MANILA: Former President Fidel V. Ramos, one of the leading heroes of the peaceful People Power revolution 31 years ago, attested to the presence of God during that perilous four-day revolt that toppled a dictatorial regime and restored democracy in the country.
The other key players during the People Power revolt were Jaime Cardinal Sin, the influential archbishop of Manila, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Army Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, among others.
The nation will celebrate the 31st anniversary of People Power revolution that took place along the stretch of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City on Feb. 22-25, 1986 where over two million people gathered at EDSA to support an outnumbered rebel soldiers of the AFP Reform Movement (RAM) led by Enrile, Ramos and Honasan — who made their last stand at the General Headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary at Camp Crame — against the regime of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
It was Cardinal Sin, who called on the people over a clandestine radio just near Malacanang Palace to go to EDSA to protect the rebel soldiers from being attacked by government forces loyal to Marcos.
Over two million people from all walks of life responded to the call of the Cardinal and trooped to EDSA.
Indeed, when government forces aboard tanks and armored vehicles proceeded to Camp Crame to attack the rebel soldiers, they were stopped by throngs of civilians who blocked EDSA.
Recalling that momentous event, Ramos, who was then the chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and concurrent vice chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), recalled in his Sunday column in the Manila Bulletin: “The multitudes at EDSA in February 1986 attest that God’s presence then was almost palpable. In the quiet of their hearts, the people offered their lives to God for our country’s well-being. From our shared experience came a renewed sense of UNITY, SOLIDARITY and TEAMWORK that we wish we could recapture permanently.
“Heroics may not be expected from ordinary Filipinos, but we should be good at whatever we do within the law — doing all that with dedication is more than enough.
“Throughout the process of trying our best, we must inculcate in ourselves and in the younger ones the Spirit of EDSA which starts with CARING, SHARING and DARING for others, and for our beloved Philippines.
“EDSA was not just a near-miraculous four-day phenomenon. We won important victories in February 1986 but its highest outcome was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to infuse our people with a new purpose. The Spirit of EDSA compels our unswerving opposition to injustice, greed, corruption, and complacency.”
Following the success of the bloodless EDSA People Power Revolt, the Philippines earned praises worldwide.
Marcos and his family fled the country to Hawaii where he died in 1989. PNA