Cebuanos remember Fr. Rudy Romano on 35th year of disappearance
CEBU CITY – “Be like Fr. Rudy.”
This was the call echoed by an alliance of groups here as Cebuanos commemorated the 35th year of the abduction and disappearance of Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano on July 11.
In a statement, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) encouraged people to emulate the Redemptorist priest, who, despite all odds, stood up for what was right during the reign of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.
Romano, a leader of the anti-Marcos movement in Cebu and vice president for the Visayas of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), was a popular advocate for protecting the poor and led the campaign against human rights abuses.
In 1985, he was abducted by armed men in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, and was never seen again.
MAT said Romano’s courage and example serve as guiding light amid the continued oppression and abuses under the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“A society that weaponizes the state machinery and the law to suppress the power of the people and their aspirations only breeds more of Fr. Rudy,” the group said.
“This new breed of prophets and freedom fighters will defeat oppression and end tyranny. As in the past, more Rudies will emerge from the ranks of the struggling people and stand against the tyranny. May we be like Fr. Rudy at a time when tyrants trample human rights and democracy,” it added.
MAT is composed of groups that include religious and political leaders, human rights organizations, activists, academics, lawyers, and many others who aim to unite Filipinos against tyranny.
They said people should learn from the lessons of the past so as not to repeat the country’s dark experiences under the Marcos regime.
“The Marcos tyrannical regime initiated the country’s neoliberal turn. This turn not only brought unprecedented devastation to the local economy but also wreaked havoc to the lives of thousands of Filipinos,” the groups said.
The 1985 disappearance of Romano was remembered by seminarians and the clergy at the Redemptorist Church in Cebu City although it was done in private since Masses and gatherings are still not allowed under the prevailing enhanced communally quarantine due to the rising cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Queen City of the South.
Romano was a native of Samar.
But the Cebu provincial government years ago passed a resolution “adopting Fr. Romano as a son of the province of Cebu” since the priest promoted human rights and rendered concrete assistance and social service to less-privileged Cebuanos.”
The Cebu City government also installed a stone marker in Barangay Tisa where Romano was abducted.
Another marker with a huge cross was put up by the Redemptorist priests outside the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Cebu City to perpetuate Romano’s memory.
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