When Danilo Valcos Jr. was born, Ferdinand Marcos was already president of the Philippines, and so he hardly remembered a time when the country had not been under martial law. He was the youngest of four boys, and his parents were able to indulge him; he and his friends were typical teenagers, playing pranks and trying to act smart. At home, he was a helpful boy in a close-knit family.
Political issues did not interest him, not until the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983. Then he began to pay attention. He joined the League of Filipino Students (LFS) chapter in his town, and started joining rallies and marches. His leadership qualities started to emerge, and in 1984 he was elected vice-chair of the local LFS chapter. He also became an active campaigner for student rights and welfare, successfully leading a student boycott to protest the National Service Law which required students to undergo military training. At the time he was a senior in business administration.
His involvement in the political struggle against the dictatorship was a serious matter for him. In a letter to his parents in September 1985, which he signed “ang inyong aktibistang supling” (your activist son), he expressed the wish that their family would still be there on the day of Paglayang Bayan (national liberation). In that same letter, he set down a truth that he had found out for himself, what he called “Prinsipyo ni Danjun”:
“Ang paglilingkod at paghahandog kung walang nakaugat na pag-ibig ay walang kabuluhan at dakong huli ito ay kasakiman!!” (To serve and to offer, without love, is worthless and it can only be called greed.)
Only weeks after writing this letter, Valcos was killed when Manila police broke through the ranks of a march-rally commemorating Agrarian Reform Week. Organized by the newly-formed Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, thousands of farmers and their supporters demanded price support for their produce, lower prices for farm inputs, an end to militarization, genuine land reform.
The marchers were crossing Taft Avenue when five patrol cars rammed their ranks. Valcos had been with the Bulacan contingent, but rushed towards the commotion when he saw that some of the protestors had been hurt. The police fired their guns, and the rallyists retaliated by throwing stones. At this point, Valcos was hit in the head by a bullet. Another marcher, Emmanuel Lazo, died right there on the pavement.
Valcos was rushed to the nearby Philippine General Hospital where he lay comatose for five days, until he died on October 26. He was only 19 years old.
PARENTS Danilo and Gloria Valcos
Elementary: Baliwag South Elementary School, Baliwag, Bulacan
Secondary: Mariano Ponce High School, Baliwag, Bulacan
College: Manila Central University, Metro Manila