||People-power revolution in the Philippines||Its Relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century|
The People-power revolution in the Philippines in 1986, based on nonviolence, the extensive involvement of the citizenry in a vast informal network of information, and the courage of an opposition radio station, is an important precedent for nonviolent revolution.
During the years of martial law from 1972 to 1986, a movement arose which was characterized by a vast informal network of information, using faxes and photocopies, to expose the true obituaries, movements of the army, information on corruption, etc. At the bottom of each sheet was written 'ipakopiya at ipasa' - copy and pass along.
Beginning in 1984 the International Fellowship of Reconciliation helped with workshops that trained many people in the methods of nonviolent resistance. Participants included the family of Benigno Acquino, the popular leader who was assassinated when he returned to the Philippines to oppose President Ferdinand Marcos.
The spark for the revolution was the fraudulent election of February 7, 1986, in which incumbent President Marcos was declared the winner against Corazon Aquino, the widow of Benigno. A timeline and description of the revolution are available on Wikipedia.
On February 13, Cardinal Vidal issued a declaration in lieu of the Philippine Church hierarchy stating that when "a government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so."
On February 16, around two million people gathered at Luneta Park, Manila repudiating the election results and asserting that Aquino was the real victor. Opposition leader and UNIDO presidential candidate Corazon Aquino called for nationwide civil disobedience.
In a message aired over Radio Veritas, the non-commercial Catholic shortwave station broadcasting to Asia. Cardinal Sin exhorted Filipinos in the capital to aid rebel leaders by going to the section of EDSA between Camp Crame and Aguinaldo and giving emotional support, food and other supplies. Despite the danger of being attacked by the military forces still loyal to Marcos, many people, especially priests and nuns, still trooped to EDSA.
Radio Veritas played a critical role during the mass uprising. Former University of the Philippines president Francisco Nemenzo stated that: "Without Radio Veritas, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to mobilize millions of people in a matter of hours."
Early in the morning of February 23, government troops arrived to knock down the main transmitter of Radio Veritas, cutting off broadcasts to people in the provinces. The station switched to a standby transmitter with a limited range of broadcast. The station was targeted because it had proven to be a valuable communications tool for the people supporting the rebels, keeping them informed of government troop movements and relaying requests for food, medicine, and supplies.
Still, people came to EDSA until it swelled to hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians. The mood in the street was very festive, with many bringing whole families. Performers entertained the crowds, nuns and priests led prayer vigils, and people set up barricades and makeshift sandbags, trees, and vehicles in several places along EDSA and intersecting streets such as Santolan and Ortigas Avenue. Everywhere, people listened to Radio Veritas on their radios. Several groups sang Bayan Ko (My Homeland), which, since 1980, had become a patriotic anthem of the opposition. People frequently flashed the 'LABAN' sign, which is an "L" formed with their thumb and index finger. 'laban' is the Filipino word for 'fight', but also the abbreviation of Lakas ng Bayan, Ninoy Aquino's party.
On the afternoon of February 23, Radio Veritas relayed reports of Marines massing near the camps in the east and LVT-5 tanks approaching from the north and south. A contingent of Marines with tanks and armored vans, led by Brigadier General Artemio Tadiar, was stopped along Ortigas Avenue, about two kilometers from the camps, by tens of thousands of people. Nuns holding rosaries knelt in front of the tanks and men and women linked arms together to block the troops. Tadiar asked the crowds to make a clearing for them, but they did not budge. In the end, the troops retreated with no shots fired.
By evening, the standby transmitter of Radio Veritas failed. Shortly after midnight, the staff was able to go to another station to begin broadcasting from a secret location under the moniker "Radyo Bandido" (Outlaw Radio, which is now known as DZRJ-AM). June Keithley, with her husband Angelo Castro, Jr., was the radio broadcaster who continued Radio Veritas' program throughout the night and in the remaining days.
When news of the Marcos family's departure reached civilians, many rejoiced and danced in the streets. Over at Mendiola, the demonstrators stormed the Palace, which was closed to ordinary people for around a decade. Despite looting by some angry protesters, the majority wandered about inside through rooms where national history was shaped, looking at objects extravagant and mundane that the Marcos clan and its court had abandoned in their flight.