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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

15 Ateneans to be enshrined in memorial

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15 Ateneans to be enshrined in memorial
First posted 04:06am (Mla time) Oct 25, 2005
Inquirer News Service

ON NOV. 12, at a gathering on the Ateneo de Manila University campus at Loyola Heights, Quezon City, 15 men will be enshrined in the Ateneo Heroes Memorial.

Their names will be added to those of the 112 who have been enshrined there since 1969, the year then Ateneo president Fr. Pacifico Ortiz S.J. had a modest war memorial erected to honor the Ateneans who perished in the Revolutions of 1896 and 1898 and World War II.

Three Jesuits -- Fathers James Reuter, Romeo Intengan and Francisco Perez -- are among the present honorees.

Reuter, who is currently at the helm of the Catholic Church’s National Office of Mass Media, was a prisoner of war of the Japanese interned in Los Baños, Laguna. Through the years, he has imbued his students with heroic ambitions and a passion for excellence as he taught college, coached the Hail Mary Team (the Blue Eagles), directed plays and conducted the Ateneo College Glee Club.

Intengan, former Philippine Provincial of the Society of Jesus, was arrested and detained for two months for taking part in a march protesting electoral fraud and violence committed by the Marcos martial law regime.

Perez was a guerrilla during the Japanese occupation. He was with the Matute Combat Regiment in the Bulacan Military Area headed by Gen. Alejo Santos.

To be enshrined with them are two other living Ateneans -- Dr. Alejandro Roces and Antonio Malvar Meer.

Roces was considered the youngest guerrilla when, at 15, he joined Marking Guerrillas in Rizal during WWII. A few years ago, he fearlessly faced hardened criminals, spoke to them about the importance of Literature to the nation and was able to retrieve the original manuscripts of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adios that they had stolen.

Meer served the country during and after the Pacific War, joined President Manuel Quezon’s organized guerrilla force and founded Handog sa Sundalo Foundation to alleviate the soldiers’ poverty.

Among the deceased honorees are those who fought in Bataan and walked the Death March -- Antonio Vinluan, Philip Buencamino, Antonio Nieva, Ramon Pamintuan, Oscar Coscolluela and Ramon Diaz, who was tortured by the Japanese for being a member of an intelligence cell that relayed information about the Japanese to the Americans in Australia through the interned Jesuits.

For the first time in the memorial’s history, four young Ateneo graduates will be enshrined for their martyrdom during the martial law years. They are Ferdinand Arceo, William Begg, Artemio Celestial Jr. and Abraham Sarmiento Jr.

An exhibit of memorabilia belonging to the heroes will open at 1 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Rizal Library. A documentary on the Legacy of Heroes will be shown, with Ricardo Jose as speaker. The ceremony honoring the heroes at Bellarmine Field will follow at 3 p.m.


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