Tuesday, November 30, 2010

13 names added on heroes wall

Philippine Daily Inquirer/FEATURES/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Human rights lawyers, a pastor, teachers and organizers of students, the youth, peasants and communities?13 men in all, two of them, brothers?will be honored on Tuesday and their names engraved on the Wall of Remembrance at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City.
The way they lived and died varied?some were arbitrarily killed or disappeared, while others died of natural causes.
This year?s honorees bring to 193 the names etched on the black granite Wall of Remembrance near the 45-foot bronze monument by renowned sculptor Eduardo Castrillo that depicts a defiant mother holding a fallen son.
The monument, the wall and other structures at the Bantayog complex are dedicated to ?the nation?s modern-day martyrs and heroes who fought against all odds to help regain freedom, peace, justice, truth and democracy in the country.?
Close examination
The Bantayog recognition is conferred only after close examination of a person?s life and manner of death.
The 13 are Roy Lorenzo H. Acebedo (1951-1975), David T. Bueno (1956-1987), William T. Chua (1955-2004), Jesus F. Fernandez (1955-2007), Arthur E. Galace (1942-1993), Eduardo E. Lanzona (1946-1975), Salvador F. Leaño (1921-1986), brothers Alfredo (1947-1973) and Armando L. Mendoza (1949-1975), Alex A. Mirabueno (1951-1988), Modesto C. Sison (1947-1977), Teresito G. Sison (1930-1980) and Rolan Y. Ybañez (1958-1985).
Honor studentt
Acebedo was a student organizer. He was a scholar, honor student majoring in mathematics at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
A student leader and activist, Acebedo was hunted down by the military during the martial law years. He was arrested, heavily tortured and detained for eight months.
He did not return to school after he was released and proceeded to the countryside. He was captured in a military raid.
Witnesses said Acebedo and his comrades were tortured and ordered to dig their graves. His remains have not been recovered.
Bueno, a human rights lawyer, graduated from San Beda College. He defended pro bono political prisoners and the tribal Yapayao farmers.
Based in Ilocos Norte, Bueno denounced military operations and atrocities in the North and organized a human rights organization there.
He took in village people and sent poor children to school. Bueno was assassinated in 1987.
Satirical pieces
Chua, a graduate of Xavier School, De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, was not only a human rights lawyer. He was also a writer who penned scathing and satirical pieces during the martial law years. He gave his services to striking labor unionists and civil society groups.
Garrulous and funny, Chua was a well-liked person who brought much laughter even in times of danger and while doing serious work. Later, he would help expose graft and corruption in government.
Chua died of natural causes in 2004 and received several posthumous citations from his alma mater and the Chinese-Filipino community.
Youth leader
Fernandez was a youth leader who helped organize massive protest rallies. Working in the underground for several years, he was known for his planning and organizing skills and his work for the poor, justice and peace. He died of natural causes.
Galace was a human rights lawyer who organized fellow human rights advocates in northern Luzon. He defended political detainees and also wrote a column in a provincial paper.
He took up the case of farmers massacred by soldiers in Nueva Vizcaya. He died of diabetes in 1993.
Economics teacher
Lanzona was an economics teacher. He attended Ateneo de Manila University. Although he came from a wealthy family in Davao, Lanzona became passionately involved in the farmers? clamor for land reform.
He helped organize professors in Ateneo de Davao as well as bank employees. He joined the underground and became a hunted man. He was arrested, tortured and executed in 1975.
Leaño was a pastor for the Foursquare Church in San Andres, Romblon, at the time of his death. A poll watcher during the 1986 snap presidential election, he was shot and killed while defending the ballot. His body was stuffed inside a sack and found buried in a shallow grave.
The judge who convicted the murderer was all praises for Leaño?s dedication to duty and nominated him to be among the Bantayog heroes.
Brothers Alfredo and Armando Mendoza are considered ?desaparecidos? (disappeared). Their names are inscribed on the Flame of Courage Monument in Baclaran Church grounds for the missing.
Alfredo was a church worker and organizer while Armando was a student and peasant organizer.
Arrested in 1973, Alfredo was detained and later disappeared. Armando was arrested and detained in 1974. His captors said he escaped but his family received reports about him being rearrested and killed. The bodies of Alfredo and Armando have not been found.
Mirabueno was a human rights lawyer active in his home province of Cotabato. He hosted a radio program and rallied listeners to demand for reforms, he denounced corruption in government and illegal loggers.
He was also the provincial chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group. Mirabueno was gunned down in broad daylight.
Modesto Sison was a high school teacher in Davao Oriental and later, a peasant organizer. As a member of the Federation of Free Farmers and the Khi Rho movement, he went deep into the peasant movement. He disappeared in 1977 and has never been found.
Former seminarian
Teresito Sison was a former seminarian and a gifted teacher. He taught in Angeles City and later led a teachers? strike.
Arrested in 1971 when President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, Sison was detained, tortured and charged with subversion.
The torture he suffered led to physical disability and eventually, kidney failure.
Ybañez was a community organizer. Born in Mindoro Oriental, Ybañez the activist moved around in several places and later settled in Cebu where he became involved in protest rallies.
Although a behind-the-scenes person, Ybañez became a marked man. He was abducted on the same day that Fr. Rudy Romano was seized. Both of them remain missing to this day.
Honors will be conferred on these 13 individuals starting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Bantayog Memorial Center. Located at the intersection of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) and Quezon Avenue, the Bantayog complex now boasts a P16-million building, with a floor area of 1,000-sqm which houses a mini auditorium with 72 seats, symbolic of the year (1972) tyrannical rule was imposed through martial law.
A museum and library-archives are also housed in the building. Bantayog?s facilities could accommodate gatherings for special occasions. (For details please call 4348343 or visit www.bantayogngbayani.net).
Bantayog?s 1.5-hectare property was donated by the government, through Landbank, a year after the Marcos dictatorship was toppled and Corazon Aquino became president in 1986.
Every year names are added to the Wall of Remembrance. The first 65 names were engraved on the black granite wall in 1992. An estimated 10,000 Filipinos are believed to have suffered and died during the Marcos dictatorship that ended in 1986.
Founded after the 1986 People Power Revolution, The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation Inc. is chaired by Alfonso T. Yuchengco. Former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga is chair emeritus.