People Power

People Power refers to nonviolent popular protests that took place in the Philippines leading to the removal of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and President Joseph Estrada in 2001, and one manifestation of Filipino participation in civil society and liberal democracy. The catalyst for the 1986 protests was the arrest of defected military leaders, and buoyed by public calls to protest by Catholic Cardinal Jaime Sin. Hundreds of thousands of protestors blocked the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, also known as the EDSA. Marcos called for military action against protestors on the second day of demonstrations, but soldiers refused to fire on non-violent protestors; iconic images of nuns praying the rosary and offering flowers to soldiers captured global imagination. Marcos resigned the following day. The 2001 protests, in which Cardinal Jaime Sin again played a prominent role, were organized in opposition to corrupt President Joseph Estrada, who was subsequently impeached.


Eva-Lotta E. Hedman, In the Name of Civil Society: From Free Election Movements to People Power (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006).

Image Credits:

"People Power Monument," Kathline Tolosa (2011).