Soledad Salvador came from a family that had been tenant farmers in Ilocos Norte for many generations. By working as a housemaid then as a parish worker, she pinned her hopes for a better life on getting an education. Sympathetic church people helped her along, and she was able to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in industrial education. But then she had to work again as a maid in Manila because she could not get a job as a teacher, having failed the licensure exam.
Eventually Salvador decided to return to Ilocos Norte to teach catechism at the Badoc parish church. It was there that she became acquainted with the spiritual and social foundations of the Basic Christian Community program. Having grown up in poverty, it was easy for her to see how landlessness, militarization and the historical struggle of the Ilokano peasants were all tied up together.
In 1983 Salvador joined a guerrilla network that was coordinating anti-dictatorship activities, assigned the dangerous task of passing messages back and forth between the town centers and the villages. Then she began to go deeper into guerrilla territory, moving around with teams that were organizing in the rural areas of Ilocos and the Cordillera region. Despite the hardships and a few close encounters with hostile fire, she was always cheerful and ready to go. She got along well with the people, especially the women and children; it was a surprise for them to learn that she was a college graduate, for she had no airs, they said.
Salvador was with a group of armed guerrillas when she was killed in a raid by military troopers in sitio Beyeng, Bakun, Benguet in 1985. The others who died were Fr. Nilo Valerio and Resteta Fernandez. The three were decapitated, their heads stuck on poles and displayed in some sitios of Benguet. Relatives of the three tried to locate where they were buried, but their bodies have never been found.
PARENTS Guillermo Salvador and Pacita Nacional
Secondary: Araullo Vocational School
College: Mariano Marcos State University, Ilocos Norte