of its arrangements. The Marcoses had two hours to leave.
Five U.S. helicopters were used to transport the Marcoses out of the Palace. At 9:05 p.m., the first helicopter took off, followed almost immediately by the others.
At 9:52 p.m., DZRH was first to report that the Marcoses had fled the country. Shortly after, the US Air Force TV station FEN confirmed the report.
Celebrations erupted on the streets, and protesters rushed inside the Palace. There were those who took advantage of the situation and looted Malacanang, but the authorities immediately took control and prevented further damage to the Palace.
- gov.ph (http://www.gov.ph/edsa/the-ph-protest)
- "Chronology of a Revolution" by Angela Stuart Santiago