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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Former political prisoners, activists gather in annual ‘Ganito Tayo Noon’ reunion

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Former political prisoners and activists in a show of solidarity gathered at the annual Ganito Tayo Noon (GTN) reunion at Alpadi Estates in Antipolo City.

This year’s GTN event was the largest gathering of former political prisoners and activists since the reunions started 15 years ago, organizers said.

About 120 attended the occasion, happily reuniting and reminiscing about their hard work in promoting social and political change from the early 70s to the late 80s’.

Among the prominent personalities who joined the occasion were former Bayan Muna congressman Satur Ocampo together his wife Carolina  Malay; Anna Maria Nemenzo, national coordinator of Women Health Philippines; former Senator Nikki Coseteng; Nilo Tayag, founding member of the National United Front for the Kingdom of God and Filipinism   (NUF-KGF); Sheila Coronel, former academic dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; Labor leader Nilo dela Cruz; Atty. Arno Sanidad, human rights lawyer; Edicio dela Torre, Atin Ito convenor; Niva Gonzales, marine biologist/environmental specialist; and Atty. Alex Padilla, who sponsored the venue in their Alpadi Estate in Sumulong Highway, Antipolo.

Other progressive journalists present were Malou Mangahas, former PCIJ executive director; Ceres Doyo, Inquirer columnist; Jo-ann Maglipon PEP.ph editor-in-chief; Karina Bolasco, former director of the Ateneo University Press; and Paulyn Sicam, Philippines Star columnist.

Renowned teachers who attended included Ferdie Llanes, former chair of the UP History Department; Felix Muga, former chair of the Ateneo Math Dept. ; Jun Sabug,     Ateneo business management professor and Prof. Nestor Castro , UP Department of Anthropology and former Vice-Chancellor of UP Student Affairs.

Joel Saracho, actor/writer and Susan Tagle, US based development worker, stood as hosts of the program. They recognized the presence of former leaders and organizers of the youth, workers, farmers, teachers, health, artists, church sector, all of whom actively mobilized the broad masses resisting the dictatorial regime. Tributes were also given at the reunion to 48 colleagues who passed away last year. Among those honored are Conrad de Quiros, Inquirer columnist; Novelist Lualhati Bautista and Rina Jimenez -David, veteran journalist and Inquirer columnist.

Saracho jokingly mentioned the breakups in the relationship of KathDaniel showbiz couple, an issue that dominated   social media for several months.

There are no forevers in the entertainment industry, he said, pointedly remarking that in contrast, the solidarity of comrades is forever.   At the event, Fortunato Agbayani, POLPhil Executive Director at Political Institute, announced the planned National Summit for Peace, which would involve organizations involved in working for progress and a long-lasting peace in the country. The summit is scheduled to take place at the Hive Hotel and Convention Center in Quezon City on January 20 Saturday from nine in the morning till 4pm.

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