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Some 19 names were added to the list "heroes and martyrs" who fought against dictator Ferdinand Marcos' martial rule when their names were etched on another installation at the "wall of remembrance" at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on Wednesday.
In an hour-long ceremony that coincided with the observance of Andres Bonifacio's birth anniversary, the Bantayog enrolled the new batch of movers against the Marcos dictatorship, which included student-activists, labor leaders, artists, and journalists.
Former Sen. Wigberto Tañada, who now heads the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, noted the importance of hailing these real heroes, in contrast to the surprise burial of the former dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 18.
"Kaisa po at sinusuportahan ng Bantayog ang paninindigan ng maraming Filipino na si Ferdinand Marcos ay hindi bayani. Marcos is no hero," Tañada declared.
"Kaya, mga kasama, mga kaibigan, mahalaga at importante po itong araw na ito. Sa araw na ito kikilalanin natin, pahahalagahan natin, at pararangalan natin ang labing-siyam na tunay na bayani ng ating bayan. Dahil po sila ay hayagang tumulong at lumaban sa pagpabagsak, pagpapatalsik ng diktadurang rehimen ni Marcos," he added.
In this year's list was the late Sen. Jovito Salonga, founding chairman of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation. Salonga passed away last March.
Salonga, a staunch critic of the Marcos regime, was among the victims of the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombings, during which two hand grenades were thrown during an opposition party rally. The incident left him blind in one eye and deaf in one ear.
He defended political prisoners detained without charges after Martial Law was declared in 1972. Then post-dictatorship, he headed the Philippine Commission on Good Government and eventually, the Senate, from 1987-1991.
Another on the list was the late Philippine Daily Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, and journalists Lourdes Estella-Simbulan and Antonio Zumel.
Youth leaders during Martial Law were also inclued: Eduardo Aquino, Fortunato Camus, Edgardo Dojillo, Joel Cecilio Jose, Marciano Anastacio Jr., Ricardo Filio, and Hernando Cortez.
The late beauty queen Margarita "Maita" Gomez and director Behn Cervantes were also feted, along with labor leader Simplicio Villados, soldier Danilo Vizmanos, Manuel Dorotan, members of the clergy including Bishop Julio Labayen, Romulo Peralta, and Jose Tangente.
Wednesday's ceremony was a seeming reunion of family and friends, many of whom were involved in the movement against the dictatorship.
Among the guests who took the stage several times to honor the new "heroes," were Satur Ocampo, Neri Colmenares, National Democratic Front's (NDF)'s Luis Jalandoni and Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera.
Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis Pangilinan were also present during the event. — DVM, GMA News