Never again: Memories of martial law as a UP student

04:30 AM September 23, 2019

In response to Michael Tan’s column, “Remembering” (9/20/19), yes, I do remember. I remember joining a march to Malacañang with a classmate and Ricardo Alcantara, a UP engineering freshman, on Jan. 30, 1970.

When night fell, we decided to go home, waved good night and told each other “see you tomorrow.”


By midnight, my friend asked me to call the FEU Hospital and check on Alcantara. He was shot dead while fleeing the scene.

I also remember Emmanuel Alvarez, soft-spoken president of the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines, later killed in a military operation.


I remember holding hands with a buddy in the rallies we joined, as if trying to draw courage and strength from each other. Yes, I still remember how it feels to be stepped on by a dozen flip-flops during the dispersal of a Labor Day rally in front of the US Embassy.

On Sept. 21, 1972, I remember hurriedly packing Mao Zedong’s Red Book, Karl Marx and Lenin’s volumes, Renato Constantino’s works and manifestos of Kabataang Makabayan in a plastic bag, and burying them in the backyard.

Later in my professional life, I remember bringing up in class discussions the dark side of martial law, using my personal experiences as source of information.

Yes, sir, and I do remember that those experiences were the long-lasting part of my UP education.

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