Would An EDSA Revolution Be Possible Today?

Another EDSA Revolution? Here are some factors to consider.

Today, the nation marks the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. Esquire Philippines asked young people for their thoughts on the significance of this day, in the hopes that the spirit of EDSA lives on and is carried forward for future generations. 

The EDSA People Power Revolution is a symbol for many things: the magnificent strength that lies in numbers, the resilience with which we hold on to our freedoms, and the readiness of a people to look death in the eye for the sake of protecting their country. 

Unity, as the generals might say, is the key to winning all battles. History has shown us time and again that long courses of joint effort on the part of strong-willed citizens are effective in driving revolutionary change.

History, however, is also a story of division. People unite when they have a common enemy—but in present-day Philippine politics, it’s difficult to identify one exact rival that everyone is furious enough to wrestle against. 


In the days of the revolution, political polarization in the Philippines was nowhere near as extreme as it is now. Some Marcos loyalists might have remained true to him until the end of the line, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say that most Filipinos back then were overwhelmingly anti-establishment.

Today, the distributions aren’t so clear. Needless to say, the rise of social media as a standard tool for political influence and discourse has spawned many issues surrounding the integrity of information. 

History, however, is also a story of division. People unite when they have a common enemy—but in present-day Philippine politics, it’s difficult to identify one exact rival that everyone is furious enough to wrestle against. 

You could take this in the context of our ever-growing skepticism and disillusionment toward the results of online elections surveys. As we enter the final stretch before the national elections, the ‘truth’ about each presidential candidate’s popularity only grows more and more obscure. There have always been doubts surrounding the credibility of polling in the Philippines, especially considering their limited scopes and the lack of transparency on how these results are actually obtained. Apart from this disconcerting matter, digital citizens must also worry about rampant political microtargeting, the proliferation of troll farms, and the echo chambers formed by their social media algorithms. 

This uncertainty then sparks a number of questions: Who (or what) does my nation stand for? What code of ethics do my compatriots subscribe to? And in the event that your candidate of choice—your vision for your country, personified—suffers defeat, do you have the confidence to trust that enough people will march beside you, should you choose to revolt? The defeat of one’s political candidate may be an anticipated driver of rage and hysterics, but the comforts of the 21st century also often function as high-performing emotional painkillers. As undoubtedly intelligent as today’s youth can get, whether or not we still hold the vigor of the militarized youth of the '70s and '80s is open to question. 

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps we should first determine what would provoke the contemporary Filipino to revolt in the first place. Protestors in history have always been victims of unfulfilled ambitions, widespread misery, and radical abuse of power. And in political revolutions, particularly, they have always been tied together with a mighty sense of nationhood. But do modern-day Filipinos now lack the courage and patriotism needed to pursue their shared ideals? Do we lack the unity? 

The political divide among Filipinos today could be more real than it has ever been before, but one thing that the great majority of us can all resonate with is the rising distrust in big institutions. The era we live in is one marked by backlash against traditional authorities, and as time goes by, it seems like mistrust and disillusionment with the national government has only gotten worse. If every government we’ve ever had has always failed us, what reasons do we have to keep our faith in it?


Conversations about modern Filipinos’ lack of nationalism often take place in the context of the youth. There are conflicting opinions on the state of the youth’s political inclinations; one report might tell you that they’re largely indifferent to political issues and aren’t inclined to participate in civic affairs, while another will tell you that they’re more aware and engaged than ever before. But when the enthusiasm of the Filipino youth toward politics is constantly met with barriers, are they really ‘apathetic’? Or are they victims of disempowerment? 

Young people are criticized relentlessly for their lack of patriotism, but they also know dismissal when they hear it. In the darkness of the pandemic, however, the youth seemed to be radiating in a way that they never have before. Youth-led organizations in the Philippines have been quickly rising from the ground, striving to raise awareness on their different advocacies, putting together all kinds of fundraisers, webinars, and information campaigns, and providing their members with forums to speak about the issues that are important to them. And as they comprise over 50 percent of the total registered voters in the upcoming elections, the Filipino youth now play a huge role in determining the country’s fate. 

Could a People Power Revolution ever happen again today? 

The generals will speak to you about unity, and the historians will speak to you about division. But you can leave it to the youth to tell you something about hope. 

Claudine is a 21-year-old college senior at the Ateneo de Manila University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Technology Management. She's currently interning as a writer at Esquire Philippines and spends her free time reading books and scratching her two Beagles' bellies.


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