In the late 1970s, world sugar prices collapsed. Across Negros, production had slowed down or worse, stood still. Half a million farm workers lost their livelihoods and hundreds of thousands of children faced hunger and death.
He was a hacienda worker, having started to work at the age of 14. He reached only the 4th grade but he had dreams of a better life for his family and for his brothers and sisters.
Jesus said he kept running away from where the shooting started, avoiding the roads and choosing to cross fields, until he reached home. Then seeing that Manuel failed to get home, he searched for his son, only to find he was one of the fatalities in the shooting.
Juanito was 24 years old, single, and worked as a sacada and a fishpond watcher He was a native of Sagay. He was 4th of 6 children. Juanito did not go to school at all and did not know how to read or to write.
Ronilo was wounded when soldiers started shooting at the welga participants. He was taken to the Vicente Gustilo Memorial Hospital where he died from his wounds two days later.
Edgardo was an active member of the Association of Small Fisherman in Negros (ASFIN) when he joined the welgang bayan in 1985.
Nenita was a good friend of the student leader Juvelyn Jaravello, and the two girls worked together during the welgang bayan, sometimes taking turns on the microphone. They discussed workers’ issues, militarization issues, and other pressing issues of those days.
Aniano was 27 years old, an hacienda worker, and a resident of Sagay town. He was married to a fellow hacienda worker and the father of 3-month-old girl. He was orphaned when he was 5 years old. He spent a few years in school.
“If the military harasses us, we have nothing [to defend ourselves with] except our bare bodies. I’m not certain to return. But whatever happens, this is for the good of all (Wala mang goy seguro ang among lakat. Kong harason mi sa mga military wala man mi armas nga dala gawas sa among bukton ug lawas. Walay seguro nga makabalik. Pero, dili bale, unsa man ang akong dangatan kini kaayohan man sa tanan).”
Maria Luz was a 16 years old and single, and an hacienda worker since she was 12 years old. She was the 9th of 11 children of Apolinario and Rosita Mondejar. Maria Luz graduated from the elementary school, one of only two siblings who did so. All in the family were hacienda workers like her.