February 25th commemorates the victory of the People-Power Revolution in the Philippines, in which nonviolent civil resistance (people power) overthrew President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos had been elected in 1965, and again in 1969. When barred from a third term campaign for re-election, he declared martial law, arrested his opposition leaders, and dissolved congress. His primary challenger in the 1973 election (that never occurred) was Senator Benigno Aquino, who was imprisoned and sentenced to death. He spent seven years in prison before being released to the United States for treatment for a heart condition.

In 1983, Aquino decided to return to the Philippines to oust Marcos. As soon as he stepped off the plane, he was gunned down by police forces. His assassination ignited widespread resistance to the Marcos regime, including mass demonstrations, boycotts, occupations, and noncooperation. Soldiers defected to the movement, Aquino’s widow, Corazon, declared that she would run for president in 1986. The elections were rigged, and as the cries of corruption and fraud increased, so did participation in the mass demonstrations. On February 16th, 1.5 million supporters attended the “Triumph of the People Rally.”  Three days later, the United States Congress condemned the election and voted to cut military support until Marcos stepped down.

The Global Nonviolent Action Database reports, “Corazon, in her call for action, asked Filipinos to boycott businesses and establishments that were supportive of Marcos. As a result, Filipinos boycotted pro-Marcos media and withdrew money from banks known to have a relationship with Marcos’ regime. Schools shut down as well and Filipinos stopped paying their bills. Filipinos also held a one-day general strike. As more and more Filipinos began utilizing civil disobedience, the campaign picked up a lot of momentum and unlikely support.”

On February 24th, in the face of growing opposition and mobilized people-power, Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines. On February 25th, Corazon Aquino was sworn in as president by her mother . . . and the world was given a new world for engaged, active nonviolence: people power.

Learn more: http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/filipinos-campaign-overthrow-dictator-people-power-1983-198

Photo Credit: “EDSA Revolution pic1” by Photo taken by Joey de Vera – Previous publication. This image was published in People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An eyewitness history, among other historical books. Via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EDSA_Revolution_pic1.jpg#/media/File:EDSA_Revolution_pic1.jpg

This article is from Rivera Sun’s book of nonviolent histories that have made our world. Click here for more information.


Rivera Sun is a change-maker, a cultural creative, a protest novelist, and an advocate for nonviolence and social justice. She’s a love-based revolutionary and the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, The Way Between and ten other fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. Her essays and writings are syndicated by Peace Voice, and have appeared in over a hundred journals nationwide. Rivera Sun speaks and facilitates workshops in strategy for nonviolent change across the country and around the world. She connects the dots between the issues, shares solutionary ideas, and inspires people to step up to the challenge of being a part of the story of change in our times. www.riverasun.com