Last September 19, 2017, the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office held the opening forum for its week-long series of fora and photo exhibition on Martial Law at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center.
Two of the speakers were alumni who shared their first-hand experiences during the martial law as a young Thomasian in the university.
Journalism alumna Mars Mendoza narrated that human compassion was not recognized except for the friends of the Marcoses, “sa ating simpleng mamamayan, wala tayong karapatang pantao noon.” Mendoza even recalled the curfew violators were penalized to pull the grasses using their bare hands in Camp Crame.
Executive Director of Coconut industry Reform Movement Inc. and College of Commerce alumnus Joey Faustino said he belonged to the first batch of students who organized and mobilized fellow Thomasian students under the martial rule, “We mobilized 5000 to 8000 students.” Faustino said.
“Pansinin mo ‘yung panahon, everybody was so afraid to talk. Somebody has to do it.” he added.
Faustino’s brother who introduced him to activism became a part of the infamous desaparecidos. “It turned out that there were 10 of them from UP Los Banos that disappeared within a span of one week.” Upon weeks of searching, Faustino said he and his father dug up two graves in one of the camps permission of then National Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile. The young Faustino would identify his brother through his dentures. “All bodies we found are crushed. every skull was shattered,” he said.
“We have to get the students engaged,” said Mendoza.
This event was in commemoration of the victims under the Marcos Regime and also Thomasian martyrs and heroes.