bantayog.foundation

bantayog.foundation

Contact Us

Come and visit us at Sen. Jovito R. Salonga Building, Bantayog Center, Quezon Ave, Diliman, 1109 Quezon City, Philippines.

You can call us at (Smart) 09085054761, (Globe) 09776220828, and landlines 9851126, 9386672, 9387981, or email us at bantayog@bantayog.foundation, info@bantayog.foundation, museum@bantayog.foundation, and comresdoc@bantayog.foundation. We're also on Facebook at facebook.com/bantayogngmgabayani.

The Bantayog office are open 9AM to 5PM Mondays to Fridays unless holidays and on special announcements by the Bantayog administration. The Bantayog Museum on the other hand is open from 9-11AM and 1-4PM Tuesdays to Saturdays.

About

Bantayog ng mga Bayani in the Filipino language means “Monument to the Heroes.” It is a landscaped memorial center honoring those individuals who lived and died in defiance of the repressive regime that ruled over the Philippines from 1972 to 1986.

A 14-meter Inang Bayan (Mother Philippines) Monument designed by the sculptor Eduardo Castrillo stands on the grounds of the memorial center, depicting the self-sacrifice of a fallen figure of a man, held in one hand by the rising figure of a woman who symbolizes the Motherland, while her other hand reaches for the glorious sun of freedom. In the distance stands a Wall of Remembrance, where the names of martyrs are inscribed. The Monument and the Wall of Remembrance were unveiled on 30 November 1992.

The Inspiration


After visiting the Philippines immediately after the 1986 People Power Revolution to rejoice over the downfall of an authoritarian regime, Dr. Ruben Mallari, a Filipino-American medical doctor, suggested the establishment of a memorial to honor those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and justice but failed to witness the dawn of freedom.

Bantayog

A group of Filipinos responded to this suggestion and organized the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Foundation. Dr. Ledivina V. Cariño, former Dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Public Administration, helped draft the concept paper based on the suggestion of Dr. Mallari. The final concept paper stated the rationale for Bantayog :
Freedom has dawned magnificently upon us brought about by our own will, with the help of Divine Providence. We stood together with linked arms as we proclaimed our unity, our dedication to liberty and democracy, and our commitment to our country. With boundless faith, we broke the chains which enslaved us in a regime of terror, intimidation and fraud. But as we enjoy our liberation, let us not forget those who fell during the night. Let us honor the Filipino patriots who struggled valiantly against the unjust and repressive rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Let us build a memorial to those men and women who offered their lives so that we may all see the dawn.

For as we remember those victims of authoritarian rule, we shall become more vigilant about preserving our freedom, defending our rights, and opposing any attempt by anyone to foist another dictatorship upon us.

In honoring our martyrs, we proclaim our determination to be free forever.

The Bantayog Center aims to reach out mainly to schoolchildren and college students, hoping to help them understand and learn from the people's struggle against repression. “Never Again!” is a recurring theme of the activities.

Preserving the Memory


Based on a set of criteria for selecting persons to be honored, families of victims, members of civic organizations, and the general public are invited to send the names and personal circumstances of persons who should be honored. A Research and Documentation Committee verifies the factual bases of each nomination and conducts independent researches and investigations, so that the names of obscure, unknown martyrs in remote places may be brought to light. The Executive Committee of the Foundation reviews the recommendations of the Committee, and the Board of Trustees gives the final approval.

The names of the first sixty-five martyrs, some of them well- known such as Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and many others not as well-known, were enshrined in 1992. The following year, after long reflection, the Foundation decided to include as heroes those who gave their all for the sake of freedom, justice, and democracy during the Marcos years but died after the EDSA Revolution.

Since then, hundreds of heroes and martyrs of the martial law dictatorship have been honored by their names being inscribed on the black granite Wall of Remembrance.

Right behind the Wall of Remembrance is the Jovito R. Salonga Building, which is named after a distinguished political leader who fought against the authoritarian regime. Salonga continues to add his powerful voice to the democratic people's movement clamoring for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

The Bantayog Museum occupies more than a hundred square meters of space on the second floor of the Jovito R. Salonga Building. On the same floor is the Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco Auditorium where film showings are presented and programs are held. It is named after the Foundation's Chairperson, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who has served as the country's ambassador to China and Japan.

A library is now open on the ground floor of the same building. It contains archives and reference materials relating to the same period, and has begun to serve students and scholars wishing to do research.

Awakening a Sense of History


By displaying authentic material objects associated with the heroes and martyrs, as well as with the period of dictatorship, the Bantayog Museum hopes to awaken in its visitors a powerful sense of history as it was actually made by real-life men and women.

In order to place the dictatorship and the corresponding people's resistance in their historical context while concentrating principally on the period itself of Marcos rule (1972 to 1986), the collection and displays also include the periods immediately before (from 1965) and after (1986-87).

Thus, the pre-martial law section deals with the economic, political and social problems of the 1960s (mass poverty, abusive government officials, violation of civil liberties) that gave rise to popular discontent especially of the youth.

Methods of torture are documented, and the model of a prison cell draws much attention from visitors.

There is a growing collection of memorabilia from the period of resistance, including underground publications, the “mosquito press,” reports from the various civil-society groups emerging at the time, and expressions of international solidarity. The families and friends of the heroes and martyrs donate much of the Bantayog Museum’s material collections.

Through the years of repression, opposition to the Marcos regime kept growing and broadening until the shocking assassination of the political leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. upon his return to the Philippines from exile in the United States. The ensuing nationwide protests have been well documented; culminating in the world-famous “People Power Revolution” that finally drove the dictator out in February 1986. This event is brought to life in the Bantayog Museum with the scale model of a military tank, stopped in its tracks and covered with flower petals showered by the people gathered to press for the ouster of Marcos.

Meanwhile, a Hall of Remembrance beside the Bantayog Museum is dedicated to the heroes and martyrs, through the capsule biographies and individual photos of each one. This section is meant to inspire love and respect for their sacrifice for the common good, especially in the minds and hearts of young people.

Other Activities


Conscious that many other aspects of the martial law period are not yet included in the permanent display, the Bantayog Museum has been mounting special exhibits from time to time. One of these was a special tribute to the late President Corazon Aquino, who assumed the presidency right after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, and whose recent demise prompted a massive outpouring of emotions and fresh insights into her legacy of public service. Another special exhibit showed the works of Philippine artists done in the Social Realist style, some of which were painted during the martial law period and others depicting how today realities mirrors those of yesterday.

Concerts and story-telling are among the other activities conducted by the Bantayog Museum. It may be noted that since the Bantayog Center hosts numerous programs, seminars, etc. by various civil- society groups, the latter are also drawn to visit the Bantayog Museum. It is hoped that with more support from the private sector and the general public, more resources will be generated that will allow the implementation of so many ideas that cry out to be done.

Volunteers are the backbone of the staff, a unique aspect of the Bantayog Museum and Library. Many of them were part of the people's movement against martial law, and are thus able to impart an unforgettable personal touch as they guide visitors around the exhibits. Others are student volunteers with a particular appreciation of the history of the period. Conscious of the need to equip themselves with the requisite professional and technical skills, they have been taking part in a museology training program consisting of visits, seminars and workshops offered by the country's foremost institutions along this line, led by the National Museum.

The operations of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Center are supported and guided by a Board of Trustees headed by the top businessman Alfonso T. Yuchengco as Chairperson and human- rights lawyer Jovito R. Salonga, Chairperson Emeritus, with Nievelena V. Rosete as Executive Director.

Making an Impact


Of the more than forty five thousand visitors who have come to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Center, a good number is composed of ex-activists who are now parents and grandparents themselves. Often, they come in groups to relive the time when they put their own lives at stake for the sake of “truth, freedom, justice and democracy” – the watchwords of Bantayog Museum even today.

However, students at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) make up the majority of visitors. Because Philippine history is part of the academic curriculum, schools organize annual educational tours of which the Bantayog Museum is increasingly a part. It is not an uncommon sight to see tour buses lined up at the entrance to the Bantayog Memorial Center, loaded with hundreds of students and their teachers all waiting for their turn.

It is mainly because of favorable media coverage over the past two years that these schools (and the tour operators) have come to know about the Bantayog Memorial Center. Bloggers have been a good source of information and promotion, as well.

The Philippine press sees the Bantayog Museum as a timely reminder of the dangers of forgetting the past. “At last a museum for rare courage,” read one headline. One columnist said, “...(S)pend a nice Sunday afternoon there, while the breezes blow and the sun shines, looking at the names carved on the Wall of Remembrance, which belong to those who did something heroic for us in more recent times, which claimed many of their lives, and which is why the breezes blow, and the sun shines for us today.” Not a few have commented, though, that this is still a small museum with fewer items than the bigger ones; others have noted the “little shop of horrors” aspect which are perhaps an unpleasant reminder of the martial law period's atrocities.

Future Direction


Building up the Bantayog Museum's collections, as well as properly organizing them with a digitized information system, is the focus of work in the short to medium term. At the same time, the work of educating the public about the Bantayog Museum and its chief concerns should be addressed through more special exhibits, lecture series, conferences and such. A very important complementary task is to dig deeper into the sources of information about martial law; an oral history project must be started while participants during the period are still around to remember and to recount.

This year, 2011, as Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation observes its 25th anniversary, the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Center envisions itself to be “a leading organization on the martial law years, or the leading organization”.

The words of Senator Salonga sum up what Bantayog ng mga Bayani foundation will continue to aim  at:

“We shall proclaim our firm resolve to keep faith with our martyrs and heroes and our deepest conviction that this land of the morning, the repository of our hopes and dreams, is worth living for and dying for.”

Bantayog

The Daet Massacre

The following article about the Daet Massacre is from a 1982 Bicol situationer pamphlet.



Paalam NVR, Godspeed!

Mrs. Nievelena V. Rosete, our former executive director, board secretary and long-time trustee, passed away today June 10, 2015. We extend to her family and friends our warmest sympathy and condolences.

Paalam, NVR, and godspeed!

https://www.facebook.com/bantayogngmgabayani/photos/a.334152743271869.78045.211326645554480/956864454334025/?type=3

'It Was a Hard Day Today'

A reflection from Cindy Domingo:
34 years ago, I was at Harborview Hospital in the trauma unit as Silme lay dying. He would be dead by the morning. We lost Gene and Silme 34 years ago but it doesn't seem that long ago. Today was a hard day. I went to see the SIFF movie - The Black Panthers - Vanguard of the Party and saw many friends from that were part of the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes. The movie reminded me of what our government does to kill our movements - killing our leaders, spreading disinformation to divide us and pit us against each other, paying informants, spying and harassing us. It was a hard day today. I miss Silme and Gene still.

https://www.facebook.com/bantayogngmgabayani/posts/952780371409100

First Quarter 2015 Celebration of Life



On February 25, friends and families of our heroes and martyrs whose birthdates fall within the first quarter (January to March) of the year will share stories of their lives.

Let the sacrifices, heroism, love of fellowmen and country by these outstanding people inspire us in meeting the challenges that continue to be present in our nation.

Bantayog on FQS 45th Anniversary



The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation joins the rest of the country in remembering the tumultuous events of the first quarter of 1970, now remembered as the First Quarter Storm, or FQS, of 1970.

It was a time of great political unrest in the Philippines. Tens of thousands of activists joined protest actions that often ended with members of the armed and police forces holding violent dispersal operations and shooting at unarmed demonstrators who then fought to hold their ranks using home-made bombs and pillboxes. Protesters were raising their voices against growing Philippine involvement in the American war in Vietnam, increasing poverty, and spreading militarization in the Philippines.

The First Quarter Storm attracted many young people, and many Filipino activists, intellectuals as well as from the laboring peoples, trace a life-long commitment to nationalist and democratic issues from this period. Several demonstrators were killed in these shootings. One was factory worker and union leader Liza Balando as among the heroes and martyrs at the time of the Marcos dictatorship.

Other Bantayog heroes from the First Quarter Storm are Carlos Del Rosario, teacher from the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines), and the late Voltaire Garcia III, student activist leader from the University of the Philippines.

Del Rosario, a leader of the activist group Kabataang Makabayan (KM), disappeared in 1971 and has never been seen again. He is believed to have been abducted by Marcos authorities while putting up posters inside the school campus in Lepanto, Manila. On the other hand, Garcia, who became a lawyer and a member of the progressive bloc at the 1971 Constitutional Convention, died of leukemia in 1973, while under house detention by the Marcos government.

This acrylic on canvas, executed in 2006 as a collective work by a group of activist artists, depicts scenes and sentiments from that historical period. The artists come from various progressive organizations and include Boy Dominguez, Art Castillo, Orly Castillo, Babes Alejo, Erwin Pascual, Pedro Alejo, Flon Faurillo and Betsy Alejo.

The painting was commissioned in 2006 by the First Quarter Storm Movement, which represents activists from that period. The 10-foot high canvas was donated the following year to the Foundation, which has had it installed on its lobby wall as permanent display.

(Photo from www.arkibongbayan.org)

3 Labor Leaders, Nun Bantayog Honorees

FREEDOM ADVOCATES Rolando Olalia (left), Felixberto Olalia Sr. (top, left) and Crispin Beltran are among this year’s Bantayog ng mga Bayani honorees. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

First posted at the Philippine Daily Inquirer and written by Ma. Ceres Doyo.

Three fearless labor leaders, four massacre victims, one Augustinian nun and four other activists were among those honored at Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City this week. Their names brought to 235 the names etched on the black granite Wall of Remembrance, centerpiece of the Bantayog complex that honors those who fought, died or were martyred during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

This year’s honorees were labor leaders Felixberto Olalia Sr., Rolando Olalia and Crispin Beltran; human rights worker Sr. Violeta Marcos; “Daet martyrs” Elmer Lagarteja, Jose E. Alcantara (killed at 40), Benjamen Suyat (killed at 47) and Rogelio Guevarra (killed at 45); Jorge Checa, Ceasar Gavanzo Jr., Venerando Villacillo and Julieto Mahinay.

They were all “freedom advocates” who opposed the dictatorship. They lived and died in different ways but had in common a heroic streak that made them worthy to be included in the list of martyrs and heroes etched on the Wall of Remembrance.

The wall stands a few meters away from a towering 13.7-meter (45-foot) bronze sculpture titled “Inang Bayan” (Motherland) created by Eduardo Castrillo. The monument depicts a vertical female figure (symbolizing the Motherland), her left hand raised to the sky in triumph as her right hand lifts up a fallen martyr.

The monument, the commemorative wall and the other structures in the Bantayog complex honor the martyrs and heroes who fought to restore freedom, peace, justice, truth and democracy in the country.
The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation adds more names to the roster of heroes and martyrs as new individuals are nominated and their specific contributions established.

Grand old man

Called the “grand old man of Philippine labor,” Felixberto Olalia Sr. (1903-1983) was the first chair of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) founded in 1980.

But long before KMU, Olalia was already involved in trade unionism. An icon of the Philippine labor movement, he was a founder of the National Federation of Labor Unions.

Born in Pampanga province to poor farmers, “Ka Bert” studied only up to fourth grade. He worked as a houseboy and in a shoe factory, where his initiation to the trade union movement began.

Olalia followed in the footsteps of Crisanto Evangelista, whose bold leadership of labor unions earned the praise even of then Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon.

During World War II, Olalia joined the resistance movement against the Japanese occupation. After the war, he and other labor leaders rebuilt the unions and resumed the agitation for reforms.

Undaunted

In the 1950s, several labor leaders, including Olalia and poet Amado Hernandez, were arrested and jailed on charges of rebellion and for having communist links.

After his release, Olalia, then in his 50s, went back to organizing and advocating for genuine independence from foreign interference.

Shortly after martial law was declared in 1972, Marcos ordered Olalia’s arrest. After his release from prison, Olalia continued championing the cause of the workers.
In the 1980s, he was again thrown in jail. He was then 79 and of frail health. Protests led to his release from prison. He was put under house arrest and died not long after.

Like father, like son

Olalia’s son, KMU lawyer Rolando Olalia (1934-1986), and his driver Leonor Alay-ay suffered a brutal death in 1986, just eight months after the Marcos dictatorship was toppled and a few months into Corazon Aquino’s presidency.

Their mutilated bodies were found by a roadside in Antipolo, Rizal province, a day after their disappearance. They were shot at close range, their mouths stuffed with newspapers.

In its report to then President Aquino, the National Bureau of Investigation said the murders were a prelude to the staging of the “God Save the Queen” coup plot by a renegade military group, Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa, to rid the Aquino Cabinet of left-leaning members.

Beltran

After Olalia Sr.’s death, Crispin Beltran (1933-2008) succeeded to the leadership of KMU. Coming from humble beginnings, Beltran never got to finish college. He worked as a janitor, messenger and taxi driver.

In 1955, when he was 22, he helped establish a federation of taxi drivers’ unions, called the Amalgamated Taxi Drivers Association. He was elected president and held the post for eight years.
In 1982, Beltran was one of the labor leaders ordered arrested by Marcos. In 1984, Beltran escaped and went underground.

After democracy was restored in 1986, he continued his work in the labor sector. He later occupied one of the party-list seats in the House of Representatives, representing the Bayan Muna and Anakpawis party-list groups.

In 2006, during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Beltran was arrested for rebellion and detained for one and a half years until the Supreme Court ruled that the charges against him were baseless.

Beltran died in a freak accident in 2008.

‘Dialogue with poor’

Starting her religious life as a school-based Augustinian sister with an impressive academic background, Sr. Violeta Marcos (1937-2001) saw the plight of sugar workers while on assignment in Negros Occidental province, often described as a restless social volcano.

In 1975, she gave up schoolwork and immersed herself in social action.

Undaunted by the repressive Marcos regime, Sister Violeta joined the Task Force Detainees (TFD) of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines and worked for the defense and release of political detainees.

She joined human rights workers in searching for the missing and helping the victims of military abuses. She helped document cases of arbitrary detention and execution of workers and Church lay leaders.
In 1990, she and some of her fellow religious formed a new congregation, the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines, becoming its first head.

Sister Violeta died of an illness in 2001, ending what she called her “dialogue of life with the poor.”

Daet martyrs

Jose Alcantara (40), Benjamen Suyat (47), Rogelio Guevarra (45) and Elmer Lagarteja (21) were killed on June 14, 1981, in an anti-Marcos rally in Daet, Camarines Norte province. They were among thousands who marched from different towns to Daet’s Freedom Park, shouting “Down with the Marcos dictatorship!” “Raise the prices of copra!” and “Dismantle Cocofed.”

At the Camambugan crossing, they were stopped by soldiers of the Philippine Constabulary led by a Capt. Joseph Malilay. The marchers refused to disperse and, with arms linked, made as if to march ahead. Pushing and shoving ensued between the two sides. Malilay ordered his men to fire. Malilay was among those seen firing at close range. The PC provincial commander, Col. Nicasio Custodio, was reportedly present during the shooting, which lasted less than a minute.

When the smoke cleared, four unarmed marchers lay dead with more than 40 bullet wounds. Soldiers pursued the fleeing protesters and those caught were lined up by the roadside and threatened with being shot.

Human rights lawyer Jose W. Diokno rushed to the scene the day after the massacre and was detained for a few hours at a military camp.

According to a TFD report, all the wounded and killed were standing at the front of the march; the four who died took direct shots from where the soldiers stood; and no weapons were found on the marchers.

Singing group

When Marcos declared martial law in 1972, Jorge Checa (1951-1984) went into hiding on learning he was on the military’s wanted list. He and other members of a youth group called Kamanyang went underground and organized the youth in northern Metro Manila.

Checa founded a singing group called Salt of the Earth. The group sang songs to raise people’s awareness about the burning issues of the day.

Checa and his girlfriend Corazon married in 1973 and the couple’s home became the headquarters of community organizers in the area. At the time, organizing was considered a subversive activity.

A few months later, the couple were arrested and detained for three months at Fort Bonifacio.

Letters stopped coming

After their release, the couple headed for Mindanao and joined the anti-Marcos resistance. They lived with farmers and indigenous communities.

Checa and his wife were not always together but they wrote letters to each other. When Checa’s letters stopped coming, his wife feared the worst.

The search for Checa proved to be a perilous journey. Two lawyers assisting in the search, Zorro Aguilar and Jacobo Amatong, were assassinated.

Checa’s remains and those of another person were eventually found. Checa’s body bore multiple stab wounds, which disproved the military’s suggestion of suicide.

First casualty in Sorsogon

Activist Ceasar Gavanzo Jr. (1947-1972) is considered Sorsogon province’s first casualty of martial law.

A student activist from Manuel L. Quezon University, Gavanzo returned to his home province after martial law was declared and continued his resistance work against dictatorial rule. His home was under constant surveillance and, despite offers of sanctuary by known influential persons, he continued with his work, unprotected.

One day, his family received information that Gavanzo was dead and that his body had been dumped at Bulusan Municipal Hall. Gavanzo’s body bore bullet wounds, his legs and ribs had been broken, and several of his teeth extracted.

Still missing

A tall man with a gift for public speaking, Venerando Villacillo (1950-1985) studied criminology and martial arts. He dreamed of becoming a detective.

When martial law was declared in 1972, he and other activists went to Isabela province to organize the rural folk. When Isabela became heavily militarized, Villacillo worked among evacuees who had fled their homes.

When things became too hot, Villacillo moved to Mindanao to continue his antidictatorship work. He became a wanted man.

Villacillo and his family were on a trip to Manila in 1985 when he was abducted. His family tried to resist but when his daughter was threatened with a gun he allowed himself to be taken away.
The search for Villacillo yielded nothing. He is missing to this day.

Church worker

Julieto Mahinay (1935-1984) was a catechist of the Diocese of Surigao del Norte province. He was well liked and respected. People went to him for leadership and guidance.

Mahinay worked with the Episcopal Commission on Tribal Filipinos, a social action arm of the Catholic bishops that served indigenous communities. He worked among the Mamanwa, a semi-nomadic group, holding literacy classes for the Mamanwa while staying in a farm run by the diocese. He taught them farming techniques to help them improve their livelihood.

Mahinay also helped the communities displaced by military operations and land-grabbing activities. He made them aware of their rights.

On March 14, 1984, Mahinay was on his way to Claver National High School to hold a spiritual retreat for graduating students. At a checkpoint of the 36th Infantry Battalion, soldiers stopped the jeepney that Mahinay was riding.

The soldiers found in his possession a Bible and a map of tribal settlements in Mindanao. They let the jeepney and the passengers go but detained Mahinay.

He never made it to his appointment with the students. He never made it back to his home in Amontay, a village outside Surigao City.

The Free Legal Assistance Group filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Mahinay but to no avail. His family and coworkers followed leads that yielded nothing.

Mahinay was never found. His family believed that the soldiers who seized him were responsible for his death.

The Annual Honoring of Martyrs and Heroes 2014

This year’s honorees were labor leaders Felixberto Olalia Sr., Rolando Olalia and Crispin Beltran; human rights worker Sr. Violeta Marcos; “Daet martyrs” Elmer Lagarteja, Jose E. Alcantara (killed at 40), Benjamen Suyat (killed at 47) and Rogelio Guevarra (killed at 45); Jorge Checa, Ceasar Gavanzo Jr., Venerando Villacillo and Julieto Mahinay.

They were all “freedom advocates” who opposed the dictatorship. They lived and died in different ways but had in common a heroic streak that made them worthy to be included in the list of martyrs and heroes etched on the Wall of Remembrance.

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Martyrs From Melchor Hall

(Written by Ramon Ramirez, BSEE'66 for the UP Alumni Engineers 2012 Yearbook and UP Alumni Association 2013 Yearbook)

Forty years ago in 1972, then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law throughout the country.  This impacted on the lives of many, including students and alumni of the UP College of Engineering who responded to the situation in various ways.  Thousands were imprisoned in detention camps. The list included students and alumni of the College, such as former Engineering Dean, Reynaldo Vea who was a student then and a spokesman of the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK) and Prof. Dominador Ilio who was arrested at his home in the UP campus and detained in Camp Crame because the military was looking for Dominador, Jr.  Failing to find the son, the military took the father instead; Prof. Ilio was released a month later upon the capture of his son.


Roque Magtangol Sayas

At the Wall of Remembrance of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, a memorial center built to honor individuals who fought against the martial law dictatorship, there are presently 207 names of martyrs, 77 of them from UP, of which 11 came from the College of Engineering. Names are being added every year. The Bantayog ng mga Bayani martyrs from Melchor Hall is a remarkable group of Engineering alumni and students. One of them is Magtanggol Roque of Davao. From the Ateneo de Davao High School, he enrolled at UP and earned his Chemical Engineering degree in 1965. He was an active member of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. He worked with Marsman, Bristol Myers, Johnson and Johnson and Mobil Oil. He was linked to the ship MV Karagatan which allegedly brought arms for the NPA in 1971.  He was charged with subversion, and he joined the underground.  He was killed by soldiers in 1981 at age 40. The Magtanggol Roque Command of the NPA in Mindanao is named after him.


Ortigas Gaston Zavalla

Another engineering alumnus is Gaston “Gasty” Ortigas who took up Mechanical Engineering.  The Bantayog ng mga Bayani has this to say of him: “Gasty also became associated with the Light-A-Fire Movement, an urban guerrilla group where some of Gasty’s former UP and Harvard classmates were also involved. When all but two members of the movement were captured in December 1979 after barely eleven months of operation, Gasty decided to leave for the US. He reached the US in May 1980, continuing his work with the MFP and, especially after the assassination of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983, with the National Democratic Front (NDF).” He died at age 59 in 1990 after a lingering illness.

The Wall of Remembrance also honors Floro Balce of Camarines Norte who was an honor student from elementary to college, graduating valedictorian in grade school and salutatorian in high school. He obtained a government scholarship to study Electrical Engineering at UP Diliman from 1973 to 1978. He joined the UP Student Catholic Action in 1973 and the Kabataang Makabayan. He was also a founding member of UP Ibalon, an organization of Bicolano students in UP.  Floro or “Poloy”, as he was fondly called by classmates, quit his studies in 1978 to do organizing work among the farmers in his home province. While in the countryside he also dreamt of building schools, for which he wrote to a friend: ”If I could teach little children the values of kindness and nationalism, that would be pure happiness." His countryside work was very brief: he was killed in a firefight with government troops that same year and on the day he was marking his 23rd birth anniversary.


hilario

Antonio “Tonyhil” Hilario of Quezon City, enrolled in Electrical Engineering in 1965. He joined the UP Nationalist Corps, helped found the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan, and became its first Secretary General. Together with these groups, he actively engaged in organizing SDK chapters in Metro Manila. Tonyhil was captured in a military raid in a remote village in Kalibo, Aklan in 1974.  Although already wounded, he was tortured by soldiers and was forced to dig up a grave for himself and two other comrades who were killed instantly during the firefight. He was only 25.  The epitaph on his grave reads: “Behind the words, ‘contradiction’, ‘dialectics’, ‘struggle’… lies the desire to see man become human again.”


Molintas, Wright Jr. pic

Wright Molintas, Jr., a scion of two prominent Ibaloi clans of the Cordillera, enrolled in 1979 in a Geodetic Engineering course after graduating from the University of Baguio Science High School. He joined the Gamma Sigma Pi fraternity. He dropped out of the college in 1981 to join the NPA in Kalinga province, assuming the nom de guerre, “Ka Chadli”. He died in an encounter in 1987 in La Union. The Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front enshrined Ka Chadli as “a Hero of the Cordillera Peoples” and named the New Peoples Army’s Regional Operational Command after him – the Chadli Molintas Command.


Laguerder, edwin C. pic

Edwin Laguerder (1961-1987), or “Nono” to his family, was a Civil Engineering student at UP Diliman where he became a member of Pi Sigma fraternity batch 79. He was an organizer and an adviser of a farmers' organization in Davao when he was brutally killed. On the inclusion of his name in the Wall of Remembrance, his family made this response, which we quote in part: “Though it has been 25 years, the pain of Nono’s tragic and brutal death has never left us.   The arrogance of brute military force was revolting in the way he was forcibly driven out of the jeep he was riding, and shuttled to where he was killed.   His hands were poked with heavy pistols, para mawala ang mahigpit nyang pagkapit sa sasakyan, pinagsisipa, at sinisigawang animo’y kriminal.  According to bystander accounts, pinagsigawan pa nga raw ng mga pulis na nanghuli sa kanya na: “adik to, adik to, huwag kayong lumapit. …..We reckon Edwin was murdered on the night after he was captured.  His lifeless body was thrown to the sea – blindfolded and hogtied with weights behind him, siguro para mabaon na siya sa dagat. But his murderers only cut short Edwin’s mortal life – not his spirit and legacy. Today, we honor this spirit and legacy he shares with Madge, Nick, and Roz, and thousands of other known and unknown martyrs in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. Hindi nila hiningi ito I am sure.  But precisely martyrdom is about this – selfless sacrifice in pursuit of what is just, so that all may live with dignity and pride.….In closing, I’d ask you to join me in a moment of silence to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for lives well-spent.”

Vergel Landrito of Quezon City was a Civil Engineering student (up to 3rd year) and a member of the Beta Sigma fraternity.. He joined the  SDK UP Area 2 chapter.  In 1971 he joined the NPA operating in the Tarlac-Zambales boundary. He did organizing work in the Aeta communities, sometimes even inside the Crow Valley which was then under American jurisdiction. In 1972, his group clashed with government troops, and he sustained fatal gunshot wounds. He was only 22.

Bayani Lontok of Mauban, Quezon first enrolled in UP Diliman College of Engineering in 1966 but transferred  to UPLB for his Agricultural Engineering course from 1967 to 1970. A member of the SDK, he worked full time with the farmers in Mt. Banahaw. In November, 1972, at age 22, he and three activists were killed in an Army raid. Their bodies were buried in unknown graves and have never been recovered.

Mariano “Rak” Lopez of Bataan was a graduate of the Philippine Science High School batch 1969 and was an NSDB (now DOST) scholar from 1968 to 1972 while studying for his BS Electrical Engineering degree. Rak was active in the UP Nationalist Corps, SDK and later the cultural group Gintong Silahis. In 1972 he dropped out of school to become a full time organizer in urban poor communities.  Upon the declaration of martial law,   Rak was arrested and detained until February 1974. He worked for a time at the Daily Express where he organized a union. He later left to join the NPA in Isabela. He was gunned down by military troopers in 1976.


Lunas, Ruben M.

Ruben Lunas was an electrical engineering scholar and member of the Epsilon Chi fraternity and the activist group SDK. He was a veteran of  the Diliman Commune of 1971. When martial law was declared, Ruben joined his comrades in the underground in his hometown in Bicol where he did organizing work among the farmers. He was killed in a military raid in Oas, Albay in 1975. He was 25.   Several months before his death, Ruben had written to his brothers and sisters upon learning that a younger brother was picked up and tortured by the military because they could not find him: “Don’t forget that you have a brother who is fighting, not only for your sake, but for the sake of all the suffering masses. You may have been suffering too for the consequences of my actions. Don’t let the monsters of today frighten you.”

Arnulfo “Noli” Resus of Lipa City enrolled in Geodetic Engineering in 1969 as a full scholar. After a year, he transferred to the Philippine Christian University, and later studied at the Philippine College of Commerce.  Noli became a member of KM and the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, becoming an active member of the Christian for National Liberation. When martial law was declared, Noli joined the anti-martial law underground to continue his organizing work. He was arrested in Quiapo in 1974, severely tortured, held incommunicado in a bartolina cell and imprisoned for 8 months. Upon his release, he joined his comrades in Isabela to work as community organizer for the underground. He was killed by soldiers in 1977 at age 25. The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines conferred posthumous honors on Noli on December 27, 1985.

The names of these patriotic and brave alumni and students from Melchor Hall are now immortalized in the granite Wall of Remembrance of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani. We are very proud of them for rising up to the call of the time.

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