“Marlon was a daring, graceful and creative dancer. He was amiable and hospitable especially to guest trainors from other cultural organizations. He was loved and admired by the youth he trained in his dance workshops.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A cultural worker was killed in broad daylight on Tuesday, March 17, in Bohol.
Marlon Maldos, 25, a choreographer and trainor of cultural group Bol-anong Artista nga may Diwang Dagohoy (Bansiwag) was gunned down by suspected members of the military at around 12:00 noon along the national highway of Dela Paz, Cortes, about two kilometers away from Tagbilaran City.
Friends and colleagues demand justice for their slain colleague.
“We demand swift justice for Marlon. We demand end to impunity. We demand that these senseless killings be solved and perpetrators be brought to face the court of law and punished accordingly,” said Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon (Humabol), a chapter of the Kilusang Mabubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Bohol.
Before the incident, Maldos and his family were red-tagged by members of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion.
Humabol said Maldos “was plainly out in the open, participating in rallies calling for genuine land reform and organizing theater arts workshops especially after Bansiwag’s Creative Director, Alvin Fortaliza’s detention on trumped-up charges. Maldos has temporarily assumed responsibilities left by Fortaliza.
The group said Maldos did not waver on his tasks as a cultural worker despite the threats and difficulties.
‘Daring, graceful and creative dancer’
“Marlon was a daring, graceful and creative dancer. He was amiable and hospitable especially to guest trainors from other cultural organizations. He was loved and admired by the youth he trained in his dance workshops,” Humabol said.
He also conveyed in his performances that “change is possible and they can put an end to exploitation by being united.”
Maldos who is a son of farmers joined Bansiwag’s community-based theater at 16 years old.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also said at a young age, Maldos has willingly served his fellow rural poor.
He was at the forefront of relief operations and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of the 2013 Bohol earthquake. In 2014 after typhoon Yolanda, Maldos volunteered in assisting devastated communities in Negros, Samar, and Cebu.
In 2017, he also served as a project coordinator of civic organization Women’s Development Center’s livelihood project Integrated Coconut Development Processing Plant (ICDPP) in Maribojoc, Bohol. The ICDPP processed coconut, virgin coconut oil, and coconut sauce made from coconut water and vinegar of local farmers.
‘Fascist knows no break’
Meanwhile, friends and colleagues of Maldos expressed their rage via social media.
Tey Lopez, describes Maldos as hardworking and a responsible activist.
“He is quiet but always smiling. He is not only a dancer and a choreographer but an all-around guy too,” Lopez said in his social media post about Maldos.
Manila-based cultural group Sinagbayan said that Maldos was in Manila for the October Peasant Month last year where he performed together with other groups like Sinagbayan-Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Teatro Bungkal, Teatro Obrero and Bansiwag Cultural Network.
Maldos also spoke during the Youth for Agro-Ecology Forum in University of the Philippines in Diliman where he shared their successful farming experience in the province. He also participated in Alternative Classroom Experience organized by Panday Sining also in UP with a theme “Arts of Resistance.”
SAKA or Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (Artist Alliance for Genuine Land Reform and Rural Development) said that Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) will not stop the military to commit extra-judicial killings.
“President Duterte rambled on and on about his militarist approach to the impact of COVID-19 in the Philippines, going as far as calling the present situation a ‘war.’ He urged us to trust the police and the military. But how can we trust the military when, even in the middle of a pandemic, they are busy red-tagging and killing civilians?” the group said.
Youth Act Now Against Tyranny-Cebu also condemned the killing of Maldos, saying, “Fascists in this country know no holiday, no weekend, no break, and certainly no virus outbreak. Rain or shine, the real terrorists of the Philippines will continue its rampage against the people.”