The Role of Cebuanos during the EDSA People Power Revolution

As if the years of oppression under the different colonizers were not enough, the rights of the Filipino people were once again restrained when Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law in 1972. It took years of extortion, corruption, and involuntary disappearances before the Filipino people found the courage to stand and fight the game of dictatorship.

While there was close to none mention of Cebu’s participation of the EDSA People Power Revolution, Cebu played a vital role in this historic event of the country’s fate. When Batasang Pambansa declared President Marcos as the winner of the February 2, 1986 Snap elections, Cory Aquino together with her running mate Salvador Laurel flew to Cebu to join the uprising in the province known as a hallmark of opposition at that time. They held a huge rally at the Fuente Osmena where the Philippine Constabulary was located. After this symbolic insurrection, Aquino stayed in Cebu for four days under the care of Senator Johnny Osmena and took refuge at the Carmelite Monastery in Mabolo – where many decisions were made.

There were many aspects that triggered EDSA – one of which is when the computer operators on February 9, walked out upon noticing the discrepancies between the tallied figures and total number of votes announced. This then prompted the Catholic Church to condemn the election. On February 22, Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos together issued a statement demanding the resignation of Marcos which then resulted to the creation of headquarters inside Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Countering the commands of the president who wanted to suppress the uprising, Cardinal Sin broadcased over the Catholic-run Radyo Veritas and asked the Filipino people to join the revolution by bringing supplies to the rebels and not using any forms of harm in dealing with Marcos’ troops.

As how EDSA is often depicted, a great number of individuals responded to the call – including priests, nuns, children, and ordinary citizens – who linked arms with the rebels and faced the tanks and armed soldiers with their rosaries and flowers. February 25 became a solemn day of peaceful revolution which prompted the escape of Ferdinand Marcos to Hawaii and the conferment of Cory Aquino as the seventh president of the Republic of the Philippines.

But this revolution was not confined in the streets of Manila alone; people from different provinces gathered together with the rest of Cebuanos in Osmena Boulevard and united to overthrow a dictator that has been long depriving people of their freedom. EDSA was the cry of the whole Filipino nation, the voice of the suppressed in islands of the Philippines.

 

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