Research and documentation is organic to Bantayog’s work. Thus, the Research and Documentation Committee was the foundation’s first duly-constituted working group, started in July 1986 immediately after the inception of the foundation.The first members were Thelma M. Arceo, Ma. Serena I. Diokno, Paula Carolina Malay and Helen Mendoza, renting a cramped room at the University of Life (ULTRA) in Pasig, and using donated office equipment from Abraham Sarmiento, Sol Yuyitung and KAPATID. Later that year, the committee moved its offices to the Chronicle Building, also in Pasig, after the Benpres Corporation donated bigger facilities for the foundation’s use. Additional researchers were also hired.
The committee has seen its highs and lows but it has continued uninterrupted until today. It is responsible for preparing the biographies and nominations for Bantayog’s first 65 martyrs and heroes engraved on the Wall of Remembrance and unveiled on November 30, 1992. It has prepared the nominations every year since then for the so far 193 martyrs and heroes whose names are inscribed on the Wall.
The Foundation, on the initiative of the Journey with Heroes Project, published in 2008 a limited edition coffee table book of the Bantayog heroes and martyrs. The Research and Documentation committee assisted in this project.
Through the years, the committee is piloting a research project on a specific period within the Marcos dictatorship. The committee will use oral history as method. The vision is to record the stories of unknown and simple people from far-flung corners of the country who quietly and determinedly stood against the forces of the dictatorship and defended themselves, their families, their schools and their churches, temples and mosques, and their communities, against the onus of martial law.
Much remains to be done, much data need to be gathered and written to tell comprehensive stories of the lives of the thousands who fought against the dictatorship.