Cebuanos honor 7 martyrs, 8 survivors of martial law
CEBU CITY—Unmindful of the rain, about 1,000 people gathered at Plaza Independencia here on Wednesday to honor seven martyrs and eight survivors of martial law.
A rally called “Cebu Rages Against Tyranny” preceded the ceremonial groundbreaking for a marker that would recognize the heroism of the Cebuanos who led the fight against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
While the rally was going on, supporters of President Duterte gathered on one side of the plaza and taunted the protesters.
No untoward incident happened, though.
‘Worthy of emulation’
The eight martial law survivors deemed “worthy of emulation” were lawyer Democrito Barcenas, Auxilium Toling-Olayer, Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, retired Judge Meinrado Paredes, professor Zenaida Uy, former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, Fr. Emi Maningo and Ruben Diaz.
Only Barcenas, Paredes, Fernandez and Uy were present during the event.
The seven martyrs were Nenita “Inday Nita” Cortes Daluz, Fr. Rosalio “Rudy” Romano, lawyer Vicente Balbuena, professor Evelyn Neri, Ribomapil “Dodong” Holganza Sr., Fr. Luis “Louie” Hechanova and lawyer Valentino Legaspi.
Barcenas said he was happy to be considered worthy of emulation by the Cebu Citizens’ Assembly, but noted that it entailed a responsibility.
“I am humbled, but at the same time I want to continue the fight we’ve started against the injustices committed by Marcos,” he said.
Barcenas was detained for three months after the imposition of martial law in 1972 for joining groups that opposed Marcos.
He said Filipinos should not forget the ordeal people suffered during the Marcos regime.
“Burying Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani is an insult to 35,000 people who were killed, 5,000 who were tortured and 2,000 who disappeared during martial law, he said.
Barcenas said it was extremely hard to forgive and forget Marcos, who apart from human rights abuses, allegedly amassed up to $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth during his 20-year rule.
“The Marcoses should apologize to the Filipino nation and return the money they got from the government coffers,” he said.
Paredes, who was also detained during martial law, said he was amazed at the presence of a number of young people in various rallies against the Marcoses.
“I thought the millennials had been deceived by the propaganda of the Marcoses. I am very happy to see students and other young people carrying placards and joining the rallies,” he said.
“I hope we continue what we have started against dictator Marcos,” he added.
Olayer, a student at University of San Jose-Recoletos and an activist who was detained and tortured for six years, said Filipinos still could not claim victory over the Marcoses.
“We have not won yet. The fight continues and I urge the youth to do it,” she said.
Not a hero
Fernandez, who was arrested during martial law for organizing sugar workers from Negros over wage issues, said he did nothing wrong and yet he was detained.
“I did not commit any unlawful act. The Marcoses were the ones who committed a mistake when they put me in prison. Marcos is not a hero,” he said.
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