Rekindled: Children's Narratives


It was a long, violent fight against those who forcibly imposed their will against the interests of the people, monopolizing our wealth and resources... killing, torturing, and jailing those who refused to be silent and keep still. The stories in this book remind us of the pain. Also, that much of the pain keeps coming back. And that until today there is so much injustice and oppression. But really, when good and decent persons come together to find the common good, they are not only able to bring about change for the better: They themselves change for the better!

“Isulong Ang Katotohanan, Katarungan, Kapayaan at Kalayaan”

Speech delivered by Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno, Dean, College of Law, De La Salle University, at the 2010 Annual Celebration Honoring Martyrs and Heroes, Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, as Guest Speaker.

Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno

Senator Salonga, the moving force and Chair Emeritus of Bantayog ng mga bayani; Bantayog Chair Mr. Alfonso Yuhengco; the officers and trustees of the Bantayog Board; your Excellencies, members of the diplomatic Corps; the families of Roy Acebedo, David Bueno, William Chua, Jesus Fernandez, Art Galace, Eduardo Lanzona, Salvador Leano, Vicente Mirabueno, Alfredo Mendoza, Armando Mendoza, Modesto Sison, Teresito Sison and Rolan Ybanez; Mrs. Pearl Doromal and the family of the late Quintin Doromal, who touched so many lioves, distinguished guests; friends.

“Buhay inialay sa sambayanan, bunga kalayaan.”

These words are inscribed on the epitaph of Modesto Sison, one of the Filipinos we honour today; but they ring true for every hero whose name appears on the Wall of Remembrance; for every man, woman and child who gave their lives for truth’ justice, peace and freedom; and for all Filipinos who have devoted their energies to shaping a nation for our children.

Roy Acebedo, David Bueno, William Chua, Jesus Fernandez, Art Galace, Eduardo Lanzona, Salvador Leano, Vicente Mirabueno, Alfredo Mendoza, Armando Mendoza, Modesto Sison, Teresito Sison and Rolan Ybanez were ordinary people who could have chosen to live ordinary lives: Instead they chose to live lives of meaning, by dedicating themselves to something larger than their own mortal existence – the causes of truth, justice, peace and freedom.

To borrow the words of Vaclav Havel, the 13 men we honour today were men who, like the heroes who came before them, “lived within the truth.” Living in the truth is “directly doing in your immediate surroundings what you think needs doing, saying what you think is true and needs saying, [and] acting the way you think people should act.”[1] Those who live in truth transform not only themselves but those around them. Like beacons of light in a time of darkness, they shine with intrinsic worth. In the words of Emilio Jacinto:

“Ang kamahalan ng tao’y wala sa pagkahari, wala sa tangos ng ilong at puti ng mukha, wala sa pagka-paring kahalili ng Diyos, wala sa mataas na kalagayan sa balat ng lupa; wagas at tunay na mahal ang tao, kahit laking-gubat at walang nababatid kundi ang sariling wika, yaong may magandang asal, mayisang pangungusap, may dangal at puri; yaong di napaaapi’t di nakikiapi; yaong marunong magdamdam at marunong lumingap sa baying tinubuan.”


“When these ideas firmly take root and the golden rays of Freedom shine forth on the subjugated Isles, and spread their glorious light among all our countrymen in unending happiness, then each life sacrificed and all manner of hardship and suffering shall have been more than worth it.”[2]

The birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio is a good day to examine our collective existence as a nation, to ask where we are going, and what we can do to make our country a better place. For Bonifacio was, in many ways, the quintessential Filipino: a man of the people, by the people, and from the people, whose abiding belief in independence forged these disparate islands into a nation. A man who took to heart what Mabini expressed so beautifully, that as Filipinos our fundamental duty is to “[l]ook upon you countryman as more than a neighbor. See in him the friend, the brother or at least the companion to whom you are bound by one single fate, by the same joys and sorrows, and by equal aspirations and interests.”[3]

Roy Acebedo, David Bueno, William Chua, Jesus Fernandez, Art Galace, Eduardo Lanzona, Salvador Leano, Vicente Mirabueno, Alfredo Mendoza, Armando Mendoza, Modesto Sison, Teresito Sison and Rolan Ybanez defended the rights of others as they did their own. They lived “lives of truth.” They have shown us the way: it is up to us to carry the torch and keep the fire going.

“Buhay inialay sa sambayanan, bunga kalayaan.”

As we inscribe their names on the Wall of Remembrance, we would do well to recall the words of Ka Pepe Diokno, who said: “… The people [who have]… given so much of [their] blood and [their lives] … for freedom, cannot be denied forever.”[4]

Thank you and good day.

[1] Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World.

[2] Emilio Jacinto, “Ang Mga Aral ng Katipunan,” in Jose P. Santos, Buhay at mga Sinulat ni Emilio Jacinto, n.p.: 1935, pp. 61-63.

[3] La Revolucion Filipina, I, p. 107

[4] Jose W. Diokno, “U.S. Policy and Presence in East Asia: An Insider’s View,” in A NATION FOR OUR CHILDREN (1987), p. 200.

Statement of Bantayog Ng Mga Bayani on Parlade's Social Media Post

In a social media post dated April 25, 2022, retired general Antonio Parlade referred to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, its work and past leaders, with statements that show little respect for truth or fairness.

The names of Senator Jovito R. Salonga and Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, former chairpersons of the Foundation and both deceased, are cited in the post with statements laced with malicious falsehoods. These two gentlemen have played crucial roles in the Foundation. They contributed immensely to its growth. They continue to inspire us who now run the foundation because of the wise leadership they showed in their time.

Since its establishment 36 years ago, the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation has worked to honor the memory of those martyrs and heroes who sacrificed much in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. It strives to memorialize the lessons of that difficult struggle of our nation and help prevent tyranny from returning in the country. It has over 100 members, and is managed by a Board of Trustees chosen by its members. The Foundation works with government agencies, schools, and civic and non- government organizations. We believe in strengthening our democratic institutions and we work to help in nation-building. We support the study and teaching of history, particularly honoring those worthy of emulation by our youth.

The roster of heroes whose names are enshrined in the Bantayog Wall of Remembrance represent a microcosm of our population. The list includes a president of our country, senators, Supreme Court justices, local officials including governors and mayors, physicians, lawyers and judges, educators, journalists, artists, people from various religious communities, as well as farmer leaders, labor leaders, indigenous elders, women leaders, and many, many young activists and organizers.

We face difficult times. Our country needs to strengthen its spirit and hopes for the future. Bantayog ng mga Bayani offers the lives of these martyrs as inspiration. These heroes named in the Bantayog Wall of Remembrance, young or old, educated or not, rich or poor, well-known or not, have one thing in common – the country called on them in a time of need and they gave the one life they had in its service.

Sen. Salonga said in a speech in 2009: “A nation is measured by the quality of the men and women it honors. Were [we] to honor a scoundrel, we could never lift our heads out of a deep sense of shame. But because of these heroes and martyrs, we can stand up with pride and walk together, heads unbowed, knowing that we are honoring ourselves and our nation, more than we are honoring them.

There is nothing we can do to add to their heroism and martyrdom. But there is much we can do to restore the good name and reputation of the nation for which they gave their all.”

That, in sum, describes what Bantayog aims to do.#

Wigberto E. Tañada
The Board of Trustees
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, Inc.
April 29, 2022

Digital Library

In the interest of public information and to combat disinformation, Bantayog ng mga Bayani is launching this library where Interested readers may browse, share or even download.

At the moment, it contains issues from 1980s publications such as Philippine Signs, Signs of the Times, Veritas, Mr & Ms. Who and others. More will be added in the future.

The press suffered much under the Marcos dictatorship, with independent newspapers shut down, television stations taken over, and journalists slain, harassed or taken to prison. However, as resistance to the dictatorship built up, more and more independent publications emerged. They provide us today a chronicle of how Filipinos lived, suffered and struggled under a dictatorship.

We welcome donations so we can continue to build the library. This is for our youth. This is for our history. Never again to censorship. Never again to tyranny.

Click here to access the files.

The Toilet Bucket Battle at Sudaimoon Prison, Seoul

The current craze over K-pop and K-drama  might make us forget the fact that, as with the Philippines, Korea went through dictatorship and had its share of political prisoners. Read below how young and courageous students fought against maltreatment at the Sudaimoon prison in Seoul in 1981.

Click the image below to read the full issue:


Never Again to Tyranny!

The martyrs and heroes we honor each year at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani are silent witnesses of a past generation that faced a dictatorship and contributed its best sons and daughters in the struggle to defeat such a regime.

We lost much to dictatorship; the families of these individuals suffering in a most personal way. But we took courage from their sacrifices and those of many more unnamed martyrs; we faced guns and firetrucks; we gave democracy a new breath of life. We said “Never Again” to abusive rule and to abusive rulers.

In 2022 we commemorate the 50th year of the start of the 14-year repressive and criminal regime of Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cohorts. They caused thousands to be killed, tens of thousands to be imprisoned, hundreds of thousands to be displaced from hearth and home, and millions to be impoverished. The nation’s coffers were left empty and the people were left shouldering billions of pesos in debt. And yet, like a nightmare come to life, Marcos heirs are now trying to come back to power.

Meanwhile the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has tested our endurance for over a year and a half now. Threats to our lives and the survival of our community life and essential institutions have been exacerbated by our government’s inadequate response as well as government corruption and incompetence.

The national elections set for May next year gives us a chance to choose upright and competent leaders who would direct the way out of the pandemic, look after the citizens’ necessities and livelihoods, and respect people’s rights. The election outcome may determine whether our country rises from or falls deeper than the worst levels of repression and depression it has seen since Marcos.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani is one with the forces in our country seeking to defend our democratic gains. On behalf of the martyrs and heroes it honors, it commits to support the fight for our rights, for truth and justice, and for our national sovereignty. We reject unfaithful leaders and call on all not to allow tyranny to ever again prevail over our country.

Repression & Resistance

PAINTING REPRESSION is a montage of different paintings done by various artists. It gives an overview of Philippine history beginning in 1965 through the EDSA revolution.

The montage features several painters that belong to Kaisahan, a group of progressive artists and graphic artists during the martial law period. These are Pablo Baen Santos, Edgar Fernandez, and Leonilo Doloricon.

Artists that have been active in the protest movement and contributed to this montage are Brenda Fajardo, Boy Dominguez, Edicio dela Torre and Malaya Fernandez.
  • Various Artists
  • Montage, 2008
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 71 cm x 76 cm (each of the 10 frames)

When the Rains Come, Will Not the Grass Grow Again?

GRASS GROWS. Why does there have to be an “enemy?” The retired military officer who asked this question went on to write a book detailing his insights on the government’s Red scare campaign in the 1950s.

Like today, that time in our history was a time of political unrest, when socialists and communists were hounded, killed or put in prison in order to “destroy the enemy.”

But as long as the roots of the problem remain, the abuses, the poverty and inequalities in our society, the masses will continue to rise, Dr. Dante Simbulan concludes in his extraordinary book.

The Duterte administration is replicating the government’s 1950s campaign. It has chosen to ignore, unfortunately, history’s lessons about rains and grasses and the suffering people.

When the rains come, will not the grass grow again?
(The Socialist Movement in the Philippines: 1920-1960)
by Dante C. Simbulan

Published 2018 by Pantas Publishing & Pringint, Inc.
Distributed by Center for the Study of Social Change, and by Popular Bookstore

Consulate, Marcos Agents Linked to Espionage Case (1975)

Read this short but gripping spy story from California. Certain important documents went missing at a Los Angeles conference in 1975 organized by a group of anti-Marcos Fil-Ams and Filipinos in America. The theft was reported to the LA police. Three days later, photos of those missing documents as well as photos of participants in the LA conference were found in the possession of photographers connected with a pro-Marcos newspaper in San Francisco, hundreds of miles away from the site of the theft.

Source: Philippine News, Week of Dec. 20-26, 1975
Credit to: Ferdie A. Fausto, former member of the Movement for a Free Philippines

Political Detainees in the Philippines (Book, 1976)

This iconic 128-page little book, published in 1976 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, destroyed the benevolent image that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos had sought to paint about his rule.

It identified at least 36 detention centers across the country where political prisoners were being kept and tortured. Whenever possible, it provided the number of prisoners in these detention camps, including the number of detained nursing mothers and babies. It provided grisly accounts of torture and execution, accompanied with photos and doctor’s certificates.

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), the courageous group under the AMRSP that was responsible for its preparation, called it the "black book" not only for its powerful black cover but for the darkness and human suffering documented inside its pages, all instigated by the dictatorship forces. The book presents three case studies, one of which is that of the unfortunate 25-year-old Fortunato Bayotlang, of Davao City, found tortured to death.

The book is accessible at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani library.

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