When Lourdes Garduce was in high school, the nuns in her school sent her to work in an outreach program called Kasapi, which brought her to many places in the country and exposed her to various situations of poverty. The most memorable was her experience at the Central Azucarera de Bais in Negros where she encountered the misery and oppression suffered by sugarworkers, or sacadas.
Her involvement with the Negros’ sugarworkers made the military suspect her as a “subversive,” and Lourdes and her group once had to seek refuge at the parish church of Bais because of military harassment.
Lourdes, called Dodie by the family, had to explain her activities to her father, who was then a lawyer with the National Post Office.
In her own community, Dodie and her sister Maridol organized the Conchu Youth Society. Conchu was the name of the street where they lived in Project 4. Later on, this youth group joined the very militant Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) as a community chapter. From the Conchu society, Dodie was recruited to the SDK, while keeping her old friends among the more reformist organizations.
She became very active with the SDK, engaging in organizing activities and building alliances with other groups. Dodie married fellow activist Felimon Lagman in the early 1970s, soon after martial law was declared. The newly married couple moved often to evade detection and arrest. Dodie often asked her family’s help in retrieving furniture or in settling with their landlords. Dodie’s two children were reared by her mother in law, Cecilia Lagman.
Dodie and her husband were leaders in the underground in the late 1970s. Although military targets at this time, the couple’s group decided on a policy of participation in the 1978 Batasan elections. Dodie became involved in alliance work, finance work, and electoral activities.
Dodie kept in touch with her family and her children. She saw them last just days before she died when the children were brought secretly to visit their parents in Nueva Ecija.
Not long after, Dodie and her team had a chance encounter with soldiers, and Dodie was killed in the ensuing shooting exchange. Her family quietly retrieved her body and was brought it to Manila for burial.
Born 12 October 1954 in Manila
Died 23 June 1979 in Bo.Tugatog, Bongabong, Nueva Ecija
Parents Venancio Garduce and Felina Petate
Spouse Filemon Lagman
Children Dante Joseph and Iskra Mahalia
Education Elementary – Our Lady of Loreto College (now Sienna College)
High School Our Lady of Loreto College
College BS statistics, University of the Philippines, entered in 1970