Manuel Hizon Jr. had a well‑to‑do family. His father occupied an important position as chief actuary and senior vice‑president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). His mother, who hailed from the prominent Llanes family of Ilocos Norte, was an entrepreneur who handled businesses engaged in trading and real estate.
Manuel, or Sonny as he was called by family and friends, was the elder of two sons. The boys grew up in surroundings of prosperity and wealth, but tempered by their parents with positive values such as respect for others and responsibility for one’s actions.
Sonny had a happy disposition, and therefore, had many friends in campus, where he played in various sports, creating an incongruous image of the tall bespectacled athlete. He became involved in two socially-oriented groups, the Sodality Movement and the Student Catholic Action (SCA), where he later became chair. Later he joined the Ateneo Political Society, where he became its vice‑president for a time, and also served as representative to the Sanggunian ng mga Mag‑aaral ng Ateneo, which put him into Ateneo’s circle of activists during that time.
Soon, Sonny was joining trips to urban poor areas and other poverty‑stricken places, earning him the tag “Catholic activist.” Sonny saw faces and forms of poverty he never knew existed. In 1969, Sonny joined Lakasdiwa, an Ateneo‑based Christian Democratic organization. He engaged Lakasdiwa members in long discussions about the Christian faith and about the country’s social problems. When he felt he was outgrowing Lakasdiwa, in 1970, he joined an even more militant group, the Liga ng Demokratikong Atenista (LDA). He started to read political material. With this deepening political consciousness, he started to shed some of the personal privileges he took for granted, including being chauffeured daily to and from school.
Sonny completed his economics degree in 1972 and easily found a job in a private firm. For several months he juggled life in the corporate world with his militant activism.
Meanwhile, he had joined the Kilusang Kristiyano ng Kabataang Pilipino (KKKP), an even more militant Christian group. Sonny was elected KKKP general secretary in 1972 and on his shoulders fell the task of organizing chapters around the country, holding education meetings, preparing the organization for political rallies, releasing statements on various issues, and even building up funds for the organization. Sonny took his new tasks in stride. He kept his sense of humor, played his guitar, and even had time enough to fall in love.
When a series of floods hit Metro Manila in the summer of 1972, Sonny left his job, worked fulltime, organizing, among others, volunteers for flood relief operations.
When Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, KKKP leaders opted to keep the organization running and even expanding its chapters nationwide. Sonny continued to lead KKKP until in 1973, he decided to leave for Cagayan Valley to respond to requests for political leadership to armed units operating in the area. Later the unit moved to Nueva Ecija, an extremely risky move. His team often faced skirmishes with government soldiers. On one such fateful encounter, Sonny met his death. Sonny was 22 years old.
BORN : May 24, 1952 in Quezon City
DIED : June 17, 1976 in Nueva Ecija
PARENTS : Manuel Hizon Sr. and Yolanda Llanes
SPOUSE : Ella Valmonte
EDUCATION : Elementary/Secondary: Lourdes School, Quezon City
College: Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City