Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

Every year since 1992, the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation has been honoring those it considers to be martyrs and heroes (300 plus to date) who fought for freedom during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986). Those were the women and men who lost their lives, suffered in prison, were tortured in so many horrible ways and who disappeared (“salvaged” or summarily executed) because they dared to stand up against tyranny.

But many, though getting on in years, continue to lend their voices, presence, and resources in matters of national concern. They also play vital roles in making sure the braves who had preceded them would have a place of honor in the nation’s memory. And this means making sure that the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument to the Heroes) complex, with its iconic black granite Wall of Remembrance and bronze monument of a mother holding a fallen son, would continue to be a place of honor. The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation keeps pushing back attempts to erase memories of the Marcos dictatorship from the national consciousness.

Last April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation honored 13 men and women as “Haligi ng Bantayog” (the Walls/Pillars of Bantayog) at a packed hall of the University of the Philippines Hotel.

Each one was honored with a hand-made sablay (sash) with a Philippine flag design and the Bantayog word in baybayin (our pre-colonial era way of writing) embroidered on it. It was designed by Amihan Abueva and crafted by her women’s group.

Here they are, they who continue to hold torches that never dim, exemplars for those among us who might be losing their way in the political maze.

Feliciano Belmonte Jr.: A Bantayog benefactor, he headed “Bayan Muna Bago Sarili” fundraising campaign (1988), congressman for four terms and speaker of the House of Representatives, mayor of Quezon City, and 2003 Most Outstanding Mayor of the Philippines, father of Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Felipe L. Gozon: Lawyer, board chair of the giant media GMA Network, Bantayog trustee and treasurer (1999-2022). He stands for the truth that goes beyond GMA’s news and public service by safeguarding history.

Gloria Jopson Kintanar: Anti-martial law activist who spent years in the underground, widow of Bantayog hero Edgar Jopson and revolutionary fighter Romulo Kintanar, headed Bantayog screening committee (2013-2015), Bantayog trustee (2004-2014).

Jose “Pete” Lacaba: Author, award-winning poet, journalist, translator, scriptwriter, activist, Bantayog trustee (1999-2005). He suffered torture in the hands of his military captors and was detained without charges for almost two years.

Edcel C. Lagman: Lawyer, congressman, human rights defender, Bantayog trustee (2005-2006). He was the principal author of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368), the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012. His desaparecido brother Hermon is a Bantayog hero.

Carolina “Bobbie” Malay: Educator, activist, journalist, former political detainee, negotiator in peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, Bantayog trustee (2010-2022).

Helen Mendoza: University professor, writer, initiator of research and documentation on Bantayog heroes and martyrs. She helped in making policies related to the honoring process.

Artemio V. Panganiban: Former chief justice of the Supreme Court, Inquirer columnist, Bantayog trustee (1992-2000). Panganiban reasserted the truth about the “organized pillage” of the Marcos regime and enumerated the Marcos assets that the Supreme Court had found to be ill-gotten.

Judy Araneta Roxas: One of the earliest supporters of Bantayog ng mga Bayani, philanthropist, chair of the Gerry Roxas Foundation, 1987 papal awardee.

Rene A.V. Saguisag: Human rights lawyer, senator (1987-1992), law professor, writer, Bantayog trustee (1998-2000), voted against the extended stay of the United States military bases. (Saguisag was one of the Mabini lawyers who defended me during the Marcos dictatorship).

Salvacion Zaldivar Perez: Antique governor (2001-2010), daughter of Bantayog hero Calixto Zaldivar, Bantayog trustee (2002-2008). After serving in the government she immersed herself in nongovernment organizations, among them, the Antique Development Foundation which she headed.

Wigberto E. Tañada: Human rights lawyer, senator (1987-1995), congressman (1995-2001), Bantayog trustee and chair (2016-2022). He was consistently outspoken on matters of national sovereignty and preserving historical truth. The late Lorenzo Tañada, nationalist statesman and senator, a Bantayog hero, is his father.

Deogracias N. Vistan: President and CEO of Land Bank of the Philippines (1986-1992), head of Bantayog screening committee and member of finance committee (1992-2013), Bantayog trustee (1992-2013). During his term as Landbank president, a long-term lease of a 1.5-hectare Landbank property was secured for Bantayog through President Corazon C. Aquino’s Proclamation No. 310 of 1988.

Read the complete citations in Mabuhay!