SDK Heroes and Martyrs

BAYANI PULIDO LONTOK

 

Date and Place of Birth:           July 23, 1950, Quezon City

Date and Place of Death:         November 1972, Mauban, Quezon Province

Parents:                                   Pedro Lontok and Purita Pulido

 

Education: Elementary             St. Mary’s College, Quezon City (gold medal in Conduct)

High School                            UP Preparatory School

College                                   3rd year, BS Agricultural Engineering, UP Los Baños

 

 

Bayani Lontok was the second among five siblings. He was also the eldest son, was kind and at the same time strict with his younger siblings. He had a good tenor voice and played several instruments. So he spent long hours, sometimes throughout the night, playing music with some of his brothers and sisters. In their younger and even in their older days, and even when Bayani was working in the underground in the days of martial law, playing music was an activity Bayani and his brothers and sisters always enjoyed doing together.

Bayani enrolled in 1966 at the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines. He wanted an engineering degree because he was good at mathematics and he enjoyed solving practical problems. The following year he moved to UP Los Baños and shifted to a course in agricultural engineering, indicating a change in his career interests.

 

In 1968 and 1969, he joined a group of students from Los Baños headed by Aloysius Baez in a summer student-farmer integration program. The students spent both summers with farmers in Quezon and Laguna. The experience gave Bayani new insights on the problems that farmers faced. He later told his sister that “if a person investigated well enough, he would learn that seemingly individual problems were deep-rooted and situational”.

 

Poverty in the Philippines, Bayani started to believe, might be solved with higher food production, and rural mechanization and industrialization. Farmers spoke differently and worked differently, thought Bayani, but he soon shared with them a single vision for a better future.

 

As Bayani continued to learn more about the realities in rural Philippines, he started writing critical articles in various publications. He joined the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan and the UP College of Agriculture Cultural Society. In 1970, he wrote an article for Aggie Green and Gold, entitled “Austerity: Isang ‘maginhawang’ lunas (Austerity: the purported solution).” In this article he criticized the austerity program that Marcos was promoting to solve the country’s economic woes. Bayani pointed out that the Marcos solution of allowing devaluation and an increase in prices while limiting workers’ wages and reducing the number of workers, was a disastrous plan. The poor farmers and those who have lost their jobs could only try to bear it.

 

Bayani wrote: “Ang maliit na mamamayan ay nabubuhay tulad ng isang boksingerong baldado na at pabarabara na lamang ang pagsuntok niya. Kahit saan ito tumama, basta makatama (Poor people are like maimed boxers hitting their opponent drunkenly.)” What happens then? Bayani said that crime and rebellion would spread. Marcos’ austerity program was a “shadow of a system” that was run not by Filipinos, but by foreigners, particularly Americans, Bayani wrote.

 

Bayani stayed longer and longer in the farmers’ communities. By the late 1971, he was working fulltime in Mount Banahaw, with peasants from Dolores, Quezon. Bayani grew to love kundimans, of which Southern Tagalog had in abundance. He liked the old kundimans and rousing marching songs of the Hukbahalap, which were still popular in Southern Tagalog. Bayani also liked talking to old Hukbalahap organizers, including those with prison stints in Muntinglupa, or farmers who knew and had interesting stories to tell of past well-known Hukbalahap commanders.

Bayani himself was killed together with three of his comrades in an army raid of their camp. He was sick with flu on that cold wet November day in 1972. The bodies of the three activists killed were later taken to Camp Vicente Lim and buried in unmarked ground. Family and relatives attempts to recover Bayani’s body all failed. The bodies have never been recovered.

References:

Leny Lontok Quirit, PhD (sister); Agnes Rio (friend)