The Philippines was praised worldwide in 1986, when the so-called bloodless revolution erupted, called EDSA People Power’s Revolution. February 25, 1986 marked a significant national event that has been engraved in the hearts and minds of every Filipino. This part of Philippine history gives us a strong sense of pride especially that other nations had attempted to emulate what we have shown the world of the true power of democracy. The true empowerment of democracy was exhibited in EDSA by its successful efforts to oust a tyrant by a demonstration without tolerance for violence and bloodshed. Prayers and rosaries strengthened by faith were the only weapons that the Filipinos used to recover their freedom from President Ferdinand Marcos’s iron hands. The Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) stretches 54 kilometers, where the peaceful demonstration was held on that fateful day. It was a day that gathered all Filipinos in unity with courage and faith to prevail democracy in the country. It was the power of the people, who assembled in EDSA, that restored the democratic Philippines, ending the oppressive Marcos regime. Hence, it came to be known as the EDSA People Power’s Revolution.
The year was 1986. The one in power was the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, who held on to power for well over 20 years. But cellphones have yet to become commoditized at that time, and all Filipinos had as sources of information were the TV and the radio.
“This is Cardinal Sin speaking to the people of Metro Manila,” started a Radio Veritas broadcast on February 22, 1986. “I am calling our people to support our two good friends at the camp. If any of you could be around at Camp Aguinaldo to show your solidarity and your support in this very crucial period when our two good friends have shown their idealism, I would be very happy… Please come.”
The late beloved Cardinal was then talking about Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Ramos, two members of Marcos’s administration who cut their ties with the famed despot, subsequently igniting the first EDSA People Power Revolution.
In just a matter of hours, the famous highway welled up with protesters — from the uniformed men of the military with their guns down to the devout nuns with rosaries clutched in one hand — in a mass protest that lasted four days, eventually leading to the fleeing of Marcos, his family and their cronies to Hawaii on February 25, 1986.
“Cardinal Sin’s message radiated from Veritas through the airwaves to the people, and this was one of the factors that coordinated the effort in 1986,” recalled Data Tolentino-Canlas, a professor of Internet media studies at the University of the Philippines, in an interview with InterAksyon.com over Facebook.
Tolentino-Canlas said radio then was “instrumental” in rallying the masses toward a certain peaceful cause, “and not as a medium that would be used for propaganda for a more powerful entity.”
When the government eventually took down the Catholic radio station’s transmission, rebellious protesters took the DZRJ transmission tower in Manila — which, ironically, was broadcasting less than two kilometers away from the presidential palace — to regroup and reorganize the protests, aptly naming the broadcast as “Radyo Bandido (Radio Bandit)”