It was the moment that turned the tide against the Marcos dictatorship.
When then AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos resigned his post and joined the military reformists with then Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile, the beginnings of a revolution were set in motion.
More than a million people from all walks of life came to protect him and the rebel soldiers from a military attack ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos. They formed a human barricade to stop the tanks from attacking Camp Aguinaldo, where Ramos and Enrile held a press conference announcing their withdrawal of support for Marcos.
The world stood in awe as it witnessed Filipinos united in courage and determination, in selfless offering of life and fortune to restore our democracy, our rights, and our freedom.
In his own news conference, Marcos called on Ramos and Enrile to surrender and “stop this stupidity.”
The standoff lasted for four days and culminated in Marcos and his family fleeing to Hawaii. People then stormed Malacañang Palace and witnessed the excesses and lavish lifestyle of the conjugal dictatorship that had gripped the country for 20 years.
FVR would go on to become president from 1992 to 1998, following President Cory Aquino, whom he served as AFP chief of staff. His presidency would be marked by economic and political stability.
On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, FVR said in a statement that it remains one of the country’s “resplendent moments,” but the work for deep reform remains unfinished
“The world stood in awe as it witnessed Filipinos united in courage and determination, in selfless offering of life and fortune to restore our democracy, our rights, and our freedom. This was our opportunity to make things right, to do things right, for what we hold in hearts as true and just.
“We were the beacon of hope, the prided of our race, the muse of the community of nations. We owe generations after us the true story of EDSA 1986 and bequeath the legacy of the spirit that carried us through those fateful days and beyond,” he said.
Ramos, who turns 93 on March 18, said the peaceful revolt “represents the best in Filipinos.”
“We made history 35 years ago today when more than one million Filipinos gathered peacefully to oust a dictatorship through a bloodless revolt. We called it then, as we call it now, the People Power Revolution,” he said in a statement.
But the revolution is not over and work remains unfinished, he said, until “every Filipino enjoys the freedoms and rights embodied in our Constitution, our democracy secure and we regain our seat the table of the community of nations.”
He added, “The challenge we face now is to keep ablaze the flame of nationalism and continue to embody the unparalleled spirit of the People Power Revolution.”