The death of a man who fought for freedom was the price needed to be paid to claim the freedom for the country he loved. Marcos’ period of tyranny was a tumultuous time in history, only a few decades after World War 2 and the Philippines’ becoming a recognized self-governing republic, a time when the nation should have been enjoying its newfound independence.
Apparently, Cebuanos weren’t afraid to take part in the fight. Cebu “was always with the opposition” at the time of the Marcos regime, University of the Philippines in Cebu history professor, Dr. Madrileña de la Cerna, told Cebu Daily News. Politicians, lawyers, students, members of religious organizations, teachers and many others with different roles in society were very vocal about how they saw the government and the situation of the Filipinos during that time. De la Cerna described the protests as “very alive” because of the students. Theater groups from the province’s top schools, University of the Philippines College Cebu, Saint Theresa’s College and University of San Carlos “were very close” and held performances that portrayed the plight of the citizens under the Marcos’ regime.
The “Battle at the Capitol,” as coined by the once-existing newspaper, The Republic News, was considered such a blatant display of the people’s sentiments about the Marcos government that a story about it was published in The New York Times. The demonstration was organized after one of the rigged elections during the Marcos era. Thousands participated “armed with firebombs and bricks,” reported the US publication, and ended violently with 1 dead and 27 injured. 8 of those among them were soldiers. It was a 17-year-old named Raul Pintoy who died at the public demonstration after a fatal shot to his neck fired by one of the policemen and soldiers who were shooting at the protesters.
Dodong Holganza was a celebrated freedom fighter who, even when behind bars, continued to organize and function as a leader in the movement against Marcos and his cronies. De la Cerna could recall Nenita Cortes Daluz aka “Inday Nita,” a reporter, “always in the front line” of marches. It was also in a monastery in Cebu where the Aquinos found safety for a while.
Without a doubt, Cebu played a significant role in a crucial time of our country’s history to regain freedom. Tomorrow, on Ninoy Aquino Day, let us remember not just one man but all those who fought with him and those who risked their lives, believing in his message that “the Filipino is worth dying for.”
Photo credits: Cebu Daily News