In commemoration of the September 21 anniversary of the declaration of Marcos’s Martial Law, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) paid tribute to the heroes and victims who fought the dictatorship. Dubbed “Never Again, Never Forget: A day of remembrance for democracy and freedom”, the event was held on September 21, 2018 at the CHR building in UP Diliman, Quezon City, and highlighted “the recognition of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime who, with their sacrifices and heroism, helped the country restore its democracy”.
In addition to the thousands of claimants already approved for monetary reparations by the former Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), another 125 cases were determined motu proprio by the board. The said honorees who chose to forego reparations were prominent leaders, activists and human rights advocates who will be included among the thousands to be memorialized in an archive, a museum, and a wall of remembrance. The CHR presented certificates of recognition to the following honorees or their representatives: Jacobo S. Amatong, Ceferino “Joker” Paz Arroyo Jr., Bishop Benjamin Barloso, Catalino “Lino” Brocka, David T. Bueno, Cesar C. Climaco, Jose “Butch” Y. Dalisay Jr., Jesus Flor Fernandez, Oscar Diamaro Francisco, Rosalinda Galang Reyes, Antonio “Tonyhil” Hilario, Sister Mary Bernard Jimenez, Haroun Al Rashid Lucman, Wright Molintas Jr., Horacio “Boy” Morales Jr., Nicasio “Nicky” Manalo Morales, Rogelio Concepcion Morales, Former Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, Jaime V. Ongpin, former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., former Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada, former Senator Wigberto E. Tañada, Quintin G. Yuyitung, Rizal C.K. Yuyitung, Ma. Socorro “Cookie” Diokno, Jose W. Diokno, and former Vice President Teofisto T. Guingona Jr.
CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon said, “We must not forget the lessons of the past so we can guarantee that there will be no repetition of human rights violations and authoritarian abuses.”
Executive Director Carmelo Victor A. Crisanto of the Human Rights Violation Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC), said “We also hope that the memorial will remind current and future generations with regard to sufferings and sacrifices of victims of human rights abuses so they will not take for granted the freedom and democracy they are currently enjoying.”
Crisanto and CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia also presented commendations for: HRVCB Chairperson Lina C. Sarmiento; HRVCB members, Wilfred Asis, Galuasch G. Ballaho, Byron D. Bocar, Dexter B. Calizar, Glenda T. Litong, Jacqueline V. Mejia, Ricardo Moldez, Nasser Pangandaman Jr., Aurora Corazon A. Parong, and Erlinda N. Senturias; CHR chairperson and former board member, Jose Luis Martin Gascon; and, Board Secretary Gerardo G. Dia.
Earlier, the CHR inaugurated its new facilities and hosted a photo exhibit depicting extrajudicial killings and the social conditions prevalent then and now, “particularly the unprecedented scale of killings in the bloody campaign against illegal drugs”.
The honorees, their relatives, human rights advocates, and members of various civil society organizations joined the commemoration to affirm their commitment to freedom, democracy, and respect for the human rights of the Filipino people. (Fred Dabu, UP MPRO)