DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.
The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.
If Filipinos were not massing in droves along Manila’s Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in celebration of the 24th anniversary of EDSA 1 this year, it was because most of them had forgotten or never really knew what exactly was being commemorated. Some of those who do remember, however, don’t see what the fuss is all about, and would go along with the self-serving assessment of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that EDSA 1 was “a failure.”
If the attitude of the latter suits Marcos fine, the amnesia of the former is equally agreeable to some of the principal actors and beneficiaries of EDSA. They’ve been saying for years that People Power — the means through which the government of Ferdinand Marcos fell in 1986 in EDSA 1, and which in 2001 forced Joseph Estrada out of Malacanang in EDSA 2 — is better left to future generations to remember and appreciate.