home > the spirit > was edsa
really worth it?
In 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law
in the Philippines, making it the "Peronist Argentina of the
70ís". Strict discipline was imposed by the militia. Those who
dared to oppose this new government were stepped on, crushed, or
simply made to disappear without a trace. Censorship was imposed on
the media. News was edited to reflect only the positive results that
had taken place. Papers that dared to report the dark side
of the government were silenced. The Philippines was a
country reportedly on the rise, but behind that facade of peace and
order was a country in chaos. A country silently screaming its
The Filipino tolerance was pushed to the utter breaking
point. Enough was finally enough, so in 1986 came the EDSA Revolution.
Hundreds of Filipinos gathered in EDSA with nothing but their faith in
God to protect them. Priests and nuns led the people in prayer, their
arms linked to each other. Every word uttered was a word voiced in hope,
hope that they would regain the freedom they longed for. Tanks came and
though they had no other weapon in their hands but rosaries, the people
won. The Marcos government was overthrown and a the new administration
Granted the Aquino administration wasnít perfect. Cory
Aquino was a housewife and had little knowledge of politics, but she was
chosen by the people because of what she stood for: democracy. Her
administration began the slow and tedious task of rebuilding the
By the time we reached 1987, the country was
recovering, but its recovery came with a price. While the Philippines
could easily have been one of the leading agricultural countries during
the Marcos regime, the sudden change in the administration started the
decline of our economic growth. The series of coup attempts threatened
prospective foreign investors, investors on which the administration
depended on to help the country get back on its feet. The decline in
investors slowed economic progress. At the same time the Philippines was
trying to pay the billions of dollars in foreign debt. Aside from this,
natural disasters came one after another. Floods, the eruption of Mt.
Pinatubo and continuous brownouts and blackouts all over the country
also assisted in the decline of our economy. All this happening when our
country was at its most vulnerable.
When the Ramos administration
came, their goal was to restore the economy of the Philippines. Fidel Ramos embarked on
many diplomatic trips in an attempt to strengthen political and economic ties with ASEAN
neighbors. It's success resulted in raising the country's economy. It was a euphoria that
later proved to be short-lived as the Asian economic crisis brought a sudden drop in
foreign exchange, nearly doubling the value of the dollar to the local currency.
In retrospect, the
Philippines could have achieved great steps as a nation. In 1972, the country opened
diplomatic and commercial relations with the communist and socialist countries while still
maintaining trade with democratic allies. It could have meant more investors and larger
trade circles. Foreign investors were ready to ply their trade, making use of the raw
materials and resources that could easily have been provided for the products they wished
to make. Well
all that of course, for a price.
During that time, the most
powerful body was the military and the church became the voice of the opposition. It was
clear that there was to be no word of objection to the government from anyone. Anyone who
was against the government was an enemy of the state. We lost our right to speak out and
to be heard. Citizens lost the right to voice out their concerns about the country.
Society wanted to change the way the government was run. Citizens wanted to overthrow the
administration and regain the freedom that was fought so hard for by their ancestors and
choose an administration that will give them the freedom that they lost.
The Filipinos wanted their
freedom and now that it has been achieved, what is being done? News of rape, massacre and
other crimes fill page after page of the newspaper. It was a freedom fought for
same freedom now abused.
Was it worth all the fighting
for? EDSA gave the Philippines back its democracy. The freedom Filipinos longed for when
Marcos declared martial law. Citizens embraced that freedom when it was restored to them
by the Aquino administration. By the time the Ramos administration came along, they had
already fully used the freedom they had to do everything we wanted, regardless of who they
hurt along the way.
Was it worth it? Maybe it
was, but then again, we dont know what could have happened if Marcos was left alone,
now do we?