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Did the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution Make the Rich Richer?

Property boom boosts fortunes of the extremely wealthy even as widespread poverty persisted
By Pauline Macaraeg |



If you bought a house in one of  Metro Manila’s high-end villages in 1982,  the year before the onset of economic and political  crises that eventually triggered the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986,  that piece of property would now be worth 160 to 300 times, depending on the location.


Data from property brokerage Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) reveal that 35 years ago, the price of real estate in the high-end residential villages in Metro Manila ranged from only Php300 per square meter in Ayala Alabang to Php1,750 per sqm in Forbes Park. The data also covered Dasmariñas Village,  San Lorenzo Village, Bel-Air Village, Urdaneta Village.


Today, the prices range from Php95,000 per sqm (Ayala Alabang) to Php345,000 (Dasmariñas Village).


“The biggest, biggest jump (in property prices) happened in the crisis years,” said David Leechiu, CEO and founder of LPC as he discussed the long-term trends in property prices. He then cited an oft-quoted adage that those who have the stomach to buy while there was blood in the streets will likely see their fortunes grow tremendously.



The post-1986 boom in land prices in exclusive residential villages where the richest Filipinos live may indeed suggest that the aftermath of the EDSA Revolution was a great boon for the country’s wealthiest families. Already rich, many of them even grew wealthier as the value of their properties surged higher after the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship in February 1986. (See infographic)


To a certain extent, this is reflected in the country’s income distribution statistics. The portion of the country’s total income that goes to the richest 10 percent of households, while fluctuating wildly, generally went up from 1985 to 1997, which covered the first decade after the EDSA uprising. However, the income share of the richest tenth of households generally declined in the 2000s. Meanwhile, the share of the poorest families barely changed for more than two decades.


The economic recovery that fueled the post-revolution property boom enjoyed by wealthy Philippine families also resulted in a decline in the poverty rate. Poverty incidence was halved from over 40 percent of households 1985 to only about 20 percent by 2003. However, poverty incidence remained constant between 2003 and 2012 and fell only slightly in 2015.






Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg


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