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