Former student activists were awarded with the sablay, symbolizing UP’s recognition of them as honorary alumni.
MANILA — The University of the Philippines (UP) community on September 15 witnessed the homecoming of students-turned-activists who have left the university 45 years ago.
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Jaime Soledad were recognized as “honorary alumni” by UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan. The three peace consultants were recently freed from political detention to join the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.
Benito and Wilma Tiamzon entered UP in 1969 as state scholars. They left the university in 1971 to be full-time organizers of workers.
Soledad, meanwhile, was also a state scholar taking up geodetic engineering in UP when the Diliman Commune happened. He joined the barricades against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos despite being a cadet officer of the military training corps in the university. He soon dropped out from UP and went to Leyte.
They were joined by UP alumni Randy Felix Malayao, Philippine Peace Center executive director Rey Casambre, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) chairperson Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo.
The former student activists visited the marker for the historic Diliman Commune, the weeklong display of solidarity and protest in 1971 by UP students, faculty and residents who formed barricades and stood their ground against the Marcos regime before martial law was declared.
The seven, along with supporters from different organizations and alliances, marched around campus, then headed to a forum which discussed updates about recent developments in the peace negotations. The Tiamzons, who were formerly detained at Camp Crame, were the keynote speakers of the forum.
The stories of the students-turned-consultants were similar; leaving life as a student and becoming full-time community organizers in the countryside.