Delo and I belonged to section Jupiter in our freshman year (1973-74) at the Philippine Science High School in Diliman, Quezon City. Although Delo was also a dormer (at that time the school has one dormitory for boys and another one for girls), we did not interact much. I remember that he was from Mauban, Quezon but I had no idea how Mauban looked like. All I knew was that people from Mauban have a peculiar Tagalog accent (distinct from the Tagalog accent from Bulacan or the Tagalog accent from Batangas. I am also a Tagalog, coming from the province of Bataan). I also remember that Delo was very good in the subject 'Filipino' and that he played soccer (football) well like many of my batchmates.
Our batch entered Pisay (or PSHS) nine months after Martial Law was declared by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. The years before the declaration of martial rule, there were lots of political tumoil in Metro Manila: rallies abound everyday. But during our highschool years (1973-77) there were practically very few rallies (or none at all). It was the era when dissidents were incarcerated and thousands of political activists went 'underground'.
From Iye's article I learned that Delo was already a political activist during our highschool years. From high school, Delo continued his involvement in the movement against the Marcos dictatorship. Then in 1984, Delo was declared missing. He was last seen in an establishment near the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna.
Together with other victims of martial law in the Philippines, Delo's memory is enshrined in a park called 'Bantayog ng mga Bayani' (Heroes' Shrine) located at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue (very close to the PSHS campus in Diliman, Quezon City).
Below is an excerpt from Delo's 'case file' found at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani:
Born: 11 July 1960
Missing: since June 1984
Occupation: Student leader/Labor organizer
Address: 60 San Buenaventura St. Mauban, Quezon
Parents: Mr. Arsenio Manaog and Mrs. Numeriana Manaog
Birth order: 8th
Elementary: Mauban South Elementary School
High School: Philippine Science High School (1st-3rd year)
Manuel Luis Quezon High School (4th year)
College: Luzonian State University, Lucena City (1st year)
UP Los Banos (Communication Arts)
Delo was consistently at the top of his class, receiving various merit awards in his elementary years. He graduated class valedictorian in 1972. He passed the Philippine Science High School scholarship examinations, the first ever from Mauban, Quezon. Encountering some academic and cultural pressures at PSHS, he transferred to MLQU High School on his 3rd year and finished his 4th-yr high school in 1976. For a year, he enrolled at Luzonian State University (renamed Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation) in Lucena City. As a College of Arts And Sciences student, he was involved in various school activities. He was member of the staff of the school paper The Luzonian and was an active member of the University Student Council.
The following school year, 1977-1978, he transferred to UP Los Banos as a Communication Arts student. A natural-born leader, he became an active member of the UPLB Writers’ Club and managing editor of the UPLB Perspective. Later, Delo opted to work as a full-time labor organizer of the Institute for Worker’s Leadership and Development of Laguna. He was also known as a labor organizer of NAFLU in Balayan Sugar Central and Nasugbu, both in Batangas.
History of Social/Political Involvement:
Delo was exposed to military/progressive ideas through an older sister, Wencita, who used to bring him along with her to teach-ins she regularly attended as a member of the Kabataang Makabayan in 1969-1970. Delo was then in Grade Six. He became a militant nationalist when he formally joined KM as a student at PSHS from 1972-1975. Delo’s advocacy of the national democratic struggle was further enhanced when he studied at Luzonian State University where he was active as a campus journalist and member of the student council. His eventual transfer to UPLB in 1977 as a communication arts student exposed him to a wider view of the struggle for freedom and democracy. His stay at the UPLB campus is described as the “dark period” – the height of campus terrorism waged by elements of the much-dreaded 2nd MIG based at Camp Eldridge. At that time, there was a growing list of salvage victims and missing persons, a large number of them former UPLB activists. Yet, this alarming situation did not deter Delo from finally deciding to leave his studies and instead willingly and courageously devoted the rest of his youthful years as a labor organizer for Southern Tagalog.
Manner/Circumstance of Disappearance:
Delo has been missing since 1984 and presumed dead by now. He was last seen in a “mini-mart” near the UPLB gate. A sister went to Camp Nakar, accompanied by Mauban mayor Llamas to inquire about Delo’s disappearance but the military refused to acknowledge any involvement. Several days after, the sister and some family members went to UPLB to consult Delo’s friends who also organized a group to look for him.
With the help of Task Force Detainees (TFD) Lucena, his family joined a picket at Camp Nakar. However, military authorities there rebuffed them.
Nevertheless, Delo’s family and friends alleged that the military was responsible for his disappearance because Delo mentioned to them he was already under surveillance.
Transcribed speech of Mrs. Wency Flores, sister of Rodelo, UPLB Parangal, 28November 1986
TFD Southern Tagalog file
UPLB Parangal, St. Therese Chapel, 28 November 1986
Pagpupugay at Parangal sa mga Bayani at Martir ng Uring Manggagawa at Sambayanan, 1 May 1988, Crossing, Calamba, Laguna
Signed Testimony of kin and friends
Sworn Statement of Mrs. Wencita M. Flores
Today, September 1, 2007, some of my batchmates and I will pay tribute to Delo. We will visit his 'marker' at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani before we proceed to the Philippine Science High School for the 2007 PSHS Alumni Homecoming and for the turn-over ceremony of PSHS Class of 1977 thirtieth anniversary batch projects which include donations of audio-visual and computer equipment for the PSHS Science Audio-Visual Room and books (authored/edited by members of PSHS '77) for the school library.
To Delo, you are truly a scholar of the people (iskolar ng bayan). We salute you, and we are proud of you..
"Para sa bayan... Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo." -- Rodelo "Delo" Manaog
The Pisay '77 Blogger