15 new martyrs honored in Bantayog ng mga Bayani
A NEW set of martial law heroes who fought against the Marcos dictatorship were memorialized at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani [Monument of Heroes] in Quezon City on Monday night.
But this year, the remembrance for the freedom fighters came with a tinge of worry, amid increasing public clamor for another “iron hand” kind of Philippine governance.
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation board of trustees member Edicio dela Torre expressed this fear in his welcome remarks during the commemoration of the 2015 honorees for the Bantayog’s Wall of Remembrance.
“In remembering their lives that they sacrificed, we are worried that there are some people clamoring for an iron fist because they think there is lack of discipline in the Philippines,” Dela Torre said.
Marcos was notoriously remembered for human rights violations after he declared Martial Law in 1972.
But “today, we hear people demand order at any cost. We see multitudes upholding warped concepts of the rule of law, purchased with summary killings. This is not the rule of law. This is to rule by fear. I understand the frustrations that attend these attitudes. but I also understand that, like that dark period of Martial Law, we will again suffer needlessly,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the guest of honor during Monday’s activity at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
The 15 new martyrs whose names were etched on the granite memorial wall at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani were Edgardo R. Cupino, Ernesto D. Lacbao, Horacio R. Morales Jr., Antero G. Santos from Luzon; Vicente L. Beloria, Alberto T. Espinas, brothers Napoleon and Rolando P. Lorca from the Visayas, and Evella V. Bonita, Fernando T. Esperon, Nicanor R. Gonzales Jr., Ma. Socorro B. Par, Ester Resabal-Kintanar, Cecilio A. Reyes, and Roberto C. Salac from Mindanao.
The youngest of the set was Reyes, a student activist, who was only 22 when he was killed in a military raid in Davao del Norte. His body was never recovered.
There are currently 268 names on the memorial wall.
A new art installation at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani was also unveiled on Monday. Toym Imao’s “Desaparecidos: Memorializing Absence” is composed of 43 sculptures holding empty frames to hollow chests, to symbolize the continual pain of families who lost loved ones to enforced disappearances during the 43 years of Martial Law.
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