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Filipinos mark People Power anniversary with mass rallies against politicians' attempt to tamper with Constitution

By Jinky Jorgio

Manila-- In February 1986, Filipinos launched a military-backed uprising that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and sent the first family into exile.

Thirty-eight years later, they were back in the streets, marking the four-day bloodless People Power revolution. This time, the Philippines is governed by Marcos Sr.'s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The historic event is also known as "EDSA Uprising," in reference to the highway where ranking military officials announced their defection from the Marcos Sr. government, and where Filipinos later converged to topple the dictatorship.

The spirit of the 1986 revolution lives on with a raised vigilance against falling back to the old days when the Constitution accommodated politicians' desire to stay in power longer than they should.

 People from all walks of life, including students, laborers, professionals, farmers, fisherfolk, teachers, politicians and members of religious institutions, rallied in front of the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.

"No to Cha-Cha (Charter Change)!" was their battle cry.

The 1986 EDSA revolution toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Demonstrations and related activities such as film showings, forums and concerts were held in Cebu, Bicol and Zamboanga City. 

The pro-democracy demonstrators stood up against the threat of constitutional change being pushed by the members of the House of Representatives.


Reps. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Partylist said this year’s celebration is aimed at blocking any move to change the constitution. “We will not allow it to happen. We may be a minority in the House, but we will make sure to block it," she said.


The Philippine Constitution was ratified in 1987, a year after the revolt that toppled the dictatorship.


The current charter replaced the 1973 Constitution. The Philippines has had five constitutions since it declared independence from Spain in 1898: the 1899 Malolos Constitution (1899-1901); the 1935 Constitution (1935-1943, 1945-1973); the 1943 Constitution (1943-1945); the 1973 Constitution (1973-198) and the present 1987 Constitution.


The House of Representatives will convene this week to deliberate the proposed changes to the constitution, an initiative that is being opposed by the Senate.


This year’s EDSA celebration was not declared a holiday. Marcos supporters countered that since the celebration fell on a Sunday, there was no longer a need to declare it a holiday since the country's economic activity was not affected.


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